The Opening of Elisabetta Bacci’s Exhibition The Existential Color Perception

Elisabetta Bacci, the Italian artist which Lucida Gallery presents today, was born in Trieste and lived in Venice, London, New York and Genoa. She studied visual arts at the Ligustica di Belle Arti Academy in Genoa and the art history at the Università degli Studi in Trieste. She creates and exhibits in Italy and abroad.

On this occasion, Lucida Gallery presents the works from three Elisabetta Bacci’s cycles – ‘Piers’, ‘Tebah‘ and ‘Fracture’. All works are characterized by an expressive colouring and division of the square image format into two equal horizontally set fields of different colours applied by the visible gestural strokes of the painting brush.

In the artworks of the first cycle ‘Piers’, these painted fields openly alluded to the earth/sea and the sky; in the centre of the image base is a trapezoid (pier) that almost reaches the dividing line of the colour fields, the horizon, but does not touch it; In subsequent works from the cycle ‘Tebah’, horizontally placed dyed surfaces continue to retain allusion to the horizon, although the artist colourably treats these fields as an autonomous set. In the centre of the image, instead of the trapezoid, there is a slightly defocused golden rectangle (Tebah, i.e. Noah’s Ark and the basket in which the mother laid down little Moses and put it in the Nile; in both these references from the Old Testament, “tebah” is a symbol of salvation).

In the latest cycle ‘Fracture’, which at first glance resembles Barnett Newman’s “zip” paintings, the horizontal fields’ colours are not so bright, and on the centre of the canvas, there is a thin vertical line (fracture) extending between the upper and lower edge of the painting.

The basic elements of all the compositions are colour and geometrization, which is reflected in the strict division of the canvas, but also in the presented regular geometric shapes (the equilibrium trapezoid – pier, the rectangle – tebah and the straight line – fracture). Both of these elements force us to explore the deeper conceptual levels of Elisabeth Bacci’s artwork. It is evident that the development of her artistic expression goes towards reducing the surface of the central display, i.e. the focus of the composition, but also towards the intensification of its visual and contemplative effect on the viewer.

Although there is a foothold in Color Field painting, the art of Elisabeth Bacci is much different from this artistic style – she treats the canvas surface as a visual field with a central focus; although she emphasizes the flat surface of the image, she alludes to the horizon, and therefore the depth, or perspective; she includes objects (although extremely reduced) from the real/mythical world. In addition to these formal ones, there is an essential difference between Color Field painting and painting of Elisabetta Bacci – her paintings do not represent an emotional, but an intellectual artistic expression. Her works are not only works of art by themselves, as the artist treats them as parts of the installation of a larger contemplative puzzle, so individual works become mediators, road signs that lead us and direct us to metaphysical experience, pointing us to new spiritual areas.

Grounded on contemplation, one of the Color Field painting’s legacies, the paintings of Elisabetta Bacci represent the places of events of deep, personal introspections – the colour fields are spaces in which we come into contact with something personal and timeless, with a scary feeling of freedom of thought which, in the end, after turbulent spiritual changes, results in stability and balance.

Elisabeth Bacci’s paintings have meditative character, aspiring us inside themselves and inspiring us to think about the fundamental, ontological issues of human existence – who are we, why do we exist, where are we going, what should we strive for, what is our purpose. The mindful horizons of her works, as the landscapes of our inner being, point us to the quest for the absolute, towards the truth that we can never reach, but also to the importance of pursuing on the way of getting closer to it.

Ivona Fregl

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