24 November 2010 - 15 January 2011
Aura Zecchini_Mutazioni fragili Progetto site-specific b.projectroom
Aura Zecchini. Mutazioni fragili
Curated by Angela Madesani
monday / saturday
b.projectroom Galleria Bianconi - Milano
Each work by Aura Zecchini is what remains of a sort of personal complex performance with the tools of her trade – paper, pen, enamel, colour, and India ink, as well as the light that enhances the transparency of her materials. Each work is the result of a whole series of operations, which are the outcome not of some carefully devised original plan, but rather of the ethereality of the moment and, at the same time, of the power of her commitment. Each work thus consists of a series of independent, yet coherent moments, of drawings, overlappings, bondings, and colourings. The outcome is inevitably highly complex, and always unpredictable.
In this exhibition we see works made just recently with flowers and insects. 
In them we find a level of transparency that is accentuated by the frequent use of transparent paper. All this accompanies the eyes towards a more limpid understanding of the sign, taking us on a journey towards purity.
In the exhibition at Galleria Bianconi, we see a series of previously unexhibited works, which reveal a cooling of her palette: “I’ve opened up more to experimentation with matter in order to create a connective fabric that accommodates the composition. It’s a sort of winter agorà, where my subjects come together.” 
There will also be a site-specific installation in the exhibition, raised up from the ground on transparent supports which, through the use of light, allow the projection of the sign to be seen on the walls below. This is an appropriation of space, without a subject, which rather than just inviting us to look, aims to draw us right into the work.
Botany and entomology are key aspects of her research, though here we do not find ourselves facing a scientific form of speculation. It is more an artistic investigation, with no documentary claim, adopting an approach which recalls that of Morandi. She too has a healthy obsession with some particular subjects.
Her current insect drawings do not come from some strange mania for these sometimes irritating little creatures, but rather from a graphic need, and it is no coincidence that we often find ourselves looking at bodies rather than at heads. “I needed something that, like flowers, was interesting from an anatomical point of view – but I wanted it to be alive. Insects enter into the process of transmutation of my compositions, bringing about those incidents that sometimes also occur in nature, in the reproduction of the flower or in its death, at the hand of one of these very insects. I’ve always found this very ironic. The concept of mutation has thus become a constant feature of my research. Also, the intersection of the rapid cycle of botanical marcescence with the almost infinite immobility of the way these beings behave, despite their often very brief life cycle, is of great interest to me.” Hers is a sort of splitting of the concept of eternity, which takes place through life being born and then dying.
If we are to fully understand her work, a visit to her studio is particularly helpful: on her work table there are papers of different types, all scattered around. On each one there is a drawing, a fragment, an indication. One has the impression that this is a never-ending activity, as though drawing were a vital need for her. And indeed, maybe it is?
Zecchini works on different types of paper, with a preference for thin, flimsy, transparent papers, which in many cases she then places on the canvas, which acts as a support for other materials too. So she also applies lace which, with its perfect lack of precision, recalls the fragile wings of insects, and thus contrasts with the modular, artificial perfection of tulle as well as the inert coldness of her enamel.
And the elements overlap: in all its stunning beauty, the anatomical precision of the insect alternates with the poetic ethereality of flowers, and with the colours of the petals which are generally in tones of red and pink, but also of blue and violet. A flower’s life is brief, at least next to that of man. As soon as cut flowers wither, they are thrown away, almost as though we did not wish to accept the idea of transition and death. In one of her work notes, Zecchini writes: “The process of organic putrefaction, as I see it, is part of a cyclical system that is solely one of change – it is never a prelude to an end. My habit of keeping flowers started four years ago, after turbulent times and huge changes meant that I had to get around a lot and thus move house. I initially took all sorts of things with me, and I had the habit of making mine also objects that I took from the various houses I lived in. Later on, I started reducing the amount of things I took with me, for the individual meanings of all these things and clothes were just too cumbersome. However, I later realised that what I was taking with me had reduced drastically, and the only thing that was always there was my bunches of flowers.” For her, these bunches of flowers were a sort of continuation in time that the changes, and the natural evolution of things, brought about. They were a fundamental and inescapable part of her existence. A bunch of dried flowers does not become a symbol of anything other than itself.
Nothing to do with Gozzani-like “good things in the worst taste”, in which the bunches stay closed in glass cases, like the little corpses of nature. Here the atmosphere and the significance of things is different: Aura Zecchini is the quintessential woman and artist of her own age, and her research is into what is all around her every day. The fact of painting flowers has nothing “retro” about it. Hers is a vision of the present through subjects apparently alien to it.
Coming back to her interest in flowers, over the years she started collecting the pieces that fell down from them, and dividing them up by type in transparent jars. One might be led to think of a classificatory type of approach, but that is not what it is: “Collecting and preserving have never been preventive for me, but something that takes place after these little parts that compose my floral ensemble have fallen.” What she is attempting is to capture those atmospheres. And the same is true of her insects.
Zecchini’s sharp, pointed graphic sign has developed over the years. She started working at a very young age, and the first exhibitions she took part in were ten years ago. Her aim, which she has successfully achieved, is to capture our eyes and to give us a closer vision, providing a virtual lens that goes beyond the mere appearance of things and that captures a more intimate and profound sense, even though with no claim to reveal some absolute truth.
 In actual fact, there are also parasites, microorganisms, and bacteria.
 All the statements quoted here are from the artist's work notes.