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Carte Segrete, Spazio Arte Bejaflor, Portogruaro (IT)

Carte Segrete, Spazio Arte Bejaflor, Portogruaro (IT)

Spazio Arte Bejaflor
Viale Udine 43, 30026 Portogruaro (VE) – Italy
December 22, 2018 – February 15, 2019
Curated by Roberto Davide Valerio

Perhaps art begins with the animal, at least with the animal that carves out a territory and constructs a house (both are correlative, or even one and the same, in what is called a habitat). (Deleuze and Guattari, What is Philosophy? 183).

At the closing of the year that marked the centennial of the end of WW1, the iconic scene of the “Christmas truce” comes to mind. Several version of the story have been told numerous times, but the message is consistent: soldiers from opposite camps in Europe stopped fighting around Christmas time in 1914, and temporarily came together peacefully in the no-man’s land between the trenches and the militarized territories.

Carte Segrete refers in many oblique ways to this “no-man’s land”, understood as a metaphor for a space “in between” clearly demarcated spaces, a space of freedom and experimentation, where traditional definitions of boundary do not apply. It is also understood as the real space that these artists traversed to come together in this collective project: Silvia Lepore, Simonetta Moro, Aga Ousseinov, and Davide Raffin joined from the two sides of the Atlantic to give place to an artistic encounter, based on a common interest for visual representations that deal with the territory, the map, and the imaginary relations between the two. The Italian word “carte” (plural of “carta”) that follows the adjective “segrete” (secret), intentionally lingers on the ambiguous meaning that simultaneously signifies “papers”, “maps”, “documents”, “declarations”, “sheets”, etc., conveying multiple associations both material and symbolic.

The Mystical Maps of Silvia Lepore invite us to enter and meander in a multitude of improbable trajectories that expand on the surface of the gauze that she uses as painting support. They allude to meditative paths where the gaze gets lost and intercepts – by way of reflection – the most secret maps hidden in the landscapes of the soul. The texture itself of the gauze functions as a crossroad, as a chart to be followed by a mystical wanderer. These maps are invitations to move ‘beyond’, between stains, signs, rarefied or partly defined forms, full and empty areas that allude to the tangible and at the same time imponderable dimension of the lived landscape. It won’t be lost on the viewer that the gauze is also a medical material, evoking wounds and bandages – another possible reference to the effects of war.

In Simonetta Moro’s Grand Delusions: Theatres of War, the bird’s eye view becomes a cartographic representation not only of places, but historical events as well. These reconstructed “Theatres of War” show composite scenarios from different world-wide fronts, often referencing artistic styles of avant-garde movement involved in WW1 (such as Futurism, through the homage to three artists that died during the conflict: Boccioni, Erba, Sant’Elia). The “Panorama Machine-Box”, designed on the model of scrolling devices pilots used to view maps on the cockpit of their planes, automatically scrolls back and forth a roll of paper that shows a “secret garden”, an idealized setting where the liminal zone between the artificial and the natural is explored through the act of drawing on site with ink on paper.

Aga Ousseinov’s Celestographies appear as constellations at once referencing the world seen from the air and the imagined cosmos behind the clouds. The works consist of a series of drawings, collages and constructed photo images where Ousseinov’s own sculptures often figure as the subject of his compositions, in an ironic operation where self-reference meets art historical and astrological citations. These compositions allow the artist to pursue his investigations beyond the limits imposed by fabrication, and to construct models for personal ‘utopias’ located between individual and cultural narratives. Ousseinov’s work suggests two self-conscious and conflicting visions of the world: one that is rational and technological and another that is poetic, imaginary, and emotional.

Davide Raffin’s dream-like Nautical Charts reveal faces, human figures, eyes, and mouths as if they were coastal edges and islands to be encountered along a journey through life. The nails and threads that superimpose the painted surfaces are traces of the journey. They are born out of the necessity to find a third dimension, and the intention to construct the image as if it were an architecture. The threads are the structure that supports and substantiates the composition, highlighting the symmetry, alignments, and divisions in parts that further decompose the figure already fragmented.

Finally, a collective piece in the tradition of the Surrealist “Exquisite Corpse” represents all four artists’ styles and subject matters coming together in an amusing game of blind drawing: each artist was given only the measurements of the extremes of the other artists’ works, so that the overall composition is the result of the chance association of the four works assembled at the gallery for the first time. In a way, the “Exquisit Corpse” becomes a poignant metaphor of the atomization and fragmentation that war and less literal disruptions bring into our lives, and the ways in which we can recompose the fragments and come together in the no-man’s land, the in-between territory, or the open space that art provides.


Silvia Lepore, after graduating from Istituto d’Arte “Sello” in Udine, received a degree in painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice, Italy. For the last ten years she has been curating Libri di versi (an exhibition of artist books) for the Cultural Association Porto dei Benandanti in Portogruaro. She has exhibited in Italy and abroad: 1° Biennale Fiber Art Spoleto (2018); SBLU 3° Festival of book art and design, Biblioteca Braidese Brera, Milan (2018); 8th Artist’s Book Vilnius, Lithuania (2018); Rearte Gallery Vienna, Austria (2018); Valentina Bonomo, Roma (2018); International Graphic Art School, Venice (2017); Biblioteca Civica Pordenone (solo, 2017); Biblioteca Statale Isontina Gorizia (solo, 2017); Punt WG Amsterdam (solo, 2010).

Simonetta Moro, born in Portogruaro, Italy, graduated in Fine Art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice and Bologna, received a Master in European Fine Arts at Winchester School of Art (UK), and a PhD in Fine Arts at University of Central Lancashire (UK). Exhibitions include the American Academy in Rome (2000), Harris Museum Preston, UK (solo, 2003), Clara Hatton Gallery, Colorado (solo, 2011), Fortezza Medicea, Siena (2018), and upcoming solo exhibition at Galleria del Carbone, Ferrara (2019). Moro lives in New York City (USA) and is the Director of the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts (IDSVA).

Aga Ousseinov was born in Baku (USSR); he graduated with a MFA in Sculpture from Surikov Fine Art Institute in 1986, and studied at ICP New York in 1992-1993. He has been living and working in New York City (USA) since 1991. Solo and group exhibitions include: Bucharest Biennale (2018); HERMES of Paris; 54th Venice Biennale (2011); Christopher Henry Gallery/NYC; PEACOCK Visual Arts, Aberdeen, Scotland; Brucennial/NYC; AIGA Philadelphia Space; BRAC/NYC; MAXXI in Rome; Gavin Brown@Passerby in NYC; Politecnico di Milano; Steven Kasher Gallery/NYC; Spazio Tadini in Milan and others.

Davide Raffin, a multi-media artist, architect, designer and illustrator, studied in Udine and at the International School Zavřel of Sarmede. He exhibited at MAXXI, Roma (2013), at Palazzo d’Aronco in Udine, in Pordenone “Paesaggi Urbani” (2014) and “Di segni e di sogni” (2015). In 2016 he painted the mural “Acqua è vita” in Treviso and illustrated together with G. Pacheco “Fiabe dalla Terra d’Armenia”, published by Aurelia. In 2018 he won the Prize ArteFieraDolomiti and had a solo show in the KunstHaus Weiz in Austria, and more recently at Villa Quaglia in Treviso.

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Submitted on: 28 Feb 19


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