2004 – TWO FOR TANGO exhibition catalogue – Uusitalo Gallery – Helsinki
Francesca Tulli paints the interiors of her house, but it could be our own house; and she does so from unusual perspectives- to the extent that they are barely recognisable. Yet, she is keen on keeping up a somewhat comfortable feeling. Her unspoken intention is apparently to unexpected snapshot objects. In an effort to investigate into their secret lives during our absence. Her paintings, however, are by no means metaphysical. She does not want to turn familiarity into disquiet, let alone chase enigmas ore stare at them to question us whenever we attempt to question them.
De Chirico used all the tricks of his mastery and all the ambiguities of painting to bring about a never- ending play of cross- references. In doing so, he demonstrated that, all things considered, the concept of reality – rather than paintings themselves- is ambiguous. By contrast, Tulli strains the abilities of the eye rather than of the painter’s language. She has no intention of overstepping the limits beyond which all of our certainties could be frustrated by using exactly those certainties, i.e. a type of painting that yields to perception, through a permanent, perspective comparison with a photography and a- so to say- classical description of relief. Ultimately her message to form is not automatic as form builds up by habit and can also be destroyed by habit.
In her most recent cycle of paintings, this Roman painter seems to have made her theorem even more entangled; as a matter of fact, she merely added additional elements to demonstrate it, once again, from other points of view.
Interiors are ever- present, with their everyday furniture and objects, but these are combined with views from the artist’s home window. As is usually seen in films, the sober discretion of a within the frame of distance and silence. Only two colours, i.e. red and white are used, which act as a filter or diaphragm beyond which the chiaroscuros appear of a work of art bearing more resemblance to a drawing than a painting.
This may seem a variation merely introduced for the sake of elegance, so as to somewhat mimic the dryness of graphics and the minimalism of son present- day advertisements. Yet, at a closer look, we immediately realise that once again we are faced with a complex mechanism, or even a challenge which percolates from the optical to the mental plane and- along its way – becomes permeated with a strange evocative flavour.
Taking a closer look, in facts, means realising at least two things, namely that views seen from a window are situated on different perspective planes from those of floor and windowsills and also that the subjects depicted are interchangeable and somewhat even improbable, similarly to options made available by a pc for screensaver customization.
On top of taking a closer look, in her exhibition, Tulli invites us to observe paintings from a distance and she does with a simple structural expedient, i.e. by combing four apparently autonomous and separate paintings in a checkerboard arrangement, which helps perceive the alternation of white and red stripes as the elements of a playful composition apparently mimicking a rotational movement. The continuum thus formed is held together by a preset time of fruition, governed by an order which reflects the way of looking and things to which new technologies and new imaging techniques have accustomed us. As a matter of fact, the distinctive features of such techniques include their ever-increasing openness to free combination and rearrangements, albeit unfortunately within the limit of cold action, thereby producing a picture that bears no trace of the impulsiveness and emotion caught by an ordinary optical camera shutter.
That essence of Francesca Tulli’s experimentation is establishing a relationship between perceptive habits and the creation of a form to depict reality is also demonstrated by her six small sculptures displayed with her paintings. Behind each one of them is a clear commitment to find a posture that the human body can actually adopt- extreme as it may be- whose translation into a bronze sculpture may, in turn, verify its tangible ability to stand upright and stay firmly on the ground. The subtlety of this proposal lies in the fact that, on completing the work of art, it is difficult to assess which is the object of order and balance, i.e. whether the subject portrayed our perceptions, the material object sculptured, or more simply the work of the art itself.