12/04/2023 – 27/05/2023
The journey that brought Sara Rossi to this exhibition deserves to be told.
Sara was born and raised near Trento and attended university in Trieste, where she graduated with a thesis on anthropology and speech philosophy. Only in Leipzig, where she had moved for work, she allowed herself to delve deeper into a propensity for drawing she had always been aware of, beginning to follow evening classes at the academy. This shy opening launched a gradual but inexorable process in which art asked more and more space in her life, until it radically changed its direction. It led her to Düsseldorf and then to Frankfurt, where she attended two of the most prestigious European academies, and finally to Berlin, where she lives.
Her first solo exhibition in Italy, then, isn’t as much the return of an Italian artist living in Germany, as the presentation in Italy of a German painter, whose work indeed finds here few correspondences.
Actually, Sara Rossi’s painting has few similarities elsewhere as well. It’s not easy to place her research among the trends of international contemporary painting, partly because her paintings can be very different from each other. And yet they are unmistakable, because they all share a spontaneous nature that hasn’t been compromised, but rather revealed, by the long academic education.
Sara Rossi’s sincere expressive talent it’s rooted in drawing: an ideal tool to cultivate expressiveness, with which Sara measured herself for a long time before she started painting and which is still an integral part of her production. This aptitude for drawing shows in her paintings too, and animates them from within with a nearly childish curiosity and involvement.
However, what’s most surprising about this “drawn” painting, is its ability to combine a candid and instinctive impulse towards doing with an evident depth and variety of references that add a more reflective vein to it. The paintings that result from this coexistence have a bit of the power that marked the evolutions of modern painting and proved its vitality, and that today’s painting seems to have lost: they manage to challenge our aesthetic conventions. Not in the violent and upsetting way which we are used to, but in a more ambiguous and subtle one.
It is a precious quality, even more surprising if related to paintings as small as Sara Rossi’s ones, which often risk to aestheticize even the most revolutionary achievements of painting history, and instead Sara is able to keep a bit uncomfortable, just off the mark. Her paintings’ gentle, seemingly harmless presence hides an intensity unsuspected at first glance: behind their familiar – at times even anonymous – appearance of modernist paintings, there are traces of the overwhelming spiritual energy that moved historical avant-gardes’ abstraction, before being overcome by an analytical approach that has distorted its perception.
Today, most modernist painting is a recognizable and shared symbol of our idea of art as much as a stereotyped landscape picture. Its language is at everyone’s disposal and is legitimately used in the most disparate ways, although often ignoring its original reasons and attributing to its forms a decorative value that is as far removed as possible from the intentions of its first authors. Sara’s painting seems to fit into this misunderstanding, trying to recreate the necessary conditions for an experience that may be not just aesthetic, but also emotional. This is shown, for example, by her recurring use of gold and the ambiguous effect it infuses in her paintings, which contributes to the singular charm of their poetic. Her gold evokes the mystic gold of art history, and it speaks of its wonder and its evolutions; but inevitably recalls the gold of contemporary culture too, associated instead with a kitschiness that discourages its use in painting.
Sara Rossi, however, doesn’t seem intimidated either by the weight of its historical references or by the inconvenience of her contemporary ones; she faces both without falling into banality or pointless provocation: instead she finds a bizarre and extremely refined balance.