Chiara Camoni

Chiara Camoni

Senza titolo, mosaico
390 x 430 x 45 cm (variable size)
Courtesy SpazioA, Pistoia


The works of Chiara Camoni often find their source in materials discovered by chance or through relationships with people to whom she is close. These encounters produce what she describes as “deviations”, a source of continual confirmation of the contemplative capacity of an empathic outlook on the world. For the installation Senza titolo, mosaico, the artist collected for months, near her home, fragments of marble, remnants discarded by the marble-workers of Alta Versilia. These are often thrown into the rivers, and there they are eroded and modified in shape and color by the action of the water: “They bear witness to a cycle: the marble, taken from the mountain, is transformed into a man-made object; thrown into the river, it slowly returns to its original state of stone.” Camoni thus creates a sort of anti-monument in which the ephemeral nature of the action of man is contrasted with the eternal cycle of nature.

The cyclical nature of life is also the main theme of the video-installation Mefite, an ode to beauty and to the ephemeral. During one of her travels, the artist found herself in a particular spot in the Irpinia region, the so-called Valle d’Ansanto—a traditional place of worship of the goddess Mefitis, invoked by the ancient Italic peoples for female and crops fertility, but who at the same time was also the divinity of the Netherworld. In this place, described even by Virgil, the earth expels a lethal mixture of carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide gases, which over the centuries has killed human beings and animals. The real potential danger determined the speed of the footage. The images, made with a fixed camera and with shots either from in front or from above, document a two-fold experience of death and beauty, with almost painterly effects in the representation of a landscape similar to the genre of the memento mori and et in arcadia ego. On the one hand, the mysterious fascination of the boiling earth, on the other the horror of the death of animals attracted here by a water source.

The drawings of Chiara Camoni are distinguished by a reflection on the dimension of temporality and on the idea of delegation, the involvement of other individuals. This is the case for a series of pencil drawings made by the artist’s grandmother, Ines Bassanetti. The main working rule for Ines was to do one drawing every day to deliver to the granddaughter. The result was the creation of series like Capolavori, in which Ines made copies of great works in the history of art, or Amanuense, for which, like a medieval monk, she transcribed the pages of celebrated philosophy texts, often making mistakes and corrections which altered the meaning of the phrases, transforming the reproductions into unique new copies. We know from the artist that Ines was unfamiliar with many of the masterpieces she reproduced, and she was not able to understand the reflections of Martin Heidegger that she copied. This action, however, made possible a new appropriation of these visual and textual contents for both of them. These series are evidence of the affirmation of a living practice, putting oneself in contact with another, demonstrating that the repetition of a gesture or an action not only gives rhythm to the passage of time but modifies the reality of two individuals, of two different generations, in a reciprocal process of growth and enrichment. The temporal component returns in the Notturni series, abstract drawings the artist executed herself by simply filling the surface of sheets of paper with the marks of pencil in the most uniform way possible. The predetermined size of the paper became in itself a sort of unit of time: the larger the sheet, the greater the time needed for the execution of the work. The final result evokes the vision of a night sky, but also becomes the expression of the serialized nature of a gesture which, during the nights following the birth of her son, the artist repeated methodically, almost like a meditation practice.

Chiara Camoni (1974, Piacenza, Italy; lives and works in Giustagnana, in the Apuan Alps) uses a wide range of materials and artistic processes in order to investigate the metamorphosis of forms and perceptions over time, highlighting the poetic aspect of this constant flux of materialization and disappearance. Camoni earned her degree in Sculpture in 1999 from the Accademia di belle arti di Brera in Milan. Since 2000, she has been the Art Director at the Naples Institute for the Diffusion of Natural Sciences, and from 2002 to 2006 she held conferences at the National Archaeological Museum’s Educational Section. In 2007, together with other artists, she founded the MAGra Contemporary Art Museum of Granara (PR) and currently schedules its shows and activities. She also belongs to the artist group Vladivostok. Her latest monographic exhibitions include Certe Cose at Galleria SpazioA, in Pistoia, Italy (2012) and Nell’ordine del discorso at the Museo Marino Marini in Florence (2011). Among her recent collective shows: (2012) Punti di vista. Identità, conflitti, mutamenti, curated by Ludovico Pratesi, Galleria Nazionale, Palazzo Arnone, Cosenza; Archéologies Contemporaines, curated by Aurélie Voltz, Musée de Wurtemberg, Montbéliard; Young Sculpture International Prize, curated by Claudia Gioia, Fondazione Messina, Casalbeltrame, Novara; Vedere un Oggetto, Vedere la Luce, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Guarene, Cuneo; Somiglianze non sensibili, curated by Cecilia Canziani, Galerie Opdahl, Stavanger, Norway.

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