PATRIZIA MEDAIL
Home Press review
New Works Exhibitions
Works Contact
English version Italian version
Dada Rosso
  From the Stampa di Torino 07.06.02

PHILIPPE DAVERIO: ON PATRIZIA MEDAIL

Rossana Bossaglia
  Il Corriere della Sera, 25 January 1998

Melissa Hoyer
  The Sunday Telegraph, 4 September 2000

Bona Frescobaldi
  Il Corriere della Sera, 2 March 1998

Maurizio Gennari
  Il Resto del Carlino, 22 March 2000

Antonella Ferraro
  Corriere Adriatico, 7 April 2000

Vittoria Coen, art critic
  Corriere Adriatico, 7 April 2000
 


Patrizia Medail's work reveals traces of a representational culture in balance between a highly individual naturalism and a marked taste for the scenographic. Like the Arcimboldi's bizarre portraits and the quests embarked upon by Renaissance scholars and alchemists, her bestiary and minute descriptions of plants and flowers belong to a universe of ideas that still today continues to generate new forms of imaginative expression. She started out with a series of vases containing flowers adorned by fine quality braids and luscious fabrics, set beside masterfully handled "poorer" materials. She then became more daring in her depictions of animals, especially "exotic" ones so often removed from our habitual gaze: polar bears, dolphins, tigers, rendered with such substance that they resemble great pups, the soft toys of childhood. Painting and collage are combined in a rigorous, faultless technique. Her work is a form of recycling and collage entirely unburdened by the hints at performance emphasised in the past by artists like Spoerri (remnants on a laid table only waiting for "the word" to describe an artistic soirée of discussion and contradictions). All that is now the stuff of anthology. Medail's work occupies a completely different dimension: they possess a deliberately cold iconography necessary to a description that aims at the greatest possible care for detail, in a realism that is both confined within the twodimensional but, at the same time, projected towards the spectator thanks to the use of certain materials. It is perfectly clear that what we see is not the bear, but its representation. The effect is similar to that of a superbly illustrated book in which the animal is photographed with such artistry and imagination as to make it seem unreal. The colours are often strong and vivid, sometimes warm, sometimes ice cold, in this veiled attempt at truthfulness. Patrizia Medail pieces together a mosaic of colours and materials starting from an only slightly suggested grid, a design that suggests a form. The medium gradually builds up on the canvas until attaining a form based on affinities among colours, tones, thicknesses, and on a sense of adequacy, becoming a mountain landscape or a forest from which emerges a solitary animal, or group of animals. As in a photograph, the image is fixed at a particular moment in time, usually with the animal poised for action. This is even more pronounced in the large works, where form and mass cover almost the entire canvas surface. It is also curious to notice how the body of these often ferocious animals (as I said, tigers, panthers, bears) with there menacing gaze, is lengthened by a very long tail. At the same time, the pictures incorporate suggestive silhouettes of umbrella pines and Sicilian agaves standing out like provocative tongues. This great, richly imaginative fresco conveys far away atmospheres and worlds. Rather like Salgari, Medail conjures up countries, landscapes and animals, bringing them to us with the spontaneity of an adventure writer. The lion remains a frightening, wild animal, and yet, we can touch him. This is the tactile character of a work made up, mostly, of glue and scissors.