MariaLuisa Tadei. thresholds

From catalogue 2002 mostra Museum und galerie Im Prediger e-Kloster der Franziskanerinnen Schwabisch Gmund und Kulturzentrum Englische Kirhe-galeri Scheffel, Bad Homburg v.d.Hohe “MariaLuisa Tadei Soglia Ubergang Threshold” 2002 ISBN 3-9807297-4-5.

“Just as the tree provokes the germination and ascension of the vital sap that rises from the interior and goes outwards, so in art do phenomena arise that result from the progressivity of vitality. It has to take on individual aspects in art, of course, so that one can formally identify it. These aspects mostly arise in a climate of transition, of wisdom, but only if the willingness to accept transitions and to control them is a component part of the investigation. A person who is calcified in a formula, on the other hand, has no transitions, or if he has he never considers them. He has no effect. In contrast to this, art is the consequence of transitions.”
(Mario Merz)

MariaLuisa Tadei stages visionary scenes of fascinating poetry. The “dreamy lyricism” that Gottlieb Leinz attributes to her work combines dream and reality, consciousness and unconsciousness, into a universal spatial concept. It is based on the ancient roots of Nature and reli-gion, and is expressed with the modern resources available for imaginative artistic presentation.

Tadei’s artificial landscapes embody a rare union of the earthly and the divine. They include the “Orto delle intuizioni“ (Garden of Intuitions), consisting of tiny bronze cactus plants and organic-seeming objects, the Greek cross “+” – a floor work of glass with acrylic glass printed in colour and exhibited in the Franciscan nunnery in Schwäbisch Gmünd – and “Intra me” (Inside me), the gigantic round panes of acrylic glass and steel that take their colour structure from a sophisticated computer-controlled airbrush painting process.

“The inside and the outside of the Earth stand in a constant relationship to each other.” (Mario Merz) Tadei’s conception of the proximity of Nature and Religion is displayed on the one hand by a mystification of Nature and, on the other by her attempts to create an image of the intangible divine. Her first public installation in Germany demonstrated this proximity with particular clarity. In the Bad Homburg sculpture project “Blickachsen 3”, for the Galerie Christian Scheffel in the summer of last year, Tadei adorned the historic stand of trees in the Kurpark with five of her so-called “Oculi dei” (Eyes of God), at various heights and distances. Another, older work, dating from 1996 and entitled “Equilibri” (“Balance”), consists of four nets floating one above another, diminishing in size with height. They are filled with feathers. A third, similarly multi-part work, was conceived a year later and shows three simple conical tents made out of thin wire bars aligned in a transparent sequence. In the interior of each “tepee” Tadei has hung a round net bag likewise filled with feathers. The simple form is reminiscent of Mario Merz’s igloos and thus can be regarded as homage to Italian Arte Povera. Their dematerialised penetratability and weightless transcendence lends them an almost spiritual aura of nobility.

The trigger that is responsible for the meditative qualities in MariaLuisa Tadei’s work is the interaction between material, light, and space. Each of these derives its main effect from its contrasting properties. The materials bear testimony to an extreme weightiness and to an extreme lightness. Solid bronze, steel, and iron are counterbalanced by feathers, nylon nets, and acrylic glass. In the same way the lighting effects range from an apparent flooding through immaterial substance to the hard refraction of sharp-contoured bronze bodies, and finally manifest themselves in the limits of both these kinds of spaces, just as the penetration of space manifests itself in clearly formulated paradox.

Omar Calabrese praises the development of a “new abstractness” as being Tadei’s very own achievement, and includes in this not only the reduction of form, colour, and image language but also and principally the accompanying effect. This effect is continually produced by the seeming weightlessness and self-dissolving properties of her material and by the mood it generates of floating and transparency. “All the verbs that come to mind when describing her work have something in common: to float, to suspend, to sail, to fly, to hover, to circle …” (Omar Calabrese). Calabrese describes a space in which reality is not reflected but in which it is turned into a self-contained surreal capsule that appears to be noiseless and timeless. The poetry resident in this spatial vacuum is a poetry of dreams and fantasies, and thus of the psychological conditions of human existence. It works as a broker between consciousness and sleep, between life and death, and constantly allows new and unique transitions to arise.

“The pieces I create now are works of art that seem to me as if they might be found in our dreams, reminiscent of another world. I think that inside every one of us there are signs of this other world, signs of a universal essence that produced the cosmos and all life therein. This belief is the foundation of my ideas and of my art, which seeks to make shine this divine spark which exists in everything.“
(MariaLuisa Tadei)

The author, Dr. Gabriele Holthuis, is the director of the Museum und Galerie im Prediger, Schwäbisch Gmünd.