Eva Marisaldi, Post It, 2010, wood, plastic, polyester, 8' 3 1/8“ x 17' 10 1/2” x 13' 3 3/8".

Eva Marisaldi, Post It, 2010, wood, plastic, polyester, 8' 3 1/8“ x 17' 10 1/2” x 13' 3 3/8".

Eva Marisaldi

Galleria Nicoletta Rusconi

Eva Marisaldi, Post It, 2010, wood, plastic, polyester, 8' 3 1/8“ x 17' 10 1/2” x 13' 3 3/8".

Eva Marisaldi’s recent exhibition was dominated by two new works, both 2010: a large sculpture, Post It, and Underlines, a video made in collaboration with Enrico Serotti, who also wrote the music, which lent the show its title. Both were inspired by a short film on YouTube in which some entomologists in Brazil discover a gigantic ant colony. By injecting into the anthill a liquid that then solidifies, the scientists obtain a cast of this large excavation carried out by the insects, a complex system of spaces forming channels and spherical cells. The idea of this type of construction project, totally “other” but fully functional, like a monument extracted from the earth, made a strong impression on the Bolognese artist.

This was not the first time Marisaldi has used found images to work with the idea of what might be called involuntary sculpture—that is, structures of high aesthetic value, but produced for completely other purposes. In earlier drawings, she reworked images of large steel ships being taken apart piece by piece in Bangladesh, China, and Turkey. In this case, she took the image of the ant colony, creating it, on a smaller scale, with synthetic materials—the outer skin in yellow plastic and the interior quilted with wool and other fabrics. It looks like a large gut, an organic form, where the combination of organic appearance and artificial substance brings to mind precedents such as Eva Hesse—which Marisaldi does not deny, although in conversation she told me that the similarity was unintentional.

The structure seems soft but heavy. It was exhibited above a specially devised support, an armature of wooden sticks that delineated profiles of cubes held together by clamps. On this light, geometric base, skillfully articulated at different heights, the upper portion seemed to rest like a cadaver displayed for viewing, and it emanated a disturbing aura, like that of the real structure built by insects (but, according to the YouTube commentary, similar to the work of a great architect).

Marisaldi’s video piece describes the journey of an invisible wheeled vehicle through a curved route, where dark tunnels alternate with spaces that are open but always delimited by high walls. Hanging or resting on the walls, or scattered on the ground, are heaps of elements, two-dimensional, like images or sheets of paper, or three-dimensional, like the myriad of objects and materials we might find accumulated in any random place—paper cuttings, threads, remnants, little paper disks. These are objects and materials that the artist had kept in her studio for no real reason, but which now, reutilized, become functional. Our visual memory works this way, bombarded by means of communication that rarely allow time for conscious selection. In a sense, memory itself, whether voluntary or not, weakened or not, became the unifying theme of the exhibition.

The video was looped, creating a continuous action inside an apparently vast space. The four “sets” where the action was shot were on view in the gallery office (each likewise titled Underlines, 2010) and, as one could immediately see, they were parallelepipeds, not large at all, containing ephemeral materials, small objects, papers, photocopies, and also the remains of works the artist had made on other occasions—a small universe of meaning preserved by disappearance.

Giorgio Verzotti

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.