Tomorrow we are presenting at T.A.M. Martina Bassi’s work in situ: “A curved band, is a bend bang !”, born in Imola, 1988, Martina lives and works in Milan and collaborated closely with us on this project. What follows is a critical text of her work by Dario Giovanni Alì.
“Perception is the first step to aquire knowledge and the instrument we need to represent (and understand) the environment. The sight is the sense that we rely on the most to gather data of the reality surrounding us. Martina Bassi’s research is based on these premises, starting from the studies on human’s visual processing of the informations aquired, to their decoding and interpretation by the brain’s activity. Each work is created through an act of observation. Martina selects and records an image of the reality and uses it as the foundation for the process of its decryption and redefinition, choosing simple subjects such as floors, landscapes and human faces. The image is recreated operating manually until it looses its original status. By doing so, the photographic data becomes a formal representation of our visual processes.
The artworks aesthetic holds on rigid geometric shapes: framed in trapeziums, ovals and triangles, the images underline the unstable and mutable nature that characterizes them. The use of a frame, or a base structure, reveals to be functional in balancing on visual terms a subject that continuosly slips away from any form of stability or permanent placement. Each work is the result of a game of opposed tensions and continuous imbalances. In Mosaicperspective (2014), the artist’s sign isn’t detectable from the image below. This kind of illusion is obtained through a considerable physical effort and hours of work. The thick layers of lines create a movement along the image, perceptible to the observer as a sort of vibration. Quite the opposite, the heavy base on which is placed imposes itself to the eye as a solid figure. Then again, observing the ramp from a precise point of view, the physical object is turned into a two dimensional image: we’re not in front of a mere reproduction of an objective reality, instead we’re facing a rational reconstruction of it from a specific human perspective.
In Serie di paesaggi (2014), the sign fulfills an opposite role: it defines and limits the view, outlining the objects. During those visual experiments, the eyes struggle to follow a precise direction, and whether to look at the image or its frame: the dual system of opposite perspectives bewilders the viewer. The heavy frame fixes and closes the movement produced by the blurry image. The eyesight is confused by this illusionary game of contrasting forces, only to be bounced back against a wall of hand traced lines. The act in itself of visually perceiving the reality is put into question, and so our ability to gather knowledge. Her artworks expose the changeability of the visual perception, but also bringing to light the variety of possibilities that the object alone could not allow. Perceiving the world therefore stands for a continuous reconstruction.
In Self-portrait with Alberto (2014), Martina’s research is open for the first time to a relational dimension. The object of the series isn’t focused on the world surrounding us anymore, it’s rather centered on the human counterpart. The results of this study is a visual summary of what two individuals perceive of one another. Through the sign, here the artist conjoints the interception points of lines from two faces that look at each other. In this manner, the perception of one individual is reduced and formally assimilated to the perception of the other. Martina Bassi’s works, progressively reducing and revealing, present the accuracy of ascientific model, each time put at test, verified or even denied, as it happens with the site- specific work A curved band, is a bend bang! (2015), created inside the bookshop The Art Markets, in Milano. Here the artist opens a new phase of her research. The linearity analysed in her previous works leaves space to a study of the curvature, formalized in a structure that represents a reproduction on a scale of 1:1 in a corner of the bookshop floor.
Modelled in a curvilinear structure, the work directs the gaze back and forth, from one curve to another, as inviting it nor to rest or slow its movement. In this case, the artist has listened to the requirements of the space she was confronted with. The context, strongly defined – completely different from a white cube – has acted towards a very specific direction in her work, that of a radical loss of weight (physical, and consequently visual). Starting from a surface that imposes itself to our gaze, the artist has obtained an agile and dynamic shape, through a procedure of summary and subtraction that involves even the chromatic range. For every color tone, it has been computed an average, from which a common denominator has been extracted and included within the structure with the use of crayons. The rigorous combination of geometric shapes of the original object has been distorted by the curvy, handmade artist sign. As with Mosaicperspective, here the photographic image and the manual work are not discernible.
Although in this case, the function carried out by the frame – disappeared from the structure – is executed instead by the bookshop space, configured as a border land between artwork and the outer reality. The visitor is projected in an immersive place that is not out of the artwork, and not entirely inside of it, in a hypotetical doorway regulated by two opposite forces: from one side the solid stability of a physical space, on the other the lightness of a shape that is perceived almost as fluid because of its instability. The doorway is a limit zone that connects and distances the two places at the same time, it can depict an entrance as well as a gateway, depending on the placement established by the subject. Through her work, the artist has managed to create a new and potential place beginning with a real and already existing one. In addition to her usual overlap of signs and prints, this time she’s added an overlap of spaces – the real and the potential one – with no more traceable boundaries. The perception of the detail of a place has launched a process of its complete recoding and reconstitution”.
Dario Giovanni Alì