Curated by Efisio Carbone
From 24 November to 12 January 2019
Opening: Saturday 24 November 2018 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Nature is the protagonist of the latest works by Lalla Lassu (Cagliari, 1953) which will be presented in Venice for the first time in the solo show Lalla Lassu, curated by Efisio Carbone. With this show the Galleria Massimodeluca begins its collaboration with this Sardinian artist (from 24 November to 12 January 2019; opening Saturday 24 November 2018 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.).
Lalla Lassu is an artist who leads her consummate knowledge of colour, painting, and technique towards a study of the essence of material: light. In the words of Elfisio Carbone, “Already in the most expressionist painterly impastos of her past work, the colour range was suddenly lightened by chromatic gleams, passages of hope within worlds that at time are dramatic. But the pure and absolute light that slides over the white, undulating surfaces of Castellani, who Lalla Lassu knew and frequented during her university studies, the same blinding light that invades the clear skies of Sardinia, she finds in the difficult technique of watercolour. She was captivated by it and studied it by drowning cotton paper, she reduced it to fragments, set fire to it, enclosed it in air bubbles, clumps of earth, lush fields, and the bark of trees”.
The artist began to work on her linen canvases, titled Cortecce, in 2012, a long and thoughtful project that has needed pauses for settling and reflection; in it the scents and colours of the earth and sea become spaces for memory and dreams: patiently pleated fabrics that narrate time in the same way as the rings indicating the growth of tree trunks, and that show delicate impastos of colour as well as the force of a prickly and scratchy textile.
The curator Carbone continues, “The idea of making a copse of canvases finds unusual strength in the ambiguous nature of the subject itself, interpreted through the double vision of a benevolent mother and an unkind stepmother. Places of legends, or ancestral fears, of inspiration - all indispensible for the life of humanity - of immense time: today forests reveal all their fragility and the precarious balance in which they find themselves. But a copse is also a grand metaphor for recounting the loss of the self, the travails that life submits itself to with all its difficulties”.
Even though we are dealing with works on fabric, the Cortecce pieces are to be interpreted as genuine “unarmed” canvases. The colours and forms have been chosen and juxtaposed with consummate experience so as to obtain a precise character, and they give a life to trees that are all different, each one with its own personality. They speak, they invite, they repel. They tell of an artist with great spiritual strength, but also of a great knowledge of art history: “The atmospheric brilliance of Giorgione and Titian, the poetry of Corot, the dense greens of Courbet, the sinister moods of Friedrich, the beech of Klimt, the brushstrokes of Van Gogh, the geometries of Cézanne, up to the expressionist and abstract world of liberated painting.”
Over time the project has been enlarged by important variations on its theme, amongst which the series of Alpegiani works, the Bianchi per Bianchi, and the extraordinary Carte, all series represented in this show.
Lalla Lassu was born in Cagliari the city where she still lives and works and where she gained her degree in contemporary art history.
In 1971 she followed a painting course at the Internatìonale Sommerarakademìe fur Bildende Künst in Salzburg under the direction of the artist Heinz Trökes, and again in 1989 under the artist Jörg Immendorf.
From 1982 to 1984 she followed the engraving course at the Urbino Fine Art Academy and, in 1997/1998, the advanced etching course held by the Flemish artist Enk de Kramer.
After her first solo show in 1977 she began to measure her work against that of other young artists, and took part in such exhibitions as the 1981 Premio San Fedele e Quadri Giovani, in Milan, Territorialità dell’arte in Palermo. After 1982 she took part in the exhibition programme proposed by the gallery dealer Sandra Piras in her historical premises Chironi 88 in Nuoro, a show titled Istanze Contemporanee. In the 1980s and 1990s she became fascinated by a kind of painting that she herself has described as “abstract but not too much”. The subjects ranged from sea beds populated by fish to the earth, from the abyss to roots, living beings, flowers, trees, petals, leaves, tree trunks and leafy branches.
After her participation in the 2003 show titled Sardae Patronus Insulae Sublimis Inter Martires, she turned her complete attention to the use of watercolour and to the possibilities of new experimentation. With regard to this, mention should be made of the 2005 show Duetto d’Artista at the ExMà museum in Cagliari, with the intriguing subtitle of RA MA DU RA, and her participation in the show organised by the “May Ray” cultural association.
From 2009 to 2012 she took part in a series of group shows where her employment of watercolour technique became increasingly experimental, as she gave more attention to an involvement of space and the eye. In 2011, in the solo show I fiori sbocciano… presto raggiungerò il bosco, presented by the art historian Marisa Frongia, she created a site-specific installation with paper and watercolours devoted to the vegetable world.
Recently she has collaborated with artists and architects on the recuperation of various urban areas of the city of Cagliari. Between 2009 and 2012 she took part in the new design shows SiediTi, Contenitori alT and TVB, with three-dimensional works created from hand-knitted wool.
From 2014 to 2017 she took part in various projects, undertaken in various areas of Sardinia, devoted to nourishing the mind and that developed into the shows: Pagine di Pane, Dal Seme al Pane, Pane al Pane.
In the same period she took part in the planning and realisation of three artist’s books, one of which, Senza Parole 2016, has been published in the catalogue of the B&B Italia Home n. 13.
From 2012 until today the artist has been working on canvases of natural linen, with pleated, hand-painted fabrics; her tireless research into the relationships between art and nature, as seen in these works, has found its ideal and spiritual world in the show Cortecce.
In 2012 the artist began to work on canvases made from untreated linen, a fabric that she pleated and painted by hand, and in which her tireless research into the links between art and nature met up with her ideal and spiritual world.