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IN MEDIO COELI - Roberto Mastroianni's critical text for the contemporary art exhibition of Francesca Dondoglio at the Raccolta Lercaro in Bologna.

Updated: Jan 11

Raccolta Lercaro and Studio la Linea Verticale - Contemporary Art present "In medio coeli," a solo exhibition by Francesca Dondoglio, inaugurating on December 14 at 6:00 PM at Raccolta Lercaro. The exhibition will be open to the public until January 14, 2024.

Sol invictus, personale di Navid Azimi Sajadi a Modena, start60, Area 51, a cura di Studio la Linea Verticale



By Roberto Mastroianni

Francesca Dondoglio is an artist driven by spiritual, poetic, and philosophical needs who has been pursuing a form of "experiential conceptualism" with mystical and poetic traits for some time. Through experimentation with materials and painting, she utilizes colors as privileged vectors to convey an emotional and theoretical dimension of aesthetic experience.

Her poetics focus entirely on the exploration of the middle ground between the visible and the invisible, attempting to make the supersensible present to one's perception and that of the beholder. This is achieved through constant experimentation with pigment and support, exercising the gesture of the hand and the gaze, giving rise to a creative experience aimed at exploring both the sensible and supersensible reality.

Her works appear as existential and existentialist devices, investigating existence with the awareness that it is, as Heidegger taught us, an "ex-sistere" (ex-sistere, from Latin "to stand out"), a "projection," a "transcendence," projecting out of the realm of the real towards "an otherness," which is "transcendence." This tension, simultaneously creative and cognitive, towards an additional and invisible dimension of existence leads her to explore the dual dimension of reality, focusing on the fragile and elusive separation between the two dimensions, traditionally represented in our culture through poetic language and artistic representation, symbolized by the overlapping tones of red and blue. Her cycles of works investigate, in an aniconic manner, the specific experience in which images and words act as intermediaries between different planes of reality.

In this latest cycle, named after a dialogue with the poetics of Cristina Campo and her "theory of Medio Coelo," the exhibited works become emblematic of this tension. On the one hand, the artist's poetics can be attributed to what Filiberto Menna defined as the "analytical line of modern and contemporary art," a quest into the fundamental elements of painting and art (color, gesture, surface...), which, by questioning them, interrogates the entire history of art and culture and the anthropological dimension of aesthetic experience. On the other hand, the spiritual significance of this production is evident, always alluding to an existential search that seeks to restore the experience of the invisible, with a view to constant inner knowledge growth. In this cycle of works, born from a dialogue with Campo's poetry and essays, especially with the essay "In medio coeli" present in the posthumous collection of writings "Gli imperdonabili" (1984), the paintings chromatically, aniconically, and non-figuratively represent that space where the sign settles with reference to the supersensible. Starting from the dichotomy between the known and the unknown, the visible and the invisible, Campo identifies in fairy tales and poetry the production of images and symbols that allow reaching the Kingdom of Heaven, or absolute knowledge, the gnostic dimension of spiritual knowledge that all human beings aspire to. This space for poetic words and mythological and fairy-tale metaphors is interpreted and returned by Dondoglio through the use of color, transforming poetry into pictorial layering and non-figurative absence.

To the poetic investigation and experimentation with the words and figures of the writer, the painter responds with the silence and aniconic abstraction of the overlapping color layers, materializing the specific condition of suspension between childhood and innocence and the wisdom that aspires to absolute knowledge. What for Campo was the suspension between our innocent childhood, chasing symbols and images, and the wisdom of age that retraces its life with a poetic gaze and expression, in anticipation of higher awareness, for Dondoglio becomes the space of apophantic expression of painting.

The exhibited works thus take shape as a research on pictorial stratification and interaction with supports, becoming a theoretical and philosophical investigation into the shades and interactions between the two colors - red and blue - that the artist chooses to shape monochromatic and dichromatic surfaces, metaphorizing the dyadic dimension of the real. It is no coincidence that the artist's works become metaphorical portions of that tension between transcendence and immanence, constitutive of our presence in the world, which, through perception and relationship with interiority and materiality, symbolically but aniconically shapes the spiritual, emotional, and cognitive dimension of the human.

The "red" and "blue" thus become archetypal elements of an existential geometry that, in composition between the fillings, outlines the threshold between the immanent and the transcendent dimension, indicating the line on which we are always in balance between presence and absence, essence and existence, the sensible world and the supersensible. Dondoglio's works explore the specific dimension of the human, delving deeply through a movement that starts from the external dimension and leads to the internal one, producing aniconic figurations that stage a symbolic and experiential dimension, challenging the rationality of the senses, perception, and gaze. In this way, the eye recognizes the deposit of meaning and significance sedimented in the density of color, in its stratifications and compositions, triggering an inner and further investigation prompted by perception.

The idea of a "threshold" between the sacred and the profane, between life and non-life, between matter and spirit, between existence and essence is thus staged through the interpenetration of pigments and their stratification, which, through the interaction of colors and materials, gives rise to a material density that represents a portion of our individual and collective unconscious. In this representation, the Medio Coelo takes shape, which for Campo was a space for the exercise of poetry as a path to Gnosis, where the impossible and the possible, the earthly and the supersensible meet.


Event details::

  • Title: In Medio Coeli

  • Artist: Francesca Dondoglio

  • Curated by: Studio la Linea Verticale