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Watching Invisible Things



by Pietro Gaglianò

The world is mostly made by invisible things: the ones the human eye cannot see (smells, sounds, temperature) as well as those hidden under the external surface of reality. That contrasts the supremacy of the sight as the dominant sense we use to act, to make choices, to formulate opinions. So, the winter Laura Pugno explored for many artistic projects becomes a concept a bit subversive: its invisibility is an extension of imagination, something the artist uses (and everybody should use) to meditate in her own position in the world. In wider terms, in Pugno's research emerges a question concerning the perception and the representation of reality (always considering that any place is already influenced by the passage of those who have been there or even those who simply thought about it). Such approach reflects the current debate on the supposed neutrality of universe and on how hard is to observe it in a state of calm, without the influence of the action or of the presence of human beings.

In the works with a common reference to winter, the snow, the mountains Laura Pugno enquires the dimension of sensorial perception, its ambiguity, its internal contradictions and the landscape as an extension of  the knowable ort as a limit. The works solicited by this immersion in the dazzling white of the snow create a passage between the subjective dimension (the way the landscape takes shape through the senses) and the planetary equilibrium.

The works "Moto per luogo" (move through the place) are big size photos printed on aluminum showing mountain landscapes, almost classic as a genre representation. All the photos have been taken by the artist in the same places where she went back to use the printed pictures as little sledges. So the physical space coincided with its own image. The printed surface has been abraded by the weight of the artist on the slab, producing a trace of this new journey in the landscape. The experience of natural spaces implicates its dissipation, which is evident in this works where the body is a factor and a tool of the cancellation of the space. These works are indeed a chronicle of a  stratification including the artist with her travels on the planet, the territories she visited and the painful awareness of the global ecological crisis.

Also the work "A futura memoria" (For Future memory) is dedicated to the global warming and to the possible disappearance of the snow. It is a sculpture made by pouring some jesmonite (a water based acrylic resin) in the snow. The mold looks like a fossil  or like a precious mineral speaking of things no visible anymore.

The interpretation of the world is central in other projects where Laura Pugno tries to avoid the obsession for the visible and to exalt the skills of the touch and the hearing. In "Travel Notebooks" she superimposed pictures of mountains on Braille sheets, then she rubbed with sandpaper. There is again an erosion, a cancellation allowing the appearance of an alternative writing, a critical consideration of the way we read the world. There are  codes we ignore and endless possibility of discovering whole new worlds. But this implicates a displacement, both physical and cognitive tha can start from the choice to "watch with the hands" and to exploit the paradox challenging the regime of visibility: closing the eyes to see. Contextually Pugno acknowledges a tactile dimension in the sight, experimenting even the possibility to touch things (the visible as well as the invisible ones) with the eyes.