Emirati artist Cristiana de Marchi’s exhibition ends at Maraya Art Center
Maraya Art Center is located in Sharjah.
Mohammad Yusuf, Feature Writer
Maraya Art Centre, the non-profit creative initiative of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) that supports emerging and established artists in the region, concluded (August 4) the first institutional solo exhibition of Italian-Lebanese artist Cristiana de Marchi, who has been based in Dubai since 2006.
Often known in the region for his curatorial, editorial and poetic work, the exhibition presented a preview of his not yet exhibited works. He highlighted his artistic practice which stems from labor-intensive compositions addressing themes of global significance and contrasts notions of individuality with collective experiences of belonging to countries and communities. nationalities.
The title of the exhibition, Finer: A thread… in the Swell of Wandering Words, relates to a verse by German-Romanian post-World War II poet Paul Celan published in 1955, from the poem Parle, toi aussi. Celan was one of the leading post-World War II German-language poets.
The poem addresses the human ability to rise from the fall through the power of language, expressing that there is a possibility of recovery, after suffering existential threats. It’s as if human capacity, after disappearing like a thread in the heights, only came back with full force! “But now the place shrinks, on which you stand. Where now, stripped of shadow, where? Ascend.
Feel up. Thinner you become, unrecognizable, thinner! Finer: a fathom along which she wants to descend, the star: to swim below, below where he sees himself swimming: in the swell of wandering words. The exhibition took the poem as a starting point to address both creation and destruction, and the many nuances of their interaction with each other.
The word “thread” in the poem also indicated the artist’s main material proposed in the exhibition: threads of different colors, used in different techniques and on multiple two-dimensional and three-dimensional surfaces.
Elevating the medium of couture that is often associated with feminine domestic and artisanal domains, the artist has repositioned it as a highly versatile and contemporary artistic medium in its own right. The works had a contemporary feel, particularly through their minimalist and often monochrome appearance.
Cristiana de Marchi’s works are also born out of a felt plea for equality and justice. Principled and committed to moral responsibility, they deal with fundamental human rights, the laws of different countries and the circumstances in which they are granted or denied.
For example, his newly created, labor-intensive knitted piece, approaching a 6.5 meter high wall, and like its extreme counterpart, the smallest reported size of 2 x 2 meters of a cell prison, are just two examples of his exploration of spatial freedom and its denial. .
Divided into four main sections, the show showcased de Marchi’s practice through his initially playful, playful and interactive works. This is followed by serial works on sewn surfaces and knitted pieces dealing with various subjects in the second part.
The third section contrasted the smaller-scale works with the large Monument to the Fallen Wall and ended the exhibition, in a fourth section, with a look at the artist’s multimedia practice, including elements of light, luminosity and a sense of hope.
“I am sincerely grateful to Maraya Art Center for the opportunity they gave me to show an investigation of my artistic practice in a solo presentation in their room,” said de Marchi. “Over the past 15 years I have been an active member of the UAE art scene, with the extraordinary entry point of being associated as a curator and writer with The Flying House, since its inception. .
“I see this exhibition as the culmination of the path I have taken so far as an artist in the United Arab Emirates, where I have found a generous response to my internal dialogue, as well as a fertile ground for deepen engaging conversations and creative dedication.”
Organized by the curator of the Maraya Art Centre, Cima Azzam, the exhibition also offered a public programme, video documentation and an illustrated catalogue.
The bilingual Arabic/English publication featured an introduction by Maraya Art Center Director Dr. Nina Heydemann, an essay by Jill Magi, Associate Professor of Arts at New York University Abu Dhabi, a Q&A with the artist in conversation with art editor and freelance writer Nadine Khalil. , a curatorial statement by Azzam as well as a summary of de Marchi’s sewing process, written by the artist herself.
Maraya Art Center also released films about the artist, which were shown in the exhibition. Cristiana de Marchi works with video and textiles as a privileged medium to explore questions related to identity, displacement, belonging and the porous borders that separate regions, while allowing contact.
Her work has been featured in Art Asia Pacific, Art Forum, Contemporary Practices, Artribune, Canvas, The Arts Newspaper, Harper’s Bazaar Art Arabia, The National, Gulf News, Gulf Today, Islamic Arts Magazine, and L’Agenda Culturel, among others. numerous mentions in the Arab press of the UAE. She is a graduate of the Salama bint Hamdan Emerging Artists Fellowship.
Palestinian-Jordanian Azzam is the new curator of the Maraya Art Centre. Previously, she was Creative Director of Meem Gallery and Exhibition Designer for Cuadro Gallery, both in Dubai.
She has several years of experience in exhibition planning and gallery design, and has collaborated on international projects, including in Vienna, Austria and Costa Rica. She holds a BFA in Visual Communication from the American University in Dubai.