ROMA_SAIGON. andata e ritorno
edited by Francesca Lombardi
23 May - 15 June 2019
In February 2017, Laura Federici left for Vietnam, where she lived and worked for several months between 2017 and 2018. This long stay, born as part of a project in collaboration with the Italian Embassy in Hanoi and the Italian Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City, translated for the artist into a path of approach and comparison with Vietnamese culture and landscapes: the coastal region of the old imperial capital of Hue, the Mekong delta, the island of Phú Quốc, the national park of Vườn quốc formerly Tràm Chim, rice crops in the northern mountains, and the city of Hanoi.
This experience deeply influenced Federici's gaze, impacting the way she looked at the Roman landscapes after her return. She chose to abandon the themes she always loved painting - the suburbs, the "non-places" and the passage areas - to confront, for the first time, the monumental city, the historic center, the spatiality, and the forms of classic and baroque. In these illustrations, different echoes and suggestions interact, innervating and illuminating the landscape of Rome that is anything but obvious.
Made in Rome to tell the Vietnamese about their own cities, these works have long traveled: from Ho Chi Mhin, ancient Saigon, they have crossed, wrapped in a tube, on a train, on a truck, the whole of Vietnam, to be presented as part of the wide and heterogeneous series of works resulting from the Vietnamese stay, in some exhibitions held in Hanoi and at the Fine Arts Museum in Ho Chi Minh City.
For the first time, at the Andrè gallery in Rome, these Roman illustrations are exhibited alongside some works dedicated to the Vietnamese landscapes. These paintings are splendid and decidedly unusual, as if they have been diluted through the suggestions of the oriental light, bathed by the memory of the Vietnamese rains.
«[...] in a path of progressive dispossession of pre-packaged images, of exotic orientalism, of figurations of a literary matrix, Federici met Vietnam: Hue, the Mekong Delta region,
the island of Pukok, the Tram Chim Tam Nong nature reserve. She came across not just the present, the cities, the strong signs that modernity always impresses on the body of an ancient country. But also its nature, light, and landscapes. An encounter expressed through the paintings she created, soaked by a different brightness, by a more evanescent chromatism and an almost evaporated depth, lightened in a liquid dimension, rarefied. Large paintings in which the themes that have always been present in Federici's works - tangles of leaves, plants, the water, its reflections - are renewed, influenced by the Vietnamese landscape, as well as - it would seem - inspired by the oriental artistic tradition. Images perhaps unwittingly sedimented in the memory that suddenly emerged. But it is perhaps in the works made in Rome, after her return, that the strength of that experience is even more evident. For the first time in her artistic career, Federici turned her gaze to the historic heart of Rome; the ruins of the Forums, the Baroque domes, Villa Borghese, and Piazza del Popolo. As if to regain possession of her identity, forgotten for a moment, vacillating, almost lost due to her journey to discover the other. Despite this, still keeping in mind - in the liquid color, in the drippings, in the tones of an alienated light - the memory of that elsewhere, of that encounter».
Francesca Lombardi (Home, exhibition catalog,
HCMC Fine Arts Museum, 29 Sept.-7 Oct. 2017)
Opening 23 May 2019, 6.30 pm
Tuesday - Friday: 10.30-12.30 // 16-19.30; Saturday: 16.30 - 19.30
Andrè, modern and contemporary art
Via Giulia, 175 Rome
tel. 06 6861875 - 344 1306387