Bologna

Eva Marisaldi

Galleria Neon

“The well is 3 meters deep, it holds 4,000 liters, the human capacity load is zero. It wasn’t made to cause damage. This is an invitation to pay attention.” These words greeted the viewer entering Eva Marisaldi’s exhibition. Carved into a large steel disk hanging on the wall, these words included the title that had appeared on the invitation: “La portata umana è nulla” (The human capacity load is zero). But the images on the invitations remained enigmatic; they consisted of real postcards—some depicting natural environments, some emptiness, some human or animal traces. Marisaldi then collected these postcards in a small photo album, turning them into an edition.

Moving beyond the wall created by a large cube of rough wood, which constituted a sort of stage wing, one entered the space of the gallery. It seemed empty, but in a corner near the stairs leading to the basement was a soft, muddy surface upon which small concentric circles formed, apparently created by a drop of water, but one that didn’t fall from the ceiling. Descending the stairs, one encountered a large cylinder, precisely three meters tall, which connected the upper floor to the one below. Here was a well full of wet cement—a gray, pasty mass moved around by a small motor, which created the rippling that seemed to be produced by the mysterious drop. Thus the enigma of the work’s composition was solved, the tale brought to a close.

Once the image was clarified, one was left to reflect on the emotion conveyed by the title and by the figure. “The human capacity load is zero” is the conventional warning that appears at building sites to announce that construction is not finished and therefore the structure is not yet stable. The announcement on Marisaldi’s disk is also a warning. One couldn’t cross the well that took over the floor without risking a fall, which also figures both the mystery and the transitory nature of human life, and the inexhaustiblity of art. It is as if this gray, opaque well, alive and moving, could absorb all the secret vibrations that construct our thoughts, and emotions, which are then absorbed by the magmatic solidity of the work of art. Marisaldi is able to broaden the horizon of the word and the figure by aiming for a vision of the mobility of creative energy. She shows us what lies behind the outer layer of information and vision. Guided by her sensitive figures, we succeed in seizing the energy of movement and in giving value to the fluidity of life, rather than to the rigidity of rules.

Francesca Pasini

Translated from the Italian by Marguerite Shore.