At a time when debate about art is characterised by extreme fragmentation, when it seems that a coherent vision of the world and of humanity is no longer possible, MariaLuisa Tadei strives to convince us otherwise. It is true that, because of the materials she uses in her work, she does not have a markedly heterogeneous style and that her work consists of a wide variety of forms and arrangements of space, but it is also true that her tremendous sensitivity succeeds in establishing an invisible web of connections between them and succeeds in bringing to life a sophisticated galaxy of imaginary worlds which open themselves up to our earthbound gaze.
Taking contemporary experience as her starting point, and using extremely modern artistic language, she tries to show us the problems that dog mankind, suspended as we are between the mundane and the transcendent, between the realm of feelings and that of the spirit. Her sculptures and objects have their origins in these contrasting places and give us a hint of their futures and their potential interaction.
In an interview not long ago, MariaLuisa Tadei said that she believed that it should be the spirit of a work that governed the choice of its material, not vice-versa. In her own work she concentrates for this reason on ideas, principles and on the contrasts generated by every placement of space. More than masses or volumes, she deals in effects of light and transparency, with resistance and fragility, with the poetic charge inherent in the materials used, with the ties between the perceptible world and that only felt intuitively.
The joins between these two worlds are the primary impulse for her creativity, and it is almost as if she thinks it natural and understands perfectly how to erase the invisible line beyond which lies the dream state. The world of dreams, where everything is unpredictable and all is possible, is the most common theme of her spatial structures, in which the individual’s experience is submerged within that of the collective, in which all that seems most intimate and personal acquires universal characteristics, and the solid existence of man and objects – symbolised by the very presence and materials of the works themselves – is immersed in a dialogue without end with the omnipresent essence of the cosmos. Every figure, every construction fashioned from the imagination of the artist is a sign of its presence, of its state of mind and, at the same time, of the will to transform the experience of the senses by a conquest of the spirit.
MariaLuisa Tadei sees in her work a continuous investigation into the meeting points between dualism and unity, and into the harmony between the microcosm and the macrocosm. During this process she uses a language of symbols, often hard to grasp, which represent an attempt to draw in the gaze of the spectator, who finds himself on the edge of somewhere beyond which he cannot proceed: the truth is that he must in fact look within himself if he wants to understand what it is he sees.
The physical presence of the objects arranged in a certain order with many elements made up of imaginary landscapes which stretch out in different directions reflects our daily experience of the environment in which we live, not in the sense of simply imitating it but rather in the sense of there being a gradual change within the boundaries of time that eludes our control. When we ask ourselves why it is that the set-up made by the artist in the gallery offers us only one of the possible combinations among the elements that form it, we strive in vain to find a satisfactory answer, but we try to make up for it with a series of emotive reactions to what we are looking at. MariaLuisa Tadei concentrates her creative efforts into demonstrating these ideal associations that contact with her work awakens in the viewer, leaving it up to them to decide how deeply they want to involve themselves emotionally in order to better understand her intentions.
One of the most frequent elements in her sculpture repertory is undoubtedly the circle, often in the form of the detail from an eye, enlarged and reproduced in an infinite number of chromatic combinations.
Leaving aside how they are variously presented – ranging from mosaic to those fashioned by the latest technology – the circle (or eye) in her work has a very important symbolic aspect: because it constitutes a link with the external world, because it has a decisive role in recognising the world and because it represents a type of “window of the soul”, an oculus dei, an example of that spirituality that contemplates reality and from which everything draws its origins and meaning. Between these two extreme positions MariaLuisa Tadei moves with unusually light footsteps, in full accord with her conviction that it is not possible to divide visible from invisible reality. The gaze of the eye – organ of sight – does not push further than the senses allow it, while the interior gaze opens out infinitely, reaching the inexplicable and the inexpressible. In art that looks to the future there is room for both.
(translation by Joško Vetrih)