Most of Claudia Losi's projects spring from an encounter with a place that slowly takes form as a work of art, be it an embroidery, a sculpture or an installation. This process is the theme of the first anthological exhibition dedicated to the Italian artist created together with a. titolo and Alberto Salvadori.
The exhibition, in the crypt of the Florentine museum, was conceived in a close relationship with the site and created as a story through images that can flank and intertwine the several themes and topics which have comprised the artist's research and studies from 1995 to the present.
The exhibit showcases a selection of twenty pieces documenting the main themes of Claudia Losi's research: geography with creations on maps and her own knowledge of the field in the sense of a complex and ongoing relationship with open spaces and the component parts, from natural elements to fauna, from changes in the landscape to the community that lives there. These aspects find two beginnings in the elegances of the series entitled Tavole vegetali [plant plates] (1995), different types of lichens embroidered on fabric, and in the luminosity of the elements which comprise the Celacanti series (2006, Unicredit Group Collection): embroideries and designs on quilted fabrics, imaginary landscapes in which the stylized contours of these living fossils swim about observed by male and female figures in different perspective angles. These projects all testify to the heterogeneity of the artist's studies and provide the basis for developing different and highly articulated approaches.
The exhibit also features nearly six years of work following the whale's travels, that led to many encounters and different types of cooperative efforts. Through this journey, with the skills of communities of women, ceramists and video-makers, the artist created, a "wealth of feeling” that now comprises an important part of the Balenaproject: eight documentaries record the real journey of an object from the imagination; Mukat (2008), 15 white ceramics replicating parts of the whale, made by the artist and Emilio Romano, items created specifically for the "stopover" in Florence and a colorful rug made of 300 little woolen whales stitched together by two communities of women, at Guamote and Pungui, villages situated at an altitude of over 4000 meters above sea level in Chimboraza province, Ecuador
In Claudia Losi's work "what is not immediately noticeable" is another central element that the curators have wanted to use as the main theme of the setting that is meant to be an unusual dialogue between the artworks and the architecture. It can be compared to a maze in which the works of art come across as temporary revelations of memories and places; stories which, set in the inspiring museum, are enriched by more and unexpected images.
A long, long time ago whales swam between the Apennines, in a sea that has been replaced by the sky. These are Claudia Losi's words for explaining how the idea for her whale was born. Made of wool fabrics, in the shape and size of the Mediterranean Balena Physalus (23 meters long) the whale was sewn at the Lanifici Botto e Boglietti amidst the Biella hills in Piemonte. Just like an ancient marvel, it draws ideas, looks and gestures, and it triggers stories and brings back memories especially when it is displayed far from the sea.
The idea for the project dates from 2002 and the historical knowledge of the whales that swam among the Apennines millions of years ago. In the 1970s this image was reproposed when a real whale, preserved in formaldehyde was taken to several Italian cities and exhibited in a circus tend. Starting from these images and memories the artist created a model of a Balaenoptera physalus, also called fin whale, the biggest and swiftest cetacean in the Mediterranean.
Since 2002, the Balenaproject has traveled around the world, going as far as Ecuador. In each place it has found a community that welcomed it and added new visions to its story.
Until 5 July the body of the whale will be in the cloister of the Museo Marino Marini; it will be the focus of a performance (date to be defined) created by the Compagnia Kinkaleri and, on May 29, an evening of readings, memoirs and stories by Paolo Rumiz and the actress Roberta Biagiarelli.
The Balenaproject's next stop, after Florence, will be the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham.
Claudia Losi was born in Piacenza in 1971. She graduated from the Accademia di Belle Arti in Bologna and in 1998 received a degree in Foreign Languages and Literature from the University of Bologna. In the summer of 1998 she was selected for the Advanced Course in Visual Arts at the Fondazione Antonio Ratti in Como where she took a workshop with Hamish Fulton. Her works have been exhibited in several places in Italy and abroad: the most recent shows include Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK; Monica De Cardenas, Milan; MACC de Guayaquil e Cento Cultural, Universidad Católica de Quito, Ecuador; Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Spazio Aperto, Bologna; Galleria Lindig in Paludetto; Nürnberg, Germany; Spazio Mobile, Rocca Sforzesca, Imola; Galleria Primo Piano, Rome; Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Washington, D.C., USA; Placentia Arte, Piacenza; Hamish Fulton, Parco di Arte Ambientale La Marrana di Grazia e Gianni Bolongaro, Montemarcello, Ameglia (SP).