Diego Collovini

In the infinite the color

What we “see” is not simply given, but is the product of past experience and future expectations.
H. Gombrich

Essentially, Luciana Cicogna painting falls into two distinct and separate phases: in one, we see the unwinding of the creation of the forms, in the other we discover her expression within the act of applying the paint. They represent two features of a single action – though they are made at different times – which discover their essence only at the moment of their composition. At the same time, each of these currents, whilst seeming to follow its routes, does not exist without the other. Indeed their inseparability finds its raison-d’etre at the very last moment, the moment of perception.
Cicogna suggests that we interpret and re-construct that which has as its starting point the perception phase, and this enables us to analyse her work from that state of seeming uncertainty and formal unevenness that one finds when seeing her work in its entirety. What makes it so intriguing is thus its sense of spontaneous instability for which we are pre-warned by the lack of a primary and obvious pictorial form; in other words that which is of the surface when considered as the base of the painting or of its formal composition. In the work of this Venetian artist the pictorial plans are as one seen through those often indefinable shapes, like symbolic shreds, images of material visions which are attached to an ideal place, whose dimension is marked by the same chromatic intensity by the light and by the volume of colour. Luciana Cicogna’s works are presented to be understood within a random and difficult context, which is yet an open question. Consequently a first connection is made: form equals surface; however, we can not feel to have identified the work from this, because to this, as an essential and irrenouncable action belongs the action of painting. This represents the ultimate action through which the artist gives consistence, even material, to the shapes and enlarges upon the variety of the language used. The consistency of the compositional act is thus confirmed materially, firstly as that of collage, - the compositional moment in which it is the substance which gives body to the colour, and another, - more exquisitely pictorial, which harmonises the various compositional levels and which has more to do with the illusory characteristics of colour and brushwork. Thus the quick and rhythmic brushstrokes, the alternating of warm soft colours which bring us to a fantastical and imaginative perception – seemingly real but as deceptive as our memories; so much so that if we wish to discover some sort of reality, we can find everything that we imagine in our mind’s eye: shapes floating in nothingness – figures held suspended by a thread - from a symbol which still reminds us of other things, rather like the horizon which creates another space, even larger than the painted space, which is as immeasurable as infinity itself.
But there are also other elements that make us look at Luciana Cicogna’s works, other clues that further throw into confusion the certainty that we seek to see. They are other imperceptible feelings- sometimes coming as they do from the artist’s personality which interweave and confront each other in the different game of realisation, rather like an immutable process, which, if on the one hand goes in search of the present and its transformation, on the other hand watches the artistic and creative process. Thus the artist undertakes a perfect retreating route. And here we can find a real idea of “Venetian-ness”; the changing colours of light which area a striking record of one who has lived these changes day after day in that alternation of seasonal moods which the city lavishes on those who live here. All the sense of colour goes from different extremes, to re-live those cotton-wool tones of the grey cold seasons, or to integrate one’s self in vivid sunny seasons with that red-hot blazing light which belongs to those intense and brilliant moments of the hot periods. This is the embodiment of the act of painting, an ongoing discovery of a light which rises with a daily transformation of colour which is always different; it is a creative act of re-making a journey, which unfailingly brings one to personal artistic experiences, but also to those related to the History of Art. In the works of Luciana Cicogna one catches a glimpse of the certainty of the experience and the sureness of the validity of the languages acquired through her artistic voyages. No single way of painting, no single way of creating shapes, no single way of giving solidity to the images- but every possible way that painting allows or which life itself has assembled.
However, I do not believe that one can reach a single definition to make these experiences concrete. Neither do I believe that they can be pinned down to a single period in the artist in the artist’s creative life. It is an ongoing and reflective task of analysis and a research into the infinite language of painting. Everything is a journey without maps, often beyond any pre-ordained or rational plan, but also from possible perceptive certainties. The probable references to the painter’s experience, - and they do nothing but confirm this - the communicative strength of painting, its ability to grasp not only the immediate existential moment, but even that broader one- and therefore less precise- form that infinite space that within is very axiom of immeasurability becomes a metaphor for the creativity of art and the deceptiveness of painting.

November 2000

Translated by Jeremy Magorian