Presences

Man is no longer the one with whom day and night alternate or proximity and distance are measured. He now finds himself as a thing among things, infinitely alone. Everything that brings people and things together has withdrawn into a common depth from which the roots of everything that grows are nourished.

Rainer Maria Rilke

A series of recently produced works by Micaela Legnaioli under the title “Presenze” (Presences) propose a path that leads her to operate in the space between art and life. The artist moves in a sphere in which the poverty of the material used evolves into a refined richness of emotional expression but clear in the labyrinths of memory. An attempt to describe a living and real image of people, whose profiles interpret the possible inner situations of the individuals themselves. In the artist’s intention, the metal plates oxidised with acids and salt and sculpted are intended to give an idea of the possible spiritual state deposited in each of us as a result of the events of daily life, and in particular the recent events that people have had to endure as a result of the recent pandemic.

 The individual consolidates the main acquisitions that each of us experiences in life, each work is a symbol enclosed in the profile which is the image we know least about ourselves, yet which represents us unequivocally. The artist says < A face in profile is a strong, essential, recognisable sign and is the only one that can be drawn with a single continuous line.  These works say that, despite the enormous differences that separate us from each other, there is a common root in these lives. And the common root is art itself, which brings order, harmony and balance to what may seem to be the height of disorder and chaos – life outside of being. >.

The indefinite engraving style of the slabs enhances the function of presence, of humanity, even if not defined. But also no longer susceptible to change by recording who we are at a given instant of “time”.

The technique used by the artist, known as circumductio umbrae, inextricably links the work to the idea of reproducing reality, and the portrait’s function is to recreate the physical human presence.  These profiles are directly linked to one of the most ancient myths on the birth of painting, in which Pliny the Elder traces the origins of art to that distant day when the daughter of a potter in Corinth, in order to preserve in her memory the figure of her beloved, traced on the wall the outline of the shadow cast by the light. The surrounding space, on the other hand, represents the spirituality of the person interacting with the rest of the world. Observing these works as a whole, a sense of humanity and of an intense and suffered feeling takes shape in which the silence sent back by the “Presences” recalls us to our memory and our thoughts.

Massimo Scaringella

Golden Cages

The “Golden Cages” or the ties and mental constraints that block and limit us in our relations with others for fear of being hurt. The different fears create defences that are the subject of interpretation in this new cycle of works by artist Micaela Legnaioli. As in a journey deeper and deeper into the self, the artist Legnaioli, endowed with a great sensitivity and a very high artistic level, analyses our fears and defence cages in their visual aspect with very refined results.

The Golden Cages are nothing more than ephemeral defences that give an appearance of protection, but which soon turn into constrictive cages that suffocate the individual, restricting his freedom of expression and the ability to love and be loved; there are ways out that can be taken to free oneself from these constraints. The artist proposes a visual-subjective interpretation after in-depth psychological reflection on these themes.

His sculptures have a twofold reading: on a first reading, one appreciates the cage-wrap that imprisons it and which is painted in different, precious metallic colours; on a subsequent reading, the focus is on the inner shell, which is white and shiny, thus indicating its undoubted “purity”. At the centre of this casing, like a precious jewel, there is a rougher object that is always different in each sculpture: it is our ego, which is the truest and most intimate. There are ways out of our fears, our cages can only be opened by those we feel close to and who show us empathy, love and affection. Legnaioli’s sculptures are created using plaster, acrylic paint, resin and paint for gilding.

In this series there is a visual connection with the series of engraved works on metal, which shows the traces of experiences that have occurred in the lives of women and men who have left their mark on the world in metals, and one can think of a sort of continuation in the poetics of “Foglie nel vento” (Leaves in the wind), that is, of the awareness of the random and involuntary fact of being physically in one place rather than another and of having people/leaves alongside one another rather than others; it is a look at destiny and chance to investigate the existential path of each person.

Unveiled flowers

The flower by definition is the reproductive organ of the plant, therefore, synonymous with life.

But there are “hidden flowers”, that finally are “revealed”. They are born “as new”, showing the inherent survival instinct.

It’s the case of the works that Micaela Legnaioli presented his first solo.

