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The Tell-Tale Soul

The Anima series

The issue of the soul is rarely debated. The contemporaneity seems to have given more importance to the body, while philosophy, theology, psychology and jurisprudence tend to reduce the topic within the limits of its own reference environment. Laura Bossi in her Histoire naturelle de l’âme talks of “eclipse of the soul.”

Borrowing the title from the Aristotle’s De Anima, the series is a sort of a journey around the soul and the forms through which it comes across. I remember I was really moved after reading this book. It takes always a long time before the things we see act on us. The soul is what distinguishes living beings from the non-living world. To the philosopher “The soul is in a way all existing things” (III.431b.22), but the permutations of living beings are unique and uncountable. I started developing the theme thinking about the expressive power of these manifestations. I asked myself whether art wasn’t more than a reflection of this discretion. From a certain point of view, the colours shown with such self-assurance by the bird of paradise and the soap bubble of Chardin can be seen as expressions of a common communicative power transverse to the tree of life.

Every discipline, which challenged the issue directly or indirectly, has produced a large documentation: I think that the monkeys by Buffon and La Specola’s wax Venuses are equally full of fascination, a magnetic resonance as the Galenus’ pneuma. Given the multitude of materials, I developed the theme through an essential system of references and mind associations. I preferred restricting the research on the content and message, developing subjects able to create an organic structure. The attempt to turn the relation between the single pieces and the series into an overall drawing, helped me to work on the deep affinity between the soul and the image. I tried to strengthen these analogies through linear and clear shapes and a thin and flexible painting. I limited colours and replaced reds with greens, privileging clean chromatic variations so as to return an empty and see-through image. LR