Natural light floods Matèria’s airy new premises, enhancing the zenlike tranquillity elicited by Giulia Marchi’s “Una pietra sopra,” an elegant exhibition of recent work with a retrospective feel: The sculptures, installations, and works on paper borrow their titles from the artists, writers, or poets who have been key to this conceptualist’s practice, and the objects on display frequently reprise elements and materials from her earlier photographs.
Long, almost translucent scrolls of white Xuan paper of varying sizes are pinned to a central pillar, some unfurling to the floor, in Quaranta righe più due metri cubi di aria (Forty lines plus two cubic metres of air, all works 2022). The title, handwritten onto one of the sheets and easy to miss, references avant-garde writer Giorgio Manganelli’s definition of a novel. On the other side of the pillar, flanked by two arches, stands L’infinibilità e’ rigorosamente monocroma (Infiniteness is rigorously monochrome), a tall column of raw sheep wool encased in plexiglass (its title cites Piero Manzoni) and a nod to the artist’s 2013 more colorful “Multiforms” series.
Marchi’s deconstructed classicism finds its beautiful apogee in Ci sono ferite che per cicatrizzarsi hanno bisogno di altre ferit (There are wounds that need other wounds to heal), a Michelangelo-quoting work whose sheets of roughly hewn marble in gray, pink, yellow, green, and black have been gently stacked against a wall. Their edges are laced in gold-leaf, recalling the Japanese practice of Kintsugi, which valorizes scars as part of one’s past. Likewise, Marchi’s unassuming works here intimately trace the histories of their maker, mending fragments into a subtle and transfixing whole.