Flowers that show that great will to exist, of life, of rebirth after death: found, recovered and processed, they hid along with memories, emotions, consciousness. And like little sponges, they absorbed and purified from the inside to come out with a new identity. Desacralized from their inner dimension, they are revealed outside under new form, not devoid of their intrinsic appeal, but not depriving the unconscious eye of his free will.

That which is revealed, it is understood, assimilated, processed and finally pulled out from the darkness that sometimes is so falsely reassuring that you could not find the momentum to get out of it.

This is the artist’s work: to recover and display what was initially denied because hidden or simply omitted.

The result is a suffocated joviality, but that finally finds a way to breathe through the conscious retrieval of memory. The emotional recovery is translated into the floral works of Micaela Legnaioli totally in consistence with her creative process, in which not only are memories recovered, accomplices and synergistic to the realization of the works, but also the material from which they are made.

The resin, plaster, metal, different fabrics, paper, plastics are consciously assimilated and subsequently organized in an aesthetic way, giving life to works that express a new meaning. You can give (new) life in what apparently seems to have more. And here reveal the flowers the artist intended as a sort of “fleurs du mal”,finally bloomed, visible, thus no longer dangerous because latent … no more enemies.

In the work “Ennemi”,is perceptible the graphic image of the verses from the homonymous poem by Baudelaire which gives the title to the work that is included in his lyrical collection “les fleurs du mal”, the text of which, not only is in perfect harmony with the “dark side” of the artist, but plays and jokes with the work itself made ​​with empty packets of cigarettes. The casings of evil  are recovered, crumpled and arranged so as to form the flowers that are seen throughout the work, expressing a sense of irony and exaggeration as to exorcise and defeat the “evil meaning” of the work, through the work same.

The graphic element often used in the works of Micaela: phrases of songs and poems borrowed for an instant, forever or just for the time needed to create the work. As in the case of “No Love”, where the delicacy of lotus flowers is represented in all its fragility, as in a love denied precisely, and further emphasized by latent phrases because barely perceptible. That flows from it is a kind of addiction to  life,strong, fragile, violent and sweet as life itself.

In other works, there is instead a strong awareness for color and is expressed with humor, such as in “Prato”, where the assembling lighters used simulates the grass and the flowers of a polluted world, but who wants and “needs” to live.

In all the works coexist primordial feelings, wild but expressed gently.

 

Isabella Vitale

The game of feelings

If we were surprised by Micaela Legnaioli with a mix of colors in his first show in May 2013, she is back to the predominance of white and black … As if her eyes were looking in the manichaeism of neutral colours for a clear answer in the “game of the feelings.”

Isn’t what makes us deliciously and terribly human this emotional state that varies according of our lives? Finding the balance in the opposite feelings, isn’t this heart of her work?

The artist digs deep within, in the depths of himself, and reaffirms the strength of feeling in the heart of the man.

Feelings, positive or negative, nothing is imposed by the artist, everything is just suggested … The choice of the title of these works by a single letter that leaves the viewer interrogating himself: “A” as “Appassionato” (passionate), “Ansia” (anxiety), “Abbandono (dereliction), “Allegria” (joy)…

A spontaneous and reckless modesty about her feelings is thinly veiled in the work “R” or “B”, or decided tears going through plexiglass panes that pierce the work “I”, or finally rusty wire nailed in the work named “P”.

Sharp edges of plexiglass, chains of words, shiny and curved shapes are the inner landscapes that the artist plays with in the great desire to feel, to exist and coexist with their feelings.

Micaela Legnaioli remains consistent with the creative process in which she excels, always faithful to scrap materials from which she draws nobility, hardness or simply utility. Resin, plaster, metal, various fabrics, plastic, wood planks give life to works that express a new meaning. The graphic style remains present in several languages, as if to defy the visitor of the World. And it was indeed the universal language of feelings.

She just can give rise to this addiction to life, with the awareness of having to make all human feelings coexist.

 

Sabine OBERTI

Eleven lives

In this sequence of works, Micaela Legnaioli does not describe the lives of the eleven famous women who are the protagonists of the exhibition, nor does she want to indicate, through the images she herself elaborated, a specific quality, perhaps just the one that made them famous, loved, respected, and often even idolized in their careers.

What unites the characters of the exhibition is simply the letter M with which they begin their names.

