LoosenArt Mag / Gallery

Underwater

Posted on June 20 2018

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Author Silvia Colombo
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According to our culture, water represents a powerful element often appearing in visual or literary traditions. For example, the Greek myth of “Deucalion and Pyrrha” – and then the Bible’s “Great Flood” – recounts a story of a long rainy storm that was about to destroy the world. It is quite clear that water, here, embodies purification values, as also symbolised by the sacred ritual of baptism. Within the artistic research, this spiritual side is embraced by one of the most famous contemporary video artists, Bill Viola, who uses water as a threshold, a passage between two different ‘places’.
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Water, by the way, is not just that. It can be an aesthetic detail within the music field – the videos “No Surprises” by the Radiohead or “36 degrees” by Placebo show people under water –, but also the black whirlpool of the installation “Descension” by Anish Kapoor (2017, New York) or the iconic “Great Wave off Kanagawa” by Hokusai (1829-1833). It is East and West, slavery and freedom, sacred and profane all together.
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Federico Traverso, Liquid Dreams, 2017 │ Buy it
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The collective exhibition Underwater, at Spazio Millepiani in Rome (5-30 June 2018), will try to illustrate this extremely complex and heterogeneous domain by exhibiting international graphic and photographic works. As clearly stated by the title, the issues and themes involved are water-related but the questions on the table are more complex than this. In fact, the blurry, reflecting and sometimes evanescent reality captured by the artists is the main visual common feature implying different nuances and interpretations.

Water can be something imaginary and, sometimes, unclear: it props and nourishes artists’ fantasy, letting them build a “dreamlike imagery” or reinterpreting fables and tales. These kind of images talks about dreams, fantasies, childhood, innocence and surreal dimensions.

Water is something metaphorical, symbolising the spiritual discourse as well as representing our fears: it is wide-open, apparently endless, unpredictable and deep. Who is (not) scared of water?
Finally yet importantly, water is something natural: it is populated by fish, aquatic creatures, but unfortunately also by trash and pollution. Trying to discover, catalogue and denounce this situation is another issue actively involving the artistic scene.
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Kali Van Der Merwe, Theotokos - Echoes in the Mamlamb, 2015 │ Buy it
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Hélène Antorini, The Self and the Other, 2016 │ Buy it
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Marianne Van Loo, Umbria, 2017 │ Buy it
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Alicia Fàbregas, Calm Out of a Raging Water Flow, 2017 │ Buy it
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Susan Narduli, Shapeshifter, 2018 │ Buy it
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Moriah Cummings, Aurora, 2016 │ Buy it
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Sandrine Hermand Grisel, Waterlilies #3949, 2011 │ Buy it
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Gina Vasquez, A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Lose, 2013 │ Buy it
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