A lovely obsession pursued

Extract from catalogue 2007 – “Gallery” – at the Italian Cultural Institute – 686 Park Avenue, NYC – R.S.V.P. 212 879

A lovely obsession pursued, springing to life in unforeseen ways – such is the work of Marialuisa Tadei. Something like a sweet madness drives her on, albeit one highly skilled in marrying texture and line, weightlessness and metal, fantasy and elemental materials.

I see her like a woman warrior, expanding her vision outwards from the highly personal (her own retina in this exhibition) to the horizon, her presence felt equally in the feathers she often uses in her pieces and in the crisp lines of those she makes from Perspex or metal. As if the world must always start at the beginning, and her art must be a precise but never stern guardian of it. Unlike what you see in so many contemporary artists (and in so many dull contemporary artists) there is no trace there of resentment, or of the sour disappointment in their engagement with the world. Instead there is a grace that emerges from her open way of looking at things and her surprise at being here.

Never affected, even dispassionate in her choice of subjects, Marialuisa Tadei does not look for easy choices with which to seduce the viewer (nor, perhaps, does she possess such traits), preferring rather to draw us into a space which she has recreated, one which takes care of itself, not a conceptual space but a pure one, almost monastic in its simplicity. Her art is that of Raphael. Working within the narrow windows of perception, using surprise as an unsurprising yet ritualistic element in an approach which strives to have an impact on the world, these installations and large discs place us outside our usual confines, our pre-suppositions and prejudices, leaving us marked by their own freedom.

They return to us the pleasure – and responsibility – of looking at everyday things and going with their flow, pointing the way as they do always further and further beyond the boundaries we have chosen.