Yet, despite this somewhat Dadaist idea of laying the foundations of an artistic work like this, the assumption of the exhibition is very serious and thoughtful, even if expressed with aerial lightness and wit.

In the artist’s intention, the zinc plates sculpted and oxidized with acids that make up all the works of the exhibition, want to give an idea of the spiritual, cultural and moral stratification deposited in each of us because of the events of life and experiences. This stratification, which can be perceived by direct observation of the works, takes on an emblematic appearance in the eleven figures, like a sort of backwards DNA. In the sense that DNA is a structure that can be reconstructed in detail, also through images, that is born with us and determines our whole being as an imprint from which it is impossible to free ourselves and that contains within itself the soul and body of the living being.

The stratifications of Legnaioli, on the other hand, are the result of this original imprint, that is, they are the synthesis, in the image of course, of everything that comes after the individual and that determines his destiny and many of his peculiar characteristics, but above all it consolidates the main acquisitions that each of us experiences in life.

Almost as if the author had taken his cue from a natural fact. And, after all, she herself explained what this natural fact is for her. It is the stratification of the rocks that takes the form of irregular drawings but still guided by an iron and incontrovertible logic of development. And that natural datum becomes, in the image of Legnaioli, pure abstraction of waves of energy that shape the space in a manner consistent with that which characterized the lives of the great women chosen.

Each one is a symbol. Symbol of art, science, politics.

In any case, the works in the exhibition make series, and very tight series. As if to say that, despite the enormous differences that separate one character from another, there is a common root for those exemplary lives and that root is the art itself that brings order, harmony, balance in what may seem to be the maximum of disorder and chaos of life itself in all its articulations.

And so, these plates constitute a sort of encyclopaedia of secular knowledge and each of us can and must measure ourselves against the images, very abstract and mysterious at least at first glance, which speak to us instead of famous personalities, almost as if to uncover this strange DNA of return that is represented, precisely, in the fervid and pulsating images elaborated by Micaela.

Claudio Strinati

 

On April 11th, Galleria Fidia opens the exhibition Eleven Lives by Micaela Legnaioli; eleven material works that trace the lives of eleven excellent women. The gallery confirms its path of contemporary artistic research, combining it with its historical vocation of presenting established artists.

The exhibition presents the artist’s new series on metal, in which zinc plates sculpted and oxidized with the use of acids are dedicated to the experiences of eleven women, united not only by the role of crucial importance played in the history of the West, but also by the initial of their name, the letter M.

The works, whose two-dimensionality is a deviation from the artist’s path marked by realizations of sculptural value, recall the phenomenon of the formation of rocks. The irregular drawing generated by the sedimentation of rocky layers, the result of the mutations of matter caused by natural events, are transferred to the metal in the form of engraved furrows: visible traces of the positive and negative events, public and private, experienced by the eleven protagonists.

In the text presenting the exhibition, Claudio Strinati writes: “This stratification, which can be perceived by direct observation of the works, takes on an emblematic aspect in the eleven figures, like a sort of reverse DNA. And that natural datum becomes, in the image of Legnaioli, pure abstraction of waves of energy that shape the space in a manner consistent with that which characterized the lives of the great women chosen. […]”.

The traced signs faithfully follow the existence of these women, and their depth varies according to the impact that events and experiences have had in individual life paths. The artist thus proposes real maps of individual parables, determined by will, chance and the environment. The visual impact and meaning of the works, despite their unquestionable expressive force, are not revealed to the observer until after a thorough investigation, and through a more conscious reading we arrive, therefore, at the clear deciphering of an otherwise impenetrable abstraction.

The fascination of these works is exalted by the brightness of the metal support and by the chromatic variation, in intimate dialogue with the experience of the single characters.  Micaela Legnaioli proposes a new visual rewriting of the biography of female icons belonging to different historical contexts and eras. The eleven women chosen have struggled to emerge and to make a contribution to history, albeit with controversial results: loved, hated or forgotten have all left an indelible mark of their passage.

