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The path of life

by Valeria Cerabolini and Maria Grazia Vernuccio 


There are family ties, the events of history, the events of war. There are places, changes, departures, returns, affections. There are pages and pages of diaries and letters found, rearranged, transcribed. There is an immense baggage - as she tells us - behind the works of VITA. The past seems to translate into awareness, belonging, feeling, as if in her intimate, Elena Chioccarelli Denis had internalized almost a century of history. Without having lived it directly, without ever having visited those distant places. And this is precisely why we feel it is present. And this is how her poetic captures and moves. The title VITA thus acquires depth, giving us the value of understanding our own roots.  And Elena’s art flies towards lightness with hinted touches that indicate an elsewhere, without ever forgetting where it all began.  

There is a quote on the side of the work Libera e Felice that summarizes this attitude of the soul handed down by her grandmother in turn artist with whom Elena has spent three decades of her life: "I go out in the morning alone, in canvas dress and sandals, down the valleys with the strong scent of jasmine, and I look... and I enjoy... and I feel free and happy!". And the opera is an explosion of blues and greens, against the backdrop of a landscape just mentioned. A place and a motion of the soul that manages to point out new paths to take, even if those traveled by the fragile women of works such as The Journey or Captivity indicate that nothing has been easy or predictable. Then as today, while we never stop looking at new conflicts and new migrations. And it is again the quotation from the work Exodus that does not make us forget how much these passages are laden with pain and difficulty: "The step is taken, we have come out of free life, channeled on a track that we do not know where it will take us". 

And never predictable in Elena’s works is the search for forms and inventions, starting with the use of old linen sheets (also found) as canvases for many works, such as for the large trees of Vita I and Vita II. Research that becomes unexpected and that turns into "traveling boxes" that contain works such as Resilience in linen wood, a metaphor of something you never want to separate from. To always carry with her, even in the distance, which in an increasingly dematerialized world, reminds us of the concreteness of our existence and the value of witnessing.  

Here, memory becomes not rhetorical citation, but predisposition, in a world redesigned by an emotional geography that indicates new paths and new maps of reality.  Behold, the unfolding of the deepest sense of the search of Elena show the inexorable thread that tells certain humanity, lacerated then as today, uprooted then as today, wounded, lost, humiliated by the atrocities then as today in a war, in the many wars that sadly mark once again the fragility of peoples, men, women and children and that an emblematic work defines Bottini of war. Images that we find in some works because those memories have them inside, lives them even more strongly and dramatically. But the art of Elena Chioccarelli Denis also tells us that from pain we can be reborn, and that engraving, sculpting and shaping their memories is a way out. Art as a cure, a means to look ahead, a universal language to tell and tell, to find that humanity in which to still believe and give LIFE to LIFE.

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