Boetti #2 (2013) by Baruch MarionLa Galleria Nazionale
It was 2013 at the Autoritratti (Self Portraits) exhibition at the MAMBO Museum in Bologna when a very friendly lady spoke to me to comment on some of my works on display, she seemed genuinely curious to find out more about me and asked me some questions in a very polite way. They were original and elegant questions.
We spent some time talking about my work and then she showed me hers and told me she had decided to exhibit some textile scraps she had found in a factory and which had seduced her due to their casual beauty – that's how she called it – and that she wanted to display as true works of art.
She told me that to her, those scraps of fabrics were aesthetically beautiful and that in a sense they represented what she had accomplished with her work over many years.
I greatly admired the honesty and passion with which she told me about her treasure, this discovery, and the simplicity of her story had me deeply engaged.
I was also impressed and flattered that she was giving me so much attention in a context as hectic as that of a vernissage. And in fact, later that evening I returned home with that good feeling of someone who knows they have received a rare blessing.
We promised to write each other, to see each other again and then we didn't because... well, as you know Rome and Milan are apparently in different countries and you need a visa, passport, etc. That lady was Marion Baruch.
In 2016 an artist friend of mine wrote a book that includes conversations, dialogues with some artists she considers significant and invited me and other younger artists to publicly read and interpret those conversations and choose artists carefully.
I mostly found myself reading reflections on what it means to sacrifice one's own artistic life for a woman, on the tools that Lacanianism offered to look within one’s self, on the complex relationship certainly not devoid of torment with motherhood and much more.
Everything else that grants you the sensation of placing your hands in the guts and folds of someone's inner life. Someone who generously offers their heart to a crowded banquet on an adored tray of words. The reflections I found myself interpreting, making them my own and reading publicly were those of Marion Baruch.
A few days ago the National Gallery of Rome asked me to participate in this podcast and gave me the work Boetti #2 by Marion Baruch. So, Agatha Christie said that two coincidences are a clue, three coincidences are a proof, so let's try…
Let's try starting with this work that made me think of a piece by Boetti, Niente da vedere, niente da nascondere (Nothing to see, nothing to hide), even before reading the title.
And my thought went to this work in a certain sense, perhaps as retribution, because although emptiness was the focus of Marion's work as an aesthetic content, for me Marion's works also carry a strong narrative calling.
They represent landscapes, perhaps even panoramas, as a nursery rhyme for a child represents a panorama that in the architectural balance between empty and full space discovers the rhyme that grants access to a whole new world, that opens the doors of the imagination, that unleashes imagination.
They are not landscapes that have nothing to hide, rather they conceal exactly what they show, they hide the work of the women who have woven and cut them, thus granting the world knots and twists that weave images, words, sounds into plots that arrange the pure madness that is the world, and which is spun, woven and shaped.
Those voids offer themselves as glimmers of truth of this madness of which we form the raw material, the fibre.
Jacques Lacan said that the truth exists but the words to describe it are missing. And this emptiness that replaces truth is what I read in Marion's work.
When I was a child I had a lot of fun doing one thing: I would take comics and cut out the words. I left that blank space, that emptiness, waiting to write other words, my words. Those frames that the pages turned into once I removed the words of others, remind me of Marion's works because they speak to me of a passionate tale yet to be written.
Seizing, like Marion, the opportunity that beauty – with a precise chance – always comes back to offer
Voice message by Silvia Giambrone