Twenty first episode of the program “Pralines. Deliciousness from the world of art” by Ly thi Thanh Thao and Sergio Mandelli dedicated to Gabriella Benedini.
Gabriella Benedini is born in Cremona in 1932.
After attending the Art Institute in Parma, Benedini continues her studies at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan. Over that period she cultivates a fierce interest in literature, so much so that the young editor Arturo Schwarz, after reading her novel, presents her to the publishing house Gallimard in Paris.
At this point, she decides to leave for Paris, but once there, she no longer engages herself in novel writing; instead she produces comic strips.
She even succeeds in organizing her first art exhibitions.
Yet after two years, she returns to Milan and, in 1962, Bergamini Gallery showcases her first solo exhibition.
At the beginning, Benedini is interested in the artistic languages of the mainstream such as art informel, then shortly after, she embarks on a decisive path towards existentialism.
Meanwhile she also manifests great interest in alchemy.
In the footsteps of this concept, Benedini executes a body of works in which the protagonist is a clot of material that tends to reach a rational dimension, represented by geometrical patterns.
This clot evolves towards a sort of embryo, and successively, with the collaboration of Franco Mazzucchelli, it was transformed into an inflatable sculpture, the experience of which remains in a testimonial film.
Benedini further takes inspiration from travelling, especially travelling across deserts.
The suggestion is so strong as to induce her to redefine her figure as artist: she now considers herself as a nomad in search of the profound meanings of things.
What is seminal to her career trajectory is the invitation, in 1984, to participate in a show in Ferrara, that requires the artists to complete ideally the missing months of the sumptuous Hall of the Months at the Schifanoia Palace.
Benedini is in charge of November.
To Benedini, this art piece – displayed at the 1986 Venice Biennial – means, above all, the discovery of the third dimension and highlights her passion for alchemy.
Benedini’s “Sailing boats” created from the hulls of the abandoned boats are shaped in a way to accentuate the vertical dimension, transforming them into a means of communication between the earthly world and the superior one.
The hull, therefore, becomes the symbol of the idea of journey.
Another series of extraordinary importance and beauty is that of “Books”, containers of found objects, made up of fragments of written pages. They bring to light a diverse truth that enables us to cover great distance of time and space.
Benedini’s Books are coded messages that, like a magical formula, can transform discarded objects into precious ones, as the alchemical process can turn putrid material into gold.
Her body of works includes other series ranging from sextants to goniometers, to harps.
Hers, is an energetic work rich of hidden meanings. Its subtlety and its elegance exert an attraction on everybody, even on the less experienced person.