 

Parallel lives

Rome, October 2018. After the project “Eleven Lives”, in which he represented the biographies of eleven great women, the artist Micaela Legnaioli continues her research with “Parallel Lives” at Open ART-Sala da Feltre in Rome. The ten works on metal, on display from October 11 to December 31, take up the idea of excellent lives, and represent five female characters along with their companions: Messalina and Claudio, Matilde and Goffredo il Bello, Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, Marie and Pierre Curie, Mary and Percy Shelley.

The protagonists chosen by the artist are united by the same initial of the first name, the “M”. The idea was born with “Eleven Lives”, an exhibition curated by Prof. Claudio Strinati, who identified the inspiration for the project as follows: “despite this somewhat Dadaist idea of laying the foundations of an artistic work like this, the assumption of the exhibition is very serious and thoughtful … the slabs carved and oxidized with acids that make up the whole of the works of the exhibition, want to give the idea of the spiritual, cultural and moral stratification deposited in each of us because of the events of life and experience. So a kind of DNA on the contrary, which is not born with us but is a synthesis of what happens to the individual and that determines his fate. The works, almost two-dimensional, seem to want to reconnect, in those irregular drawings and in their different layers a bit ‘typical of the rocks, the meaning of the overlap of experiences and the unmistakable signs that, in the life of each, in the grooves and tones, forever mark us making us unique. “My work on the individual and on what makes him unique, with the emotional and experiential load, here continues as a true story of past lives” – said Legnaioli. The research goes beyond the portrait already experimented in the series “impronte” and applies to intimate and more in-depth investigations of the human being. It is a seduction of the soul, its own, that goes beyond the first glance.

Compared to the moment of realization, the novelty with respect to “Eleven Screws” is the experimentation of acid on copper: women are made on sheets of zinc but men, and it is the first time for Micaela Legnaioli, on copper carved and oxidized. These are material works that, in the concretions and in the different colors, want to represent the character and life experiences of the characters represented. The size of the works seems to correspond to the years of life of these women of the past, the men instead are on slabs of the same size, the thickness of the traces, real furrows colored by the oxidative reaction, follows the impact of various experiences in their lives. The result leads to maps of the individual characters always different from each other. The meaning of each work can be deciphered, but it is revealed only after a more careful and patient observation.

 

Fingerprints

It is a beautiful and evocative idea of Micaela Legnaioli that remembers the ancient formula of Portrait completely displacing the viewer.

The artist in fact, says that she will actually produce a series of works that have, the meaning of a Portrait of certain persons; and for her proposals of Portraits these works must have all the most typical features: the precise recognition of the individual, identifying its specific identity, highlighting what is unique and incomparable in his personality.

This triggered the paradox highlighted by the artist, explaining rigorously logical and consequential its procedures, clarifying the criteria with which she has worked and is working. But the paradox is that the aspect that the artist clearly discloses the kind of portrait of the character is not the character, but rather the fingerprint, even a single part of it. And there is no doubt ascertained by science, that fingerprints are all different although structured on similar directions. Deepening we know that there are broad categories in which you can narrow down the main types of fingerprints, but these categories are very complex and difficult to define. But here comes a second aspect of creativity of Micaela Legnaioli: intuition.

It is true that the works she produced on the basis of that assumption, would perhaps be not understandable if the author didn’t show us clearly what those assumptions are, but it is also true that once you understand the creative strategy of the artist herself, the viewer can set out on the path with delight and curiosity, mixed to scientific knowledge and immediacy of perception.

We speach about paths, because visually this transcription of fingerprint in a three-dimensional image suggests a labyrinth, as noted above, being the images in relief, with a perception similar to that which you would feel while trying to walk through Burri’s Cretto in Gibellina, which is not like some of these paths but is organized in a similar way. Legnaioli produces shapes, in fact, all similar and all different and the labyrinth image is imprinted with evidence in the mind of the beholder, conditioning it.

And with what is conditioned, as a kind of compulsion to repeat the same image? With the same feeling that happens with numbers, being in front of infinite possible combinations. What is known is that the skeleton, how we could call it, of the various images, is a mixture of microscopic and gigantic, as if we were in front of the fossilized remains of a remote and petrified world. Instead, it is only the expansion of the living form par excellence, the imprint, which can be seen well only with a huge magnification.

So a kind of microscope operation, in which the idea of the portrait is approaching that form of abstraction and the discovery of a common essence, allows us to understand intuitively how the differences from one individual to another are really minimal and a decisive set.

