Isabella Ducrot, for her first solo show at T293, presents different groups of works, some of which have never been seen publicly. Large square fabrics, repetitions of abstract painted motifs and drawings form a universe of compositions in which multiple materials intertwine, including paper, paint and various types of fabrics. The title Opere a ripa pays homage to one of the most ancient areas in Rome, the Forum Boarium, which lays on the other side of the river from the gallery. The title wants to stress the importance of T293 location within the creative process of this exhibition.
The artistic career of Isabella Ducrot begins, one might say, with her passionate collecting of various sort of fabrics. In fact, from her numerous travels in Asia, a place that continues to exert a particular charm on her, the artist has unconsciously created what became the primary medium of her artistic production: textiles.
During the Eighties, Ducrot decided to reuse the collected fabrics, removing their historical contents and freeing them from their places of origin, with the aim at giving them a new meaning by imposing a new artistic life. The regenerated fabrics take the shape of elegant and colourful women dresses, with wavy and squared patterns, from Tibet and Japan, where the artist’s feminine poetics is remarkably expressed.
Having collected textiles throughout her life, Ducrot has acquired a strong familiarity with the material, allowing her to treat it as pure matter and use it as ethereal basis for poetic interventions. The original weave of the fabrics is kept during the process of re-working of the material. In fact, unlike what commonly happens in pictorial practices, Ducrot doesn’t harden the textiles with plaster and stretchers, but she presents them freely, emphasizing both their lightness and vulnerability.
The art of filling spaces through the repetition of abstract motifs inevitably recalls the Eastern tradition. Ducrot proposes frequently this decorative scheme, as both visual and conceptual approach, as a way to reach a meditative state. Finally, the repeated element becomes the object of representation itself, and the artist underlines it by choosing titles that directly evoke the illustrated repetitions.
Turbante (2014) is a 18-meter-long strip of light cotton that the artist purchased in New Dehli (India). The fabric – usually aimed to ornate a man’s head - is coated with a squared paper of the same length and it is stretched along the corridor of the gallery, where it stands in all its integrity and monumentality.
The exhibition itinerary ends with Erotici, a series of works made during the late Nineties and here exhibited for the first time. They are realized on Chinese paper and they find their iconographic reference in Oriental erotic drawings.
Isabella Ducrot (Naples, 1931) lives and works in Rome. She exhibited her works in Milan, Paris, Berlin, New York and Rome. In Naples, Vanvitelli metro station features two mosaics by the artist. In Rome, Ducrot had two personal exhibitions at the GNAM and participated at the Venice Biennale in 1993 and 2011. Among her most recent exhibitions: Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne (2019), Capitain Petzel, Berlin (2019), Maja Arte Contemporanea, Rome (2019) and Galerie Mezzanin, Geneva (2020).