The paintings of Marta Sforni are surreal, delicate, and stunning.
There’s an element of thaumazein (wonder in greek) that begins with
the making of the artwork and continues with the spectator who looks at it.
The elements of her paintings which would often seem to be just glasses,
form chandeliers made of disconnected units. Yet, these are kept together
by unspoken tensions that make them attract and repulse one another,
just like it would happen in the game of love. The oil sapiently flows in
veils of color that generate erotism but never sexuality. The ambiguity
of Marta Sforni is that of a painter who’s the product of a complex
education as well as complex encounters, pain and joy.
It would be too easy to understand and claim that Marta Sforni knows how
to paint in a wise way. Marta Sforni thrives when pleasure and pain are
one thing, just like the calm sea that hides currents and oftentimes
whirlpools of the spirit and senses that leave no way out.
Milan 15th September 2022
an installation in progress
opening 23 September, 2022
Judi Harvest, Tristano di Robilant, Maria Grazia Rosin, Marta Sforni
Beatrice Burati Anderson Gallery, Venice
22 May - 15 July, 2022
curated by Maria Luisa Trevisan
Art Factory, Venice
MY FRAGILITY, MY STRENGTH
4 September - 20 October, 2021
Nataliya Chernakova, Marta Sforni
Beatrice Burati Anderson Gallery, Venice
The title BALAGAN refers to a Hebrew term whose meaning is disorder, chaos. As the writer Amos Oz recounts, balagan "derives from the Persian, and has its root in the term balaqan, 'back terrace', in which useless rags were thrown in absolute disorder". For this edition of the Venice Glass Week, the painter Marta Sforni wants to highlight the secret, unordered and amorphous nature of a material like glass. This, in fact, unlike the majority of the other solids, is obtained through the solidification of a liquid not accompanied by the crystallization phase. Therefore, glass does not have an ordered crystal lattice,
but a disordered and rigid structure that presents interstices and impurities. The artist, always fascinated by the theory of chaos, goes in search of those repetitions and similarities, of those patterns found in the apparent confusion of things that at first glance seem entirely random and unpredictable. Through her works she wants to investigate the subtle relationships between simplicity and complexity, order and disorder. She aims to bridge daily experience with the laws that regulate nature and history, giving shape to things as we know them.
The paintings on display show us precious fragments of glass arranged without an intelligible order, scattered in bulk. These are shreds of objects whose raison d'être is hidden in the meanders of time
and whose sense has now been lost. The artist, however, invites us to look more carefully and to try to detect the traces of profound meaning, what remains of a complex structure. Slowly the memory
of an opulent and illusory past emerges, the richness, the pomp, and the decadence of an ancient city. Marta Sforni tells us about how Venice was through its most fragile, clear, and dark matter.
The memory of this same place in another time which manifests itself in the form of fleeting intuitions: colored splinters, light reflections, and delicate transparent surfaces.
9 - 26 May, 2019
curated by Claudio Ruggeri
Silos Art Inside, Venice
21 September - 10 November, 2018
Romain Bernini, Liselotte Höhs, Nick Hornby, Genti Korini, Marcelo Moscheta,
Riccardo Crespi gallery presents DAVANTI (IN FRONT) the second solo show by the Italian artist Marta Sforni at the gallery.
Marta Sforni's works take their cues from the history of decorations and
of Applied Arts to land to abstraction, through a careful study of the detail.
Mirror theme is the focus of the recent production of the artist using it as point of departure for a meditation on the pair reflex and reflection, observer and observed, and recalling the tradition of the western allegorical painting.
On show, small paintings oil on canvas and a series from the new corpus of works entitled Mirror Green, exactly, depicting limited portions of great mirrors, richly framed: a volute, a curl, a delicate ornament that interpose between the spectator and the endless space in the mirror, already on the shoulders, a vision of the future that cannot disregards
the look on the past.
27 November 2015 – 16 January 2016
Giulia Andreani, Romain Bernini, Nathalie du Pasquier, Cristiano Menchini, Roee Rosen, Marta Sforni, Caterina Silva, Veronica Smirnoff,
Sinta Tantra and Gal Weinstein
Galleria Riccardo Crespi, Milan
24 May - 30 June 2014
Elisa Rossi - Marta Sforni - Ivan de Menis - Lorenzo Perrone
Morotti Arte Contemporanea, Varese
ARE – Artistic Research Encounters
curated by Dr. Lily Khositashvii
Alter Garnisonfriedhof, Berlin
15 November – 21 December 2013
curated by Gabi Scardi
Galleria Riccardo Crespi, Milan
The journey of Sforni is a journey through time, in a deeply embedded memory; in a past whose opulence has proved dramatically illusory and of which today, in a stage of overt instability, emerge the fragments, but we do not grasp the meaning.
In a series of variations on the theme, the forms disintegrate further; missing links, missing contexts. The foundation from which the elements emerge is always darker and the atmosphere is more subdued and introverted; while the application of several layers of glazes express a reality filtered by time.
