The Italian artist, Mariella Bettineschi is currently having her first traveling exhibition in the United States. Each in the series shows a different part of Bettineschi's current practice. Each exhibition is site specific, even though certain elements may be shared with other venues. Bettineschi states "my interest is with the place where it is and for me it is very important to visit the room before installing my work."
Bettineschi's work derives from Arte Povera of the 1960s. At first that seems odd looking at Bettineschi's material sleekness. The Arte Povera generation were informalists who dabbled with detritus and made lyrical assemblies with basic materials. The work was hands on, anti- or non-industrial, crude, and impoverished. They made poetry of ruin and rags, tawdry neon and lead strewn around or positioned in situ. With radical insight they criticized imperialism, capitalism, and the position of institutions. They made you look at the situation and "objects" in a new way.
Bettineschi does that too. Each installation, either outside or in a museum venue, is so succinct that the viewer subtly becomes aware of the artist's guiding. When you see her sources, they are as direct as the previous generation. Though she now uses digital photography, printers and computer manipulation, this technology is not beyond the grasp of most viewers; we see mercantile windows done in the same occupational manner daily. Such technology is quite common today. It is the nature of the imagery, not its modus, that is different.
An artist is an alchemist. She sifts memories, fables, sand and silt into the maw of the mind and spins threads of gold. The true artist doesn't need a loom or a philosopher's stone to do this; the sibyl herself is that catalyst that weaves sights into visions, sounds into chorales, events into epics. Although purity of heart is to will one thing, there are many kinds of saints, each with a varied path, each with miraculous feats, tortures, and miracles. Some artists are meteoric, glowing spectacularly then vanishing. Other artists grow more slowly, incorporating their experiences like accretions of a shell to gain breadth. Her works are more than the sum of plain parts.
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