Francesca Brandes

The woman who catches dreams

Marialuisa Tadei is a determined artist, as Martin Heidegger would define her. Since she was a child, her goal was to catch dreams and return them in physical form: from marble sculptures to the psychedelic use of epoxy resins, embroidery, and precious mosaic. Every technique is valid to achieve the results. Another world, understandable yet not always reachable through the means of everyday life, installations with mighty symbolic value, charming and memorable (like those made over the years for the Biennale of Visual Arts).

When dreams take shape

However, there is much more to Tadei's work beyond the imagination and the spectacular rendering. What interests her and brings out that calm resolve, like an invocation, is to put the human dimension in contact with the transcendent: "I try to combine the shapes of nature and the anatomy of the human being so that they become mystical," she explains. "I try to create a mystical anatomy.” And so Marialuisa's sketches and finished works become imbued with faith. Faith is placed at the service of the dialog between humankind and God, in an ascending motion that becomes a necessity and a powerful drive. Because the wealth of a human being is to become a mirror of the Divine, just as in the facets of her mosaics. It is geological transparency through an eye that sees beyond.

When an exhibition protects dreams

The earthly root, in a metaphysical sense, rises to God. The work of this artist brings back to our consciousness the relationship, often problematic, between artist and religious belief. A relationship that is sometimes denied, for modesty, for cultural habits, for ideological censure. And yet, seeing the sculptures of Marialuisa Tadei - originally from Rimini, but deeply cosmopolitan (she has also been Kounellis' pupil in Düsseldorf) - exhibited today in Venice at The Light and Color of Spirit expo, curated by Luisa Turchi, we understand the determination and depth of commitment of her project. The venue is a perfect one: the Courtyards of Hotel Aquarius in San Giacomo dell'Orio. A place created as a hotel, but also as a showcase for Venetian craftsmanship, from the installations to the furnishing details. A shelter for lagoon culture, even in the dark days of the pandemic, when Aquarius (under the sensitive and intelligent lead of its director Luca Chiais) began, as soon as possible, to host book presentations, art exhibitions and events in its large outdoor courtyards.

A personal exhibition

Tadei's personal exhibition just opened, lives up to the expectations. The works chosen include the use of different materials, from marble (alabaster, white onyx, Marquina, Portugal pink) to aluminum castings and epoxy fiberglass and steel. However, they all share a strong iconic character. Because the essence of the icon is transcendent, but its energy is present in the world as it derives from it. In the inner feelings Marialuisa stimulates, there is space for the sacred where the beauty of the iconic subject strikes the senses and charms each one, just as she kidnaps a memory, a childhood dream.
In the curvy, maternal forms, however, no mystical epiphany is hidden. Rather, the artist highlights the constant (and not occasional) presence of the Divine; the perfect need to connect earth and sky. It is the cornerstone, the intellectual structure of faith about which T.S. Eliot writes in the Choruses from the Rock: "You have built well, have you forgotten the cornerstone?” He asks, “You speak of the right relations between humankind, but not of the relations between humankind and God.

Catching the dreams

Marialuisa Tadei's philosophy seems to echo this warning: she tells us about “the Seed”, a bud of common sense in red alabaster that drives the sap in the veins of matter. She melts the tenderness of birth in the pink shades of Lucis familia and that of an embrace in the white onyx of Lucis Albus Amplexus. She dares, in the open spaces of the courtyards, to use more contemporary materials and intense colors without ever failing in her desire to reach the heavens. Perhaps this is why her works do not look like artifacts but pure essence—living organisms. Like icons, they have undoubted thaumaturgical properties. Almost as if, just by touching them, we could all feel part of the greater good.