Through his archives of decorative form, Sforni speaks of an extinct balance, absence and presence, and enacts a condition of isolation in this polycentric. Of course, it is the chronicle of a crisis; but it is also a new order in which past elements are reduced, finally devoid of constraints and hierarchies, they are projected in many ways giving rise to different views: broken down, unstructured, seemingly repetitive, actually impermanent, ever new and
ever-evolving. The sense of an endless perfection has given way to the multiplication and a new compositional freedom.
The motive of the mirror emerges among the others. The use of this device,
so full of meaning in traditional painting, introduces the major themes of reflection, the filtered and elusive nature of the image, of the reflection of the artist in relation to their position in the world. Dense themes, processed in a game of continuous cross-references.
Eröffnung: 07. Dezember 2012
Raum für Neue Kunst, Zürich
31 Maggio – 27 Luglio 2012
Sofia Cacciapaglia, Ludovica Gioscia, Marta Sforni,
Testo critico di Micol Di Veroli
Galleria Riccardo Crespi, Milan
December 17th - January 30th, 2010
Il Canneto Editore, Genova
October 10th - November 14th, 2008
curated by Valerio Dehò
Galleria Michela Rizzo
Project Room, Venice
“Carefree” – with no worries or preoccupations – this is the palace designed and built by Frederick II of Prussia at Potsdam, near Berlin. It is a symbol of the “international rococo” style and
one of the places where Europe recognizes itself best. How come, then, that a contemporary artist who focuses on history and changing perceptions sets up an exhibit today based on an 18th century
palace and its cycle of decorations?
Marta Sforni has always been interested in the concept of decoration, which underlies so much of Western culture in particular. Beyond – or, better, within – our major works of art and architecture is an extraordinary world that is often not fully appreciated, or even detected, as if “repressed” from the history of art, just an epiphenomenon. Décor, however, is fundamental: it gives shape and regularity to everything around it, but quite possibly it is this functional role that has tended to mask its beauty, its strength and symbolic meaning. Marta Sforni wants to bring back the meaning of baroque and rococo decoration, through close analysis and blowing up, so it casts its reflection on our world today. Her focus is on the 18th century when, more than any other time, form became purposely sumptuous, with sumptuous voluptuousness – a sort of spirituality that has come to the end of its strength, a terminus that leads to…who knows what?
Sforni has worked on glass, on Murano lamps, that extraordinary material that light breaks down and crosses but that still remains compact and intact, feather-weight like the light itself. With
sinuous curves, décor becoming the very structure of the object, and an exuberant excess of entwined lines, painting itself often becomes design.
The artist’s mental mechanism is drawn magnetically towards the void.
Possibly the play of curves and lines makes what is not there seem real, the agitated shapes creating form. Marta Sforni shows us the immaterial basis of contrasts and movements, how these decorations embrace nothing, but nevertheless give it substance and intensity. Her ink sketches bring to the surface decorative motives relieved of their direct function, placing them completely out of context. They are no longer what they were intended for, and become a sort of rectified ready-made, to paraphrase Duchamps. They are no longer what they were meant to be because the artist has recreated them, giving them new, closely simultaneous names.
These works no longer have a diachronic relationship with what they once were and what we have already seen – they are totally of the present. They are independent because the thought behind them and the hand that constructed them make them altogether contemporary, dialoguing with the past but not citing it, just evoking it like ghosts. This is consciousness surfacing. They never turn into other patterns and regularities, but slot easily into a metaphorical, metaphysical space.
It is easy to see why black and white predominate, not just because color distracts from the search for an analytical, essential image, but also because it would be an unexpected apparition. Marta Sforni achieves a surprising effect that is familiar in baroque art but that she manages to line up with the paradigms of contemporary minimalism. Black and white are the basics of writing, and these motifs, with their total lack of any naturalistic reference, seem like visual texts awaiting a universal reference language.
However, we must mainly read them “transcendentally”, their meaning
evoked by the script-like signs that give nothing away. The artist builds up and recounts an open liturgy of in/existence. The void represents some far-off condition where art evokes existence with the utmost discipline. Silence is therefore its natural “pendant”. The aim, in the canvases and the more rarified and synthetic paper works, is not actually to show anything, but more to evoke it through a difference. Emptiness and silence cannot be represented in painting, but are often expressed in monochrome terms; Rothko and Rheinardt are prime American interpreters. Marta Sforni’s work gives pause for thought, meditation coming as spontaneously as a wish, but the pathway is different, setting aside every process of representation, or even simply analogy.
The musical figure might be counterpoint, a typical baroque trick where what you see signifies what you cannot see. This painting too can put you into a state of suspension, not just in time: Sforni manages to represent a state of mind that is also a “state of the soul”, amplifying the immediate sensation until it becomes permanent. In its synchronicity her art conceptually recalls Philippe Taaffe’s efforts to create a dense, polymorphous abstraction, using age-old, long-abandoned techniques. But unlike the American artist, Marta has never given color absolute value. This is why Sanssouci remains incredibly light, its sole reference to organic forms a transfiguration of tradition into something sublimated and essential. Taaffe’s horror vacui is turned into an amor vacui which is more than simple ostentation of the void: it becomes the protagonist of human and artistic exercise at the limits of silence. The precision of her signs/designs is the perfect organizer for the absence that is evoked by contrast. The decorations are exploded into fragments, and the traces of this mute deflagration try to pick themselves up and reassemble, with the impossibility of history.