MARIA LAI | una fiaba infinita
thursday march 3rd, 1994 – 6.30pm
march 15th, 1994
tuesday to saturday, 4-8pm
this exhibition is one of the three exhibition dedicated to the artist in 1994, alongside inventare altri spazi (Scuderie di Palazzo Ruspoli) and la natura dell’artificio (A.A.M. Architettura Arte Moderna).
INVENTARE ALTRI SPAZI [INVENTING OTHER SPACES] is the title of the exhibition presented by Arte in Scena at the Scuderie di Palazzo Ruspoli, bringing together the most significant pieces from the artist’s 50-year career. The different techniques adopted by Maria Lai during the different phases of her working life are presented in chronological order.
The exhibition is divided into two parts:
The first is spread across several rooms, containing: the artist’s drawings from the 1940s and 1950s, which are of particular interest as the starting point of her artistic activity; a number of oil paintings, marking the move into greater abstraction; the first mixed media canvases, which prefigure the looms of the 1960s, a critical point in her development; the pages of fabric written with thread; the canvas books inspired by legends and fairy tales; and finally the extraordinary “Geographies” of the 1980s, the woven fabrics that evoke stories, constellations and worlds.
The second part features the remarkable installation put together especially for the occasion, composed of cement, ceramics and gold. The artist’s sculptures – ceramic portraits, bread sculptures and enamelled figurines – are distributed over the course of the whole exhibition, in between the other pieces. The exhibition concludes with the final piece in chronological order, the unsettling “Maria Pietra” [Mary Stone], a small terracotta head with a large boulder balanced on it in seemingly impossible equilibrium.
Elsewhere, blown-up images of Lai’s land art projects, created directly onto the landscape in the hills of her home town of Ulassai, are also on display. The latest of these is a structure designed to contain landslides, dressed with grass, metal shapes, stones and rock.
Maria Lai is considered one of the most original artists at work today. Born in Sardinia, she studied in Rome and then in Venice, under Arturo Martini and Alberto Viani. Although these two meetings were crucial to her development, Lai has always maintained that an artist must follow their own path, freeing themselves from everything, even their own roots, so as to break new ground, pour cement over it, find a rock, and allow the whole to set.
Indeed, starting from an interesting early practice of painting and drawing, Maria Lai eventually found her own, very original path. Using materials from everyday life – wood, thread, clay and bread – she began to construct images of remarkable singularity which, oblivious to their material origins, expand into fantastic visions, geographies of the world and stories of the earth.
Alongside the above, the exhibition entitled, UNA FIABA INFINITA [An Endless fairy tale] will also open at the Studio Stefania Miscetti on 3 March at 18:00, with work focusing on Lai’s extensive research into fairy tales and fantastic stories. The books and drawings presented contain a symbolic charge made apparent by their essential form.
The same evening will also see the inauguration of an exhibition dedicated to Maria Lai‘s land art projects at AAM Architettura Arte Moderna, which testifies to how her work has always had a regional dimension. This exhibition, also divided into two sections, features some of the artist’s original materials, notably sketches for the major Ulassai intervention and visual suggestions of its retaining walls, raised up from the shapeless condition in which they began and imbued with their own particular size and shape.
The second part of the exhibition includes project design visuals produced by students from the European Design Institute for a potential exhibition of Maria Lai‘s work. A series of photos taken by the same students is also on display, giving renewed meaning to the locations and the artist’s “work-in-progress” methodology.
here below are some images from MARIA LAI’s una fiaba infinita.
more exhibitions by MARIA LAI with STUDIO STEFANIA MISCETTI.