• Sun. Dec 5th, 2021

Maria Lai: Il tempo dell’incalcolabile

Version: Italian

Curated by Alberto Salvadori
Tuesday 26th October 2021 – Saturday 26th February 2022
Opening Monday 25th October
via Mecenate 77, Milano

M.Lai, 2007, Ph_PietroPaolo Pinna

“Il tempo dell’incalcolabile” is an exhibition project dedicated to artist Maria Lai, elaborated by curator Alberto Salvadori especially for the M77 gallery space; it will be on display from Tuesday 26th October 2021.

The show collaborates with Maria Lai’s archive and gives a unique insight into her work, focusing on its Mythopoietic aspects.

“Il tempo dell’incalcolabile” comes to life from the reading of Salvatore Cambosu’s literary work, a writer to whom Maria Lai had a special bond. The character of Maria Pietra, together with the proper narrative dimension pervading Lai’s work, is inspired by the tale of “Cuore mio”.

Through the main character of the tale, the writer and then the artist, call each one of us to take responsibility, to reflect on the origin and traits of human behaviours regarding topics like respect for the environment and its rules, in opposition to the current models where individualism turns into a form of boundless selfishness.

As Maria Lai specified, the power that each of us holds in his hands can be vital or deadly; she’s specifically is referring to the artists, equipped with uncommon tools to read and define reality.

Telaio di Maria Pietra, Courtesy © Archivio Maria Lai by Siae

Maria Lai, Legarsi alla montagna, intervento su fotografia di P. Berengo Gardin, 1981-1982. Courtesy ©Archivio Maria Lai by Siae 2021

The exhibition path opens with the unpublished presentation of the story’s entire narrative apparatus. Thirty-three ceramic sculptures belonging to the series “Maria Pietra’s Looms” are arranged in space together with textiles cloths descending from the ceiling or hanging on the walls. The elements’ position creates the environment for the book’s story to develop and unfold. An immersive sound installation fills the room,  a voice bringing to life the protagonist’s story.

Legends are one of Maria Lai’s favourite ancient narrative mediums. The word contains the Latin root Legenda, “of things that must or are worthy of being read”. Moreover, legends constitute people’s collective and cultural heritage, in which the real and the marvellous merge. The fusion of these two dimensions is a central point of Maria Lai’s work.

Maria Pietra, 1991, Courtesy © Archivio-Maria Lai by Siae 2021

The exhibition’s suspended atmosphere extends to the upper floor of the gallery where, for the first time, Maria Lai’s interventions on the shots of Piero Berengo Gardin are on display. These images portray the salient moments of her pivotal public work: “Legarsi alla Montagna”.

The action that took place in 1981 bringing together Ulassai’s people and their houses with Mount Gedili is incredibly vivid in these images. Their testimony has struck the collective memory of the Sardinian country and the entire world of art.

On display for the first time is the ceramic work: “La frana” and the collective action’s original video documentation.

The title chosen for the exhibition refers to a central theme throughout Lai’s work: the immediate connection between a sacred dimension, the origins, the identity and the birth.

Maria Lai explicitly stated that “Over time, the man is looking at his life questioning himself about the mystery of the before and after. Like a child, he plays, invents, proposes, gives voice to the ghosts that populate his anxiety for the absolute. Thus, religions and reasons for art are born in the vastness of the journey “. 

Telo di Maria Pietra_Courtesy ©-Archivio Maria Lai by Siae 2021