And it is as if the artist wanted us to see the representation of the concept of probability, which, as is well known, is enormous and the applicant.

So we can try, becoming the Lilliputians of thought, to enter those microscopic spaces, for the simple but fundamental purpose to know better.

 

Claudio Strinati


It affect us in our I, the works created by Micaela Legnaioli young international artist. A research work, strong and intense, that focuses its interest on a continuing internal investigation and a model, “the man and his identity,” which she already observed in previous works with obvious changes.

The exhibition Fingerprints comes from a study of the artist on the human race, started long ago, art, science, psychology and sociology with a strong symbolic value, the image of us unique beings in diversity, but then evolved with a natural abstract in matter.

The work of Micaela Legnaioli surely makes and will make speak, because you can not remain indifferent: a fingerprint customized, made with mixed media and studied in a natural way, brings us in front of a sculpture yes, but also to imagine a person in flesh with real feelings and personality, collected in a symbolic and abstract way.

Through a careful look, in fact, we can find in the seven different works on display and format, as they are dimensioned on the size of the person, seven wall sculptures in three-dimensional shape of great personality, created with a particular study related to the use of materials and consciously processed. Works with indefined margins, carved in the material, that create furrows as in life, made, shown and shaped gently with shadows. It takes a special light through the acrylic paint and the resin, which it gives a greater volume.

In her artistic and expressive research, made with a mild material: plaster on wood, the artist wants us to perceive a line between the Ego and the Being, between the artist and the human being, between Us and the Individualism.

These works break down intercultural, racial and religious inequality. They do resurface a timeless soul, the unchanging and the individuality of the person who is rappresentaded by his own experience: for the artist is like talking to us, in the search for truth. An abstract approach that does not fail to describe the innermost feelings of the human psyche.

The exhibition to be held within the Spazio Menexa, is a project that is presented for the first time to the Roman public, in which the artist wants to create a synergy between different cultural realities, to promote the culture at all levels. The theme of the fingerprints and find our identity is more timely than ever nowadays. What better opportunity, through this exhibition, to introduce the artist and his technique of contemporary art?

 

Sveva Manfredi Zavaglia

 

Curves and Variations

We live in a time when the many forms of art and culture flourish in many public and private places and allow a different public to feed on spaces of exchange and discovery, places of sharing but above all of openness where curiosity and sensitivity accompany a path of choice.

This is ideally the spirit with which Ernesto Quagliariello, director of Teatro Centrale, a place dear to Rome’s artistic tradition, intends to animate this space, and the meeting with the Artotheque de Rome was decisive in launching the idea of a place of culture where, drinking a glass of wine while waiting for the show, one can accompany oneself in the discovery of an exhibition of contemporary art.

The collaboration between Teatro Centrale and l’Artotheque de Rome began on 9 December 2014 with the exhibition “Curves and Variations” by the plastic artist Micaela Legnaioli and the sculptor Boris Lafargue. Both of them work on forms with different materials from which original and interesting variations are created.

Micaela Legnaioli, who has already exhibited twice in Rome, makes the art of recovery coexist with that of modelling in this exhibition. The artist creates or recreates the forms as in the work “C”, modelled with plaster and resin of the series “Giochi dei sentimenti” or in the work “Soffocare” for which the idea of giving back life to what no longer has it, or that was hidden or just forgotten gives all the sense of the artist’s research to dig into the intimate. Micaela Legnaioli remains consistent with the creative process in which she excels, always faithful to the recycled materials from which she draws nobility, hardness or simply utility. Resin, stucco, metal, various fabrics and plastic give life to works that then express a new meaning.

Boris Lafargue is exhibiting for the first time in Rome and is presenting a series of drawings that represent the preparatory work that enables him to understand the volumes before making the sculpture. This exceptional series accompanies us in the artist’s research into the geometric form of squares, composed of an infinity of isosceles triangles and rectangles. From these drawings, three sculptures were made: “Heraphrodite”, “The Falcon Territory” and “Black Hole”.

The common space offered to these two artists represents a bridge that allows them to compare their approach to the infinite possibilities of forms, regardless of the material chosen.

So many variations that leave our imagination running……