The force of creation: a fragment of eternity
Every ‘thing’ is a life, and every ‘life’ is part of a whole. This is the inspiring mystical approach that many artists adopt whilst creating their works. But for MariaLuisa Tadei it has still deeper significance. She compares the physical manufacture of her art pieces to a spiritual conquest.
According to the Ancients, ‘Spirit’ and ‘Matter’ are two expressions of the same principle: everything has a spirit to it and every spirit has some form of ‘body’; thus nothing is created or destroyed but everything is constantly transformed. This never-ending cycle was connected to the knowledge that the ‘spirits’ within elemental matter could ‘talk’ and reveal secrets to mankind. This process of talking to matter is said to involve ‘stages’ requiring the application of great spiritual forces emanating from the classical geometric shapes – such as squares, triangles and circles – in an ad libitum (improvised) process.
An Italian artist who has learned this lesson well is MariaLuisa Tadei, born in Rimini, Italy, and educated there and in Germany and Britain. She is open to the meaningful experience of art making, with the awareness that direct communication can be established between oneself and any other divine, comprehensive ‘self’, whether spiritual or material in form.
Tadei uses geometrical forms such as circles to symbolize and assemble precious fragments of eternity. Her work deals with the transmutation and preservation of ‘living’ forms – inspired by anatomy and nature – through a mystical and spiritual perspective. She endeavours to find points of contact between the human frame and the world around us by designing art that looks as if it could be found in dreams. They remind us of another world, such as the biblical Garden of Eden. She looks for a dialogue with this and constructs elements of it, like jigsaw pieces of a bigger picture, in the hope of establishing faith in a life after death.
This ‘Eden’, which in Hebrew means ‘delight’, is represented by Tadei through highly tactile installations which use the physical transmutation of matter to convey spiritual content. She makes elegant and intelligent life-forms inspired by a long-desired paradise, not a geographical place as such but rather a kind of memory sought by those who yearn to see beyond mortal vision.
In Tadei’s artistic code, each spiritual force in the universe is a composite being made up of some non-human but living form: feathers and textiles, mirrors and mosaics, perspex and iron. While it may well be that this anthropomorphic conception of nature is all that is visible to us on the surface of MariaLuisa’s creations, her art undoubtedly makes us reflect on why we ourselves take the form that we do, and thus live with a non-eternal destiny.
Tadei tries to answer these questions by mastering works which deal with polar opposites: weight and lightness, life and death, the organic versus the technological. As she often states about her inspiration “Art must contain everything and nothing: where one exists, the other exists too”. Following this axiom, MariaLuisa Tadei is sure that there’s a eternal divine garden waiting for us somewhere just behind the corner of our vulnerability.