Beatrice Spadea and Her Trials with Paper, Thread, Metal, and Sky
Beatrice Spadea is 26 years old but, despite her young age, she already experimented different ways to express herself through art.
She graduated at Brera’s Academy of Fine Arts and she applied her love for drawings to artworks more and more sculptural.
Among these, Crossed Hopes, is probably one of the most bidimensional because it is formed by hands drawn on paper sheets and connected each other with a red thread.
As the artist explains, “here the thread is used in a totally conceptual way because it is an artwork created during the lockdown period, so, this idea that our lives were all connected, was very powerful“.
The choice of thread’s colour, red, refers to fil rouge1 or leitmotif which indissolubly bounds fates and can suggest both death’s blood and life’s fire. Indeed, every action, even small, has consequences that influence us and others and, unfortunately, only during hard times, as the pandemic one, we realize how our lives have all a common destiny.
The Tightrope Walker and Silent Barriers refer to this precise historical moment too.
The first one shows the widespread feeling of being unstably balanced: a tightrope walker walks on a thread that keeps upright the two sheets of paper between which it is stretched.
While the second one refers to physical contacts’ restrictions so, the hands cannot touch each other because of the threads that arch backside the sheets on which they are drawn, distancing them.
As we can see in these artworks, Beatrice Spadea uses paper as a sculptural material without folding it but bending it with threads: “I wanted to transform the idea of paper, I wanted it not just to be something to draw on, but to be a thing that occupies a space. Therefore, the thread is not just a sign, but it goes outside“.
Shipwrecked of This Time is a sculpture where paper’s curves mimic the waves of the stormy sea shown on them. This turbulent water is the one of life in which securities falter and where the horizon can’t be seen.
Black Tears has the same meaning but, here, the water is the one of rain shown as dark threads that fall like black teardrops from the drawn sky.
In Breathe Through Your Wounds paper refers to a torn body. Through that wound we can find the strength to breathe again because the light that enters is a light of hope and healing, and it is only thanks to the cut that it can light us. We can imagine, almost feeling it for real, the breath that, like the light, enters in the body-sculpture through the wound.
In this artwork Beatrice Spadea deals with the theme of the inside and the outside represented in many other creations of hers and about which she says: “There’s always the idea of wanting to get out of somewhere or of a situation. It can be seen like a physical condition, an exit from a real space (in this period we really have experienced the effects), or also a step out of the line and out of a system where we don’t belong anymore and from where we want to escape. So, it is not just a physical inside-outside but a mental and metaphorical one too”.
The artwork The Purl and Plain of Things extends this theme and, as can be understood from the title, it links it to another duo, the one of front and back.
The word and the archetypal image are related physically with threads and ideally with the material entity to which they both refer, the house. Which of the two is the most correct to mean a house? And so, in this situation, which is the purl and which is the plain? The artist gives no answer because her aim is to show alternative ways to see reality.
The house is a recurrent theme in Beatrice Spadea’s art.
For example, The House We Built is an artwork formed by a metal sculpture and a stop-motion video. In its simplicity, the video succeeds to transmit a powerful and complex message: humans created social structures to organize the world and to have a perception of control on it, but these conventions revealed to be more oppressive than protective and so, it is necessary to break them and to build new possibilities with the pieces.
The house, from being a stable shelter, it is thus transformed in a paper plane that flies free through an open window towards the sky.
The sky is another recurrent element in the artist’s artworks because, for her, it represents a getaway, the overcoming of limits, a world beyond physical reality but not necessarily in contrast with it.
If in the previous sculpture the sky printed on film was applied to aluminium, in The Dreamcatcher it is on a mirror and allows us to reflect in it. Looking at the mirror, we virtually find ourselves inside the house-shaped wire mesh and so, we seem to be jailed. Actually, in the meantime we become part of that sky and we thus have the illusion of flying, of being able to see things from above and from a different perspective.
In the same way, the three masks (A spark in the dark, Lost in the blue and Soul in the storm) created with fragments of skies pictured respectively during three different weather conditions allow us to symbolically wear the sky projecting ourselves into it. Rather than hiding or separating us from external threats, these masks break down physical boundaries and connect our earthly being with the spiritual one.
Whether she uses paper, threads, metal, mirrors or films with skies printed on, whether she focuses on drawings or sculptures, Beatrice Spadea always succeeds in overcoming the limits of reality thanks to her never-ending trials and therefore she constantly transmits the desire of going beyond things.
Photo e video courtesy of the artist
1 It is believed that the term fil rouge or red thread comes from a popular Japanese legend according to which every person has an invisible red thread tied to left hand’s little finger. This thread bounds each one of us since birth to the soul mate we are destined to re-join with.