Lucy Jochamowitz is a truly unusual artist. Her best known works, those in the form of mixed installations consisting of female figures resembling dolls or puppets, embellished with huge "skirts" of very various forms and materials, leave the spectator with really extraordinary feelings of surprise, emotion and admiration. Surprise, because the artist's iconography is presented in a manner that is absolutely original while leaving in our memory the pleasure of searching out its possible sources. Emotion, because her works affect us by their affective and sometimes even anguishing impact. Admiration, because the techniques and materials employed are the fruit of manual virtuosity rarely to be found in the world of contemporary art. The works presented in this catalogue fully confirm the impression which Jochamowitz gave me right from the start. We naturally still see a number of those extraordinary "skirts", such as the wonderful boat-skirt and above all the huge skirt composed of almost vitrified red branches. But there are many other pieces that reveal as never before the artist's symbolic universe. Meanwhile, we may note that a number of motifs return almost obsessively – and fruitfully – such as that of ramification in strong, resolute colours, that of female puppet figures that occasionally appear also with masculine, or at any rate ambiguous, features, and finally those motifs arising from the natural origins of certain images, such as wood, tree-trunks and other environmental details.

In this way we begin to acquire a better understanding of the impressions I mentioned above. The surprise undoubtedly springs from the fact that everything appears extraordinarily new, while at the same time being drawn from a remote or maybe even universal cultural history, absolutely anthropologicalin kind. Innovation and popular tradition, in fact, are perfectly blended, so that we can never tell exactly which part is the novelty and which the cultural reminiscence. The emotion may well be caused by Jochamowitz's remarkable ability to mingle features according to their passional nature, such as strong colours or nervous intricate lines, and static and stable (sometimes inexpressive) elements, such as light or tenuous colours, inanimate and immobile figures, and so on. And admiration is all the greater when we look at the details to see how the works are actually made, and we perceive the precision, the sheer physical labour, the virtuosity involved in their making.

Omar Calabrese