Milan/Trento

Eva Marisaldi

Massimo De Carlo / ART

Tristan, 2000, is a video game in the form of an animated cartoon depicting typical situations in the everyday life of a young girl, Fede, and a boy, Tristan. These characters are visualized as balls of different colors that cheerfully skip around the monitor. The spectator/player (at De Carlo) navigates through up to ninety staged situations before arriving at one of ten possible conclusions.

Lieto fine (Happy ending), 2000, at the Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto (MART), is an installation made up of 120 small cushions arranged in orderly rows on the floor. They are embroidered with the images of the ten final frames of twelve films chosen by the artist, among them Zabriskie Point, Midnight Cowboy, and Doña Flor and Her Two Husbands. The regular geometric scheme that organizes the arrangement of the narrative sequences revealed by the cushions can be followed according to directions that are not necessarily logical and linear, and these irregular incursions result in possible new stories, based on free associations of meaning. Embroidery, a process of manual labor that evolves over time, becomes a form of narration and of reelaboration of recollected images. The marks are subtle, delicate. Marisaldi maintains a stance that makes light of media and materials, emptying them of weight and reducing them to their minimum terms. Likewise in Tristan, the technology is not taken too seriously and indeed is utilized in ironic and playful fashion.

In both installations, the artist left clues, prepared indications, and suggested possibilities for narrative development that could be realized only through the experience of viewers willing to choose their own routes through the piece. The relationship with the participants, whether direct or indirect, often purely mental, is created in a climate of suspense. Dislocated objects or images are important above all for what they do not say. Tristan and Lieto fine leave to the viewers the task of organizing their own stories among the many that are possible. In Lieto fine, the film frames, reworked by hand and thus filtered through physical activity and the mediation of memory, acquire the fluid consistency of mnemonic images, distancing themselves from the object to which they refer. This quality of indefiniteness and openness is substantiated by four videos made by Marisaldi in collaboration with Enrico Serotti, each displayed in one of four rooms adjacent to the central installation of the cushions. Significantly, they show the endings of four everyday stories, in this case also evoked by way of omission. In Echoes, 2000, for example, two scenes are shown in alternation: Quick shots of a sparring session in a gym cut into a boy’s account of the match, of the feeling of it in the body, which becomes a metaphorical allusion to the relationship between the self and the world. The real context to which the protagonist refers is left uncertain. What remains unspoken, what’s left unseen, becomes the fundamental element in the narration.

Alessandra Pioselli

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.