Justification for things to float
The massive presence of images produced by drones, algorithms, and computer graphics techniques, added to the intensity of immersive experiences in virtual realities, has posed new problems and challenges to painting. Faced with the circulation restrictions resulting from the pandemic, the transformations in the nature of visuality and Spatio-temporal experience have intensified.
It was immersed in this context that Alice Ricci created the set of paintings presented here. Re-signifying the concept of traveling artist, one whose production is intrinsically connected to the act of moving, the artist incorporates to her gaze the 360-degree looking of google street views. It is as a cyborg-traveling artist that she
travels through the virtualized streets of countless cities around the world and captures scenes from sims, spaces created in Second Life from the mimicking of elements that constitute material reality.
From these experiences, Alice establishes a frank dialogue with the tradition of landscape painting, its regimes of visuality, and modes of representation. Abandoning the space-time relationship, refusing the links between representation and veracity, the artist breaks with the paradigm of visuality and the spatial structure given by linear perspective. In Alice's paintings, the refusal of the stable horizon places us before a landscape in suspension, as if floating in space.
Unlike the documentary vocation of landscape paintings, the scenes of the incursions that the cyborg-traveler-artist made in the virtualized world of google street view and the mimicked world of second life are evoked from fragments. The referent can only be accessed through ambiguous and fragmentary topological evocations - architectural clusters, building gables, antennas, construction cranes, asphalt, power distribution boards, graphic, orthographic, and geometric elements. São Paulo, Hong Kong, Salvador, Nairobi, Santa Fe float, just as in virtual reality, on the same plane.
Likewise, in each of the paintings shown here, two to three fields of colors structure the composition and affect us from precise luminosities and tonal variations. Although contrasting, the emphasis on pastel tones makes the gradations assume a vocation, simultaneously, of distance and proximity to the neighboring tone. It is precisely this tonal becoming that gives unity to the canvas and also makes the light and the dark emerge from a relationship of interdependence (opposition versus continuity) that each color establishes with the other.
It is also from the relationship between soft zones of color and zones of agglutination/dispersion of an architecture in transformation that the artist activates, from the spatial planarity, not a link between figure and background, but between floating fields that summon us to different experiences and displacements.
Considering the importance that electronic music has in the artist's visual thought, the visual amplitude of the color zones, in soft tones, of low saturation and vibration, could be thought of as areas of silence. The retreat, the step back, the distancing is the best way to relate to the warmth of its unity. Floating alongside the sobriety of
chromatic static, the accelerated rhythm of contemporary life. The architectural zones, spaces of density, acceleration, and cacophony that demand an approximation, a longer gaze for a better apprehension of the dynamics of its constitutive elements.
Another procedure related to the dynamics of the gaze and recurrent in all the paintings presented here is the use of fluorescent yellow. This color is activated, simultaneously, as a resource of opacity, through an intensification of luminosity that interdicts the vision, and, in the opposite sense, as an element of exacerbated luminosity that attracts and conducts our gaze. Through the repetition of this color, the artist triggers an instigating game of making certain compositional relations visible/opaque and reinforces the unity of the set shown here.
Once Renaissance perspective and two-dimensionality are overcome; in the face of the consolidation of visualization models and the omnipresence of images produced by technologies and software, what is the place of painting in contemporary imagery? How can landscape painting and its relationship with representation be thought of in this context? The paintings gathered here not only invite us to reflect on these questions, but each one, in its own way, welcomes, reflects, and takes upon itself the challenge of dealing with the complex spatial constitution of a world constituted from dual, simultaneous, interdependent realities, where notions, relations, and space-time locations are no longer capable of sustaining us, where we are all floating, in free fall.
text by Fabrícia Jordão
[is a curator, researcher, and an Assistant
Professor at the Federal University of Paraná]