Caterina Nelli

Dittico I, 2010, Förgetmenöt, 207 hand prints on baryta b/w paper, 153x194 cm
Dittico II, 2011, Cosmo, hand print on baryta b/w paper, 56x37.5 cm

“Time is indispensable to man, so that, by becoming flesh, he can realize himself as a person…. Time is a state. It is the flame inside which lives the salamander of man’s soul.”
(Andrej Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time)

Tarkovsky’s definition of ontological, as opposed to linear or historic, time, provides us with a key to understanding Caterina Nelli’s quest, in which time is a living material for her own art. Her photographs, paintings and installations indeed condense and reshape time, giving it an immanent rather than a contingent density. In her series entitled La Resa (2006), the artist portrays herself in various poses, waving a white flag that symbolizes surrender to the overdetermination of events, as though, by so doing, she could free up time. The use of a stenopeic camera to take portraits of young friends Long Portraits (2007) implies very long exposures, causing sedimentation of the subjects’ individual time, as if to capture their personality more profoundly. In Caterina Nelli’s work, the various subjects take on a similar value, revealing and creating a striking proximity to artist and viewer. An example of this is provided by the stenopeic photographs of BIT (2006) that depict obsolete machinery, or those of a work in progress, Nature Recordings (2009), in which a few views of natural settings render both the gaze and the physical experience of those who have been there.

Her paintings are also the fruit of temporal sedimentation. For the most part, they are monochromes in which color strata are applied using a palette knife, and lines are then marked with a ruler. In Dittico I (2010) the artist creates a direct dialogue between the two media: on the one hand, a large composition of “automatic” nocturnal snapshots, taken over the course of three years without looking through the lens and printed on glazed and worn barium paper (Forgetmenot), on the other, a painting made during the same period (EuroFun II), in which the irregular application of colors thwarts the attempt to regulate the pictorial surface. The juxtaposition of the two works creates a synthesis between two autonomous yet synergistic expressive media: each becomes the other’s skeleton; together, they trace a single itinerary.

Anna Daneri

Born 1979, Rome.
She lives and works in Rome, Italy.

Solo shows

2007: Long Portraits, Archivio di Stato Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza, Rome, Italy
2006: Bit/La Resa, Fondazione Adriano Olivetti, Rome, Italy
2003: In Progress, Locarno Film Festival, Locarno (CH), Italy

Group shows

2010: Le Danse Macabre, NOMAS Foundation, Rome, Italy
2008: Eppur si muove (And yet it moves), Fondazione Re Rebaudengo, Guarene d’Alba and Fondazione Edoardo Garrone, Palazzo Ducale di Genova, Italy

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