LUCILLA CATANIA

RAINER FUCHS

The confrontation between sculpture and space in the works of Lucilla Catania occurs very subtly, discreetly, with no evident pathos, without conquering and invading the landscape, without estranging it and swallowing it as a sheath for the sculptures. The objects adhere to the floor, extend horizontally and barely stand out. Swollen shapes, waves of marble or gushes of cement. Hence a heavy material, hard by nature or stiffened, nonetheless seemingly vibrates, because of the shape given by the artist, mocking smoothness and malleability. In spite of their independent forms as sculptures and their discreet occupation of space, the works are strongly related to the place where they are presented; in their structure unfolds the theme of their interaction with the floor and walls as coordinates of spatial orientation and alignment. To get a grasp of this relationship, the eye must move swiftly, following the movement of the plastic bodies, their swellings, cavities, bulges, tips. It must relate it to the floor as the framework for gravity and the attraction of the tectonics that the sculpture both adhere to and oppose.
Blatant cavities and cave- or tunnel-shaped holes gape from the lower parts of the works, where space somewhat penetrates the bodies right where it fits, lifting them slightly from the round as if to enhance their bobbing or crawling. Thus, in horizontality volume contracts, a mounting tension between rising and getting lost in space.
The interaction of invisible forces seems to be inscribed in the sculpture to achieve a visible form. From this standpoint, the dynamic forms materially boost such shaping forces. The colors and glow of materials are essential to shaping and fulfilling the urge of sensualizing the shapeless. A phenomenology of mobility and transience, their ambivalent nature is endemic to each work; sensualization is always pregnant with the imagery of dematerialization.
Black marble, when polished, becomes a mirror-like body where light seems to penetrate to melt down its shape. The reflected light undermines the strength of the plastic mass, bolts together with the wandering sight, sticks and slips away, breaths life into an already live shape. Thus the hard, impenetrable and stiff material betrays smoothness, transparency and sinuousness. The features of other materials manifest in it, increasing the attractiveness of the manifold in one single lapidary, abstract form.
Alternatively, the artist suggest a movement made of stratifications, as in “Desertica”, where the moment of transience recalls the shape of a reverse, dying wave or that of a dune, constantly and stubbornly beaten and transformed by the wind. Thus the neutral floor around the work becomes room of resonance of landscape references, whereas the dynamic shpe turns into a moving metaphor of a primal, timeless force of nature. Sometimes the very titles hint at natural processes and phenomena – for example, a sharp, red wedge with three waves and a sculpture with an acuminate tip are respectively called “Tra le onde” (Among the Waves) and “Montagne e valli” (Mountains and Valleys), prompting the audience to establish a complex network of associations between the object and nature, between the words, the memories and plasticity itself.
The eye, accustomed to getting lost in front of something, is challenged to shift its perspective. Must look towards the floor, the ground as a field of the image on which it is dwelling. Walking becomes part of the observation; the relationship between one’s body and the floor begins to be perceived, gravity takes its toll. Within the field of sight grows a network of poetic references that vibrates around the center: the birth of plasticity and its sensualization, born of the conditions of empty space and its invisible forces.