Laura Fo’s little theatres
GIANFRANCO EVANGELISTA (edited by)
Theatre, Theatre and Theatre again. Theatre, as an illusion and as a source of inspiration, as commitment, work and construction of an idea, becomes the pyrotechnical vent of an artist who has made, of this art, a reason to live. The phantasmagoria and the literary knowledge that Laura Fo’s art conveys enrich the collage medium and reveal her skill within a magic box from which, as from the hat of an illusionist, an explosion of rabbits, birds, balls, clothes and colourful tissues appear. Her collages are the result of a detailed copy and paste work, of a crowding of recomposed images mixed with drawings and paints, but also of a superimposition and cataloguing of ideas and thoughts that, at the beginning, appear to be chaotically placing themselves on the paper, but then, as in a cosmic big-bang, unite to form clusters and formations of multiple but clear and evident meaning.
For Laura Fo, this begins as a game, but then becomes systematic study and keen research of the ideal architectonic composition. Cages that contain birds with colourful plumes, light circles, an animal rollercoaster, colours, small men, figures and apparitions within an amusement park of the imaginary… The cages, the stairs, a temple’s columns, all this is needed to frame the artist’s construction, and the compositional structure reveals the need to go beyond what is obvious, to flee into unknown dimensions where man can get rid of restrictions and earthly constraints, as a kind of mental acrobatic exercise within a stellar circus.
Sometimes the theatre is lit by tenuous lights resembling the wax candles that enlightened, with reflections and shades, the scenic actions of Italian-style theatres in the past centuries, leaving room for dark and hidden spaces, for shadows, for distorted visions and thus nocturnal appearances and illusions difficult to interpret.
The wealth of visual stimuli, the baroque festiveness of Laura’s work remind us of Angelo Maria Ripellino’s words, with the wealth of forms they possessed. Laura Fo greatly admires Ripellino, to whom she devoted a show and a whole cycle of artistic work.
However, Ripellino, Pessoa or Achmatova, for whom the artist has great interest, are simply a starting point, a trampoline from which she departs along paths that are fully personal. Laura Fo uses the starting poetic approach almost as an excuse, an interlocutor with whom she can interact by exploiting her imagination, as if it were a ‘contrappunto’ on a background musical base.
Music and Poetry, Theatre and Literature, through Laura Fo’s reinterpretation are transferred from the written page, from the sound and the word, to a full and ultra-dimensional visibility, which broadens horizons and lets out a wealth of feelings. This signals the artist’s competence and an ability to communicate differently, one that reaches at the same time the heart, the eyes, the mind and the very bottom of one’s soul, where it finds reasons for a more aware understanding on the part of the audience. Every piece has its story and is a story, a tale that explains and re-interprets, that gives reason to reasons, starting points, signs and arrival instructions as if these were dots on a treasure map.
Laura Fo says: I have come to this artistic experience as I felt it necessary to bring to a concrete realisation studies and passions that I have been cultivating for years, and that I haven’t always be able to finish as I would have wanted. I have come to this experience through a sort of creative suffocation.
The Theatre, with its constraints, managerial difficulties and poverty, was imprisoning me in a series of projects that were not able to see the light. So I thought I would project all my creative world in an artistic form that only depended on me, that did not have to obey market laws or be conditioned by other people or public and private intervention. If Theatre is a world of glue and paper, as Ripellino defines it, then it is in these elements that I had to find an inspiration for my creativity.
I have tried, as Pessoa writes in The Book of Disquiet, to create landscapes with what I feel, not with words, but through collage.
So the rooms of my imaginary world, between pieces of paper and glue, have opened, liberating houses, trains, small men on flying bicycles, fantastic cities, geometrical harmonies, spaces, escapes, drawings of different poetical worlds; works of others (sometimes great names, whom I borrow as quotations to ‘cut’ my stories); and the words, always crucial in my life, become pieces of paper on a sheet. How effective or magic these narrations are, I leave it up to my audience to decide.