The Next Era and Other Stories
Opening Thursday 26 January 2023, h. 6 – 8.30 pm
26 January > 16 March 2023
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The work must be the result of a constant inventive process, of a more spiritual than cultural or aesthetic nature. The result is the withdrawal of style or recognizability. This mode involves a 360° attitude, being taken by everything that catches your eye.
z2o Sara Zanin is pleased to announce the opening of Mariella Bettineschi's first solo gallery exhibition entitled The Next Era and Other Stories on Thursday 26 January 2023.
The participation in the XLIII Venice Biennale in 1988 curated by Achille Bonito Oliva, in 1989 the transfer to Berlin - the city where the artist will reside until 1995, up to the success of the Dior cruise in 2022 with the presentation of an immersive installation from The Next Era series of works, are just some of the salient stages of a long and jagged artistic journey. Mariella Bettineschi (Brescia, 1948) confronted herself, with awareness, with her role as a woman and artist even before establishing herself on the national scene, following an autonomous vocation within a markedly male environment. After her academic training at the Giacomo Carrara Academy of Fine Arts in Bergamo, Bettineschi soon showed the symptoms of a clear intolerance towards a certain art system and, above all, a specific tension to detach herself from adherence to some expressive languages that may limit the autonomy of the research.
Positioning oneself at the borders, activating a hallucinated gaze, a primitive attention to things, the image comes from the periphery, it reveals itself for its "sparkle", it is unique, it does not seek connections, affinities, families. [...] But the image can also bifurcate, become a labyrinth: then it multiplies, swallows itself and rejects its opposite, betrays the presuppositions, arrives at unknown outcomes, she wrote in 1999.
By embracing a broad period with her experimentation, which at first saw her close to the Milanese feminist groups - from which she soon detached herself sensing the risk of a homogenization of the research - Bettineschi has led since the Seventies a solitary path aimed at implementing her own language, a new lemma through which to express one's role as a woman and artist in the world.
The exhibition takes into consideration a broad chronological span that goes from the 1980s to 2022, exhibiting a vast corpus of works, including some unpublished ones: the Piumari series, actual sculptures that take up the surface of the wall, making space through the tones of white and gold; the New Tales series in which hand-woven cushions show imaginary and anthropomorphic figures and small inscriptions that become artistic statements; up to the latest experiments with digital painting and the iconic works of the series The next era, an ongoing project started by the artist in 2008 starting from a reflection that involves in the first instance the female universe as the bearer of a different gaze.
The Next Era and Other Stories underlines a non-episodic interest in the use of different media through which Bettineschi has implemented a personal formal and expressive research. On the one hand, the importance ascribed to "know-how", that technical expertise of academic memory which has allowed the artist, over the years, to extricate herself from disparate tools, techniques and formal solutions to arrive at a complete synthesis of her own imaginative universe; on the other, indefatigable research linked to that a-temporal discontinuity that makes her entire production unique in regard to the breadth of the contents and the topoi addressed.
History can be considered not so much as a linear, consequential succession of events, but as a structure made up of different elements in inter-relationship on several levels. The new is therefore not only the effect of what precedes it but it is the last configuration that the structure of elements assumes from one of the possible points of view. The artist, nomadic by nature, crosses the new configuration of elements, enters a relationship with them, lives and absorbs the whole that constitutes it: the work is the result of this crossing.
For Bettineschi, art is loss and disorientation, knowledge of the world and of the self, knowledge of the unsaid through the constant overcoming of the conventional barriers of space and time. As from the flash for Duchamp, from the encounter with his work in Philadelphia, for Bettineschi the fourth dimension is all real: it guarantees entry into a renewed space in which the rules of the game are all to be defined. This is how a jagged and continuous story is born, a fifty-year-long narrative that defies any attempt at an unambiguous definition.
Art, therefore, coagulates a fluid state, it lacks recognizable constants, it is disorientation and loss.
L’opera deve essere il risultato di un processo inventivo continuo, di carattere più spirituale che culturale o estetico. Ne deriva la rinuncia allo stile o alla riconoscibilità. Questa modalità comporta un’apertura a 360°, essere presi da tutto ciò che il proprio sguardo cattura.
Posizionarsi ai confini, attivare uno sguardo allucinato, un’attenzione primitiva sulle cose, l’immagine arriva dalla periferia, si rivela per il suo “sfavillio”, è unica, non cerca connessioni, affinità, famiglie. […] Ma l’immagine può anche biforcarsi, diventare labirinto: allora si moltiplica, ingoia sé stessa e rigetta il suo opposto, tradisce i presupposti, approda ad esiti sconosciuti, scrive nel 1999.