VENUE: Block E, 3rd Floor, Maraya Art Centre, Al Qasba, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
“Finer: A thread … in the swell of wandering words”, the title chosen by Cristiana de Marchi for this exhibition, is a line from a poem written by the German-Romanian Paul Celan in 1955, as a response to experiencing the atrocities of World War II. The poem addresses the human ability to rise from fall, through the power of language, conveying that there is a possibility for recovery after experiencing existential threats. As if the human capability were disappearing like a thread into the highest heights, only to come back with full force, the exhibition takes the poem as a starting point to address both – creation and destruction and the many nuances of their interplay with each other.
The word “thread” in the poem also points out the artist’s main material featuring in this exhibition – yarns in various colours, used in different techniques and onto multiple two- and three-dimensional surfaces. Elevating the technique of needlework, that is often associated with the feminine, domestic and crafts-based realm, the artist has re-positioned it as a highly versatile and contemporary artistic medium in its own right. The artist’s works have a contemporary look to them, not least by way of their minimalistic and often monochrome appearance.
Like the poem, that addresses different levels of elevations, de Marchi’s artworks take a bird’s eye perspective on the world, looking into the celestial heights with her pieces that allude to the stars and the clouds to plunging down onto planet earth with its various maps of countries, cities and bodies of water. They show detailed views on what defines geographical borders, nationhood and time zones, down to the most elemental building blocks of communication, individual letters of the alphabet.
This exhibition introduces de Marchi’s practice through her interactive and playful game-oriented works, complemented by serial compositions of stitched surfaces and knitted pieces addressing various subjects on identity and belonging. A large, nearly 6,50 m long creation, ‘Monument to the Fallen Wall’ constitutes the focal point of the exhibition. Lastly, the show also adds an outlook on de Marchi’s multi-media practice, including the elements of light, brightness and a sense of hopefulness in her work, that echoes Celan’s words, thus building the exhibition as a poem.