To Susanna Orlando GALLERIA, Pietrasanta

[ita | eng]

A Double Sight

To a sensitive and imaginative man who lives as I have done for so long continually feeling and imagining, the world and its objects are in a certain respect double. […] Sad is the life which sees, hears, feels only simple objects, only those objects perceived by the eyes, the ears, and the other senses.

(Giacomo Leopardi, Zibaldone, 30 november 1828)

The verb "to imagine" derives from the Latin word "imago," which means image, picture, but also apparition, vision, dream, allegory, hallucination. Plato is one of the first philosophers who tackled the concept of imagination: in his dialogue Theaetetus, he defines it as an indispensable activity generated by the contact with real things that subsequently becomes an autonomous creative activity that only humans are capable of, as he underlines its creative power and positive repercussions on reality.

Recent neuroscientific studies on the brain demonstrate not only that imagination is a vital function of the way we see things and of the way we extract meaning from life but also that it is a determining factor in the achievement of our objectives: our imaginative activity on its own endows us with the possibility to activate subconscious neural processes that will guide our actions and our behavior towards our established goals. So exercising our imaginative ability is thus a primary need, a warning that drives us towards the realization of our dreams and elevates our spirit beyond what is ordinary, this way singling us out from the rest of the animal world. The title of Lucy Jochamowitz's exhibit – mirar OLTRE, to look beyond – also sounds like a warning, like a wonderful call to our duty and to our imaginative responsibilities.

mirar OLTRE is an invitation to look beyond the ordinary reality of things, beyond the physical world that we experience through our senses. It's an invitation to exercise a "double sight" enabling us to see and, at the same time, also imagine. A new way of looking, capable of seizing whatever is elsewhere. This "second sight" is precisely what led Peruvian artist Lucy Jochamowitz to open a window on her inner world in order to give way to an extremely delicate introspective gaze, which has enabled her to bring to the surface the purest outcome of her meandering. Her gaze is rooted in the Andean culture, which ancient Peruvians developed over a span of more than 10.000 years thanks to the interaction between intuition, logic and imagination. The central role of the imaginative dimension is precisely what led these peoples to turn the majestic Andes mountain chain into a favored astronomic observatory for elaborating a sacred geometry capable of mapping constellations and even a mathematical system for explaining the laws of nature.

The outcome of Lucy Jochamowitz's imagining is intimately collected in the gallery – a place that safeguards, much as a treasure chest, 30 precious works on paper. A sequence of delicate drawings linked by a leitmotif, a necklace made of eyes, of gazes oriented elsewhere, towards the free flow of imagination. In these works the artist's inner world blends with the symbolic universe of her cultural background: a world featuring a primitive, ancestral matrix, where fables and myths coexist with the rituals of everyday life. Paths that intertwine like threads and then take different directions, wefts full of knots that abruptly turn back, arrangements that are similar to constellations – they all flow on paper. Even though Lucy Jochamowitz's cosmopolitan nature – she moved to Florence when she was just over 20 - has enrichened her artistic research, she pursues it between sculpting and drawing on paper without ever losing sight of the South American culture and of its matrix: the bond with the earth as a vital element, as lymph providing nourishment.

So the exhibition space becomes a metaphysical space inside which these two worlds come together. An intimate, almost domestic place where observers are invited to touch things with their eyes, to employ a sort of "tactile voyeurism" aimed at indulging in details without necessarily focusing on the whole; they're invited to lose themselves while letting their senses feel their way around, without a destination, and later find themselves once more. So imagining becomes an act free of sensory boundaries, a synesthetic dimension engaging all of one's senses. Seeing with your eyes feels like touching something with your hands: this mingling of the senses is also described by Garcìa Lorca in the poem Rìo Azul, where the poet describes the expanse of water sprawling in front of him as "a pupil's infinite outstretched arm." Much as a prolongment of sight, Lucy Jochamowitz's central sculpture, which features red branches descending from the top and intertwining like blood vessels, establishes a connection with the drawings surrounding it, suggesting a circular motion resembling the way imagination wanders – a perpetual motion with no beginning and no end.

My friends and the gallery's regular visitors often ask me: "Where do you find the artists whom you choose to host? How do you select them?" The answer is simple and it's always the same: I meet their works.

So one day, a few years ago, while I was wandering around the house of Florentine architect Adolfo Natalini, my gaze was attracted by a sculpture about 30 centimeters tall portraying a woman's bust covered with small red branches that looked like coral but were actually more similar to thorns. The sculpture had been placed on top of a piece of designer furniture, under a glass case. It looked like the figure of a Saint. I decided I wanted to meet Lucy, a Peruvian artist with a complex last name: Jochamowitz.

Lateron, I visited Lucy Jochamowitz's studio, which is located among the narrow streets near the Santa Maria Novella station. One day, Lucy opened a drawer and with a slow and measured gesture pulled out a small package: she placed it on the table, moving a few beautiful drawings. She opened it with a knowing gesture and motioned me towards her. I saw the first drawing and thought: "This will be my next exhibit." This is how mirar OLTRE was born.

Pietrasanta, June 6th, 2018

Beatrice Audrito