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CHRONICLES FROM MURATS The many Animas by Maria Jole Serreli

Italiano (Italian)

 The installation created by Maria Jole Serreli for the Fiber Art Biennial of Sardinia (a sister work is permanently exhibited at the Limen Museum in Vibo Valentia) is the synthesis of her artistic research over the last eight years. ANIMAS. TRIBUTE TO THE WEAVER is a tribute to the patience and determination of generations of women, weavers and embroiderers, fundamental architects of the conservation and transmission of the culture and textile tradition (and not only) of the territory. And it is, at the same time, also an act of love for history and the fatigue of what the artist calls mothers, the many women in her life.

ANIMAS. TRIBUTE TO THE WEAVER, installation with sewn basket, 2021, cm.250×280, MURATS Museum, INVENTARIO20 Biennale of FiberArt of Sardinia

ANIMAS. SILK NEST, works permanently at the Limen Museum in Vibo Valentia

A multifaceted artist, Serreli has the greatest source of inspiration for her  work in the narrative: “The story is fundamental for me, it is the track from which I start to create a work and I choose the material according to the idea I want to develop. Each work has its own voice and for each it is essential to find the right medium so that that voice in turn transforms the work into a story.There are stories that I feel the urge to convey: for some you need the dark timbre of the stone, for others the enveloping warmth of clay, others still need the comfort of the memory of the threads and fabrics. ” This desire to give one’s art the burden of witnessing and conveying feelings, knowledge and experiences – personal or collective – makes the artist a storyteller and her art an instrument of amplification, of propagation. Not surprisingly, she confides “the most suffered interventions are also those in which I experience the maximum freedom of telling me, my truth; and this often happens in the performative act “.

Performance and site specific installation on the occasion of the vernissage of the personal exhibition MEMORIES curated by Efisio Carbone. Maria Jole Serreli, accompanied by Maria Grazia Medda, Crypt Santa Restituta, 2018

The ancestral link with her island, the definition of cultural identity and the meaning of the roots, at the center of her human and artistic research, find the ideal expressive form essentially through the textile arts. She arrived at these techniques as early as 2003 but when eight years ago she inherited her great-grandmother’s house from her great-aunt with all its contents of objects and memories (together with a treasure of threads and fabrics) she deepened her reflection on the value and meaning of memory:“I decided to strip the house of everything it contained: cutlery and plates, fabrics, books, furnishings…. Each object has been reworked, transfigured and relocated inside the house. ” A reversal in which the artist’s gaze is not crystallized on the past but on the future: the objects and the house preserve the memory of the passage of men, the artist’s duty / power is to make clear and reread the story to restore the narrative in the present not as a finite and consumed experience but as a living element devoid of a definite and delimited time, true in this instant and for eternity.

EQUI_LIBRI, 2020, cm.50X50

EQUI_LIBRI (detail), 2019, LU.COSS collection, on permanent display in Borgo di Lu Puleu Perfugas (SS)

 EQUI_LIBRI, 2021, cm.50×50

EQUI LIBRI, 2021, cm.50×50

Already with her personal Transfigurations, curated by Baingio Cuccu at MURATS, Serreli had created Animas, a series of works that were the result of that rediscovered need to create a bond that spanned time and anchored the stories of men to those of their land: ” It was emotionally exhausting and painful to free the house: it was unbearable to throw away even the smallest piece of fabric or a simple button.
I seemed to betray and erase the memory of the many hours spent by one of the aunts embroidering and sewing, the work that allowed them to live. I felt I had to keep that memory that I recognized in every single object and which was so intimately linked to my roots. Art has even allowed me a further step, that of giving everyone another life, a future. “
This path was proposed later in In my house I had three chairs, the great exhibition curated by Simona Campus that the EXMA of Cagliari dedicated to the artist in which the house and its contents have been faithfully reconstructed.

Site-specific installation for the solo exhibition IN MY HOUSE I HAD 3 CHAIRS, 2020, curated by Simona Campus, courtesy EXMA Cagliari

THE SEWING ROOM, site-specific installation for the solo exhibition IN MY HOUSE I HAD 3 CHAIRS, 2020, curated by Simona Campus, courtesy EXMA Cagliari

AMIMAS- MADDALENA, 2015, Site-specific installation for the solo exhibition IN MY HOUSE I HAD 3 CHAIRS, 2020, curated by Simona Campus, courtesy EXMA Cagliari

Site-specific installation for the solo exhibition IN MY HOUSE I HAD 3 CHAIRS, 2020, curated by Simona Campus, courtesy EXMA Cagliari

The island is always present. When I ask her which are her masters or the artists with whom she feels the greatest affinity she replies “There are many whom I respect and whose research I admire: Gianni Colombo for example or Achille Pace, Franca Sonnino, the extraordinary Chiharu Shiota and, of course,  our Maria Lai, the first Sardinian artist who through Fiber Art narrated  our island to the world.
And again the extraordinary Ciusa or Nivola, but also Manzù, Giacometti and Christo, just to name a few. But the only one I really feel I can define my Master is Pinuccio Sciola of whom I keep alive, clear and present all the moments lived together, his advice and the teachings of eleven years of artistic attendance that I had the privilege of living. Works such as Pietre and Ikigai are inspired by him “

ICONIC, 2018, site specific installation, Crypt Santa Restituta, MEMORIES staff curated by Efisio Carbone

CORPUS, THE NATURAL THREAD THAT UNITES US. The indissoluble bond with the roots. Unconventional portrait of the artist Pinuccio Sciola, 160×180 cm, ph credit / courtesy Festival

How much the affective figure of the bond is the measure of her work tells us the work from which, she says, she would never part: “The first ant. As I said in my great-grandmother’s house there were countless objects that belonged to my ancestors. Inside my aunt’s sewing machine, I found a lot of fabric and leftover threads, all wrapped up tightly in a big hug.I was moved by thinking about how she kept any little thing that could be useful in times of need, to the respect for things and their value: this parsimony reminded me of the tiring virtue of the ant, and from those fabrics the series of Animas / Ants works. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to part with the first. “
“My teacher -she concludes – always said that the main mission of an artist was to enter people’s hearts, to remain in their souls. And this remains my goal. “

ANIMAS ANT, 2015, cm.35X45

Maria Jole Serreli is currently involved in a project in China, where she was invited to create sketches in which she combines ceramics and the local fabric, ramie. After the break due to the pandemic, She resumed work on this which will become a permanent installation for the Chongqing Rongchang Wanling Museum. Among hER priorities for the near future is the enhancement through art and culture of the Marrubiu area where She lives and works. Her works are permanently at the Letter E Gallery in Rome, the GammaEpsillon Gallery in Athens and ArteCircuito in Sassari.

Gallery's Caption

  • 1. 2. 3.  ANIMAS. TRIBUTE TO THE WEAVER, installation with sewn basket, 2021, cm.250×280, MURATS Museum, INVENTARIO20 Biennale of FiberArt of Sardinia
  • 4. ANIMAS. WEAVE, year 2016, 100×160 cm
  • 5. TRUNK OF MEMORIES, 2018, site specific installation
  • 6. REMEMBERING RONCHANG, 2019/20, previewed on the occasion of the solo show IN MY HOUSE I HAD 3 CHAIRS, EXMA Cagliari
  • 7. ANIMAS MAMMAI, Portrait, 2018, cm.70×170
  • 8. ANIMAS MEMORY, 2016, installation
  • 9. ANIMAS MEMORY, 2016, installation
  • 10. ANIMAS. MY NEST, 2015, installation
  • 11. ANIMAS, PRESENCE, 2016, installation
  • 12. First work of the ICONIC project, cm.50×50

Barbara Pavan

English version Sono nata a Monza nel 1969 ma cresciuta in provincia di Biella, terra di filati e tessuti. Mi sono occupata lungamente di arte contemporanea, dopo aver trasformato una passione in una professione. Ho curato mostre, progetti espositivi, manifestazioni culturali, cataloghi e blog tematici, collaborando con associazioni, gallerie, istituzioni pubbliche e private. Da qualche anno la mia attenzione è rivolta prevalentemente verso l’arte tessile e la fiber art, linguaggi contemporanei che assecondano un antico e mai sopito interesse per i tappeti ed i tessuti antichi. Su ARTEMORBIDA voglio raccontare la fiber art italiana, con interviste alle artiste ed agli artisti e recensioni degli eventi e delle mostre legate all’arte tessile sul territorio nazionale.