If They Say I Was a Bird

Ana Mazzei

If They Say I Was a Bird

Ana Mazzei

  • Period
  • 21.05 — 21.06.2014

  • Opening
  • 21.05 — 6pm

  • Curated by
  • Maria Montero
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To incarnate in a body with the wisdom of flying.

Surveying the city from above with minuscule-fast-powerful muscles.

The complexity of human emotions condensed to adjust themselves to

the format of a small mouthless creature. Body-colour, soft feathering.

From the sky, the city is pure geometry, contour, line, chromatic palette.

Ever-shifting materiality, now seemingly static due to the distance apart.

Earth, water, blood, architecture, people and birds. A concrete drawing.

Would this be Ana Mazzei’s physical experience?

Artist’s dimension, having once been a bird, observed the Earth from a

distance, the eyes penetrating the skin-like surface, a thin and

translucent membrane, making it possible to delve into its depths from


Compulsively excavating, unearthing the world of the living and of the

dead, which in turn becomes a stage from which detritus and wreckage

stem and pullulate.

“The world’s a stage” (Shakespeare) is immanent influence. Trigger

which activates and stages a myriad of possible scenes.

However, the focus is not the sewage of men. The viewing apparatus

turn to the city, to that which underlies the urban tissues, deep layers of

former centuries, diagrams concealed by the modern city’s asphalt.

Indeed, they are lines and planes. But it is not solely a formalizing

exercise. It is vital that all the work generated is charged with symbolism,

folklore, myths, with the dead.

City-structures made of wood, rubber and felt. Borrowing, in the process

of its construction, building procedures from the theatre, both aesthetic

and conceptual: dramaturgy, the use of actors, the stage, representation.

This family of cities inhabits the second floor of the gallery, where the

exhibition begins. Yes, we start from above, in an exercise of

imagination that requires a high degree of disengagement, concentration

and silence.

From above, we will probably enter through a gap in the window or any

other opening, as we have once been a bird.

Suddenly something abrupt and unexpected happens. At the exact

moment we land, we turn back into man, which allows us to walk through

the space and down the stairs.

Still on that second floor, either man has become a giant, or the city has

shrunk, and is now crawling up the walls, weed-like.

Cluster of clusters inhabiting a common ground.

With legs now unaccustomed to walking, rusty from disuse, we slowly

descend the stairs, awakening forgotten muscles, until we find ourselves

facing the curtain.

Manto reveals a great curtain made of orange-coloured velvet which

never opens itself to the public; nothing is visible, apart from the subtle

movement of the actors on the stage behind it.

The veil. Once again, a skin separates us from another possible reality

(or fiction).

The truth that does not expose itself, does not reveal itself. The myth of


The veiled, silenced discourse.

Alter, the Other: the only possible way to get close to the divine.

Essence versus appearance, the recovery of the dignity of the sensitive


We head out through the door on the ground floor towards the street.

The man, formerly bird, is faced with a sculpture which, now observed

from human perspective, is recognizably grandiose.

O quadrante, a medieval penetrável1, a viewing apparatus that

calculates the distance by means of geometric organization, is at the

service of the participant; a navigational experience that leads us to the

unknown, to the extra corporeal.

“The experience is what is within us which sees itself when we look at

ourselves, that which reflects within us when we think, which within

ourselves can be heard as we speak. It is leaving oneself and entering

the world, and also a return to oneself.”2

From inside that apparatus we catch a glimpse of the sky, its blues and

its birds.

Lend your body to the world!

During the entire course of the exhibition, notes acquire pictorial quality.

“I make my notes as though I were telling a story, as when I was a child I

learnt, in my birth land, that the desert grows and covers deserts and

that the stories are all but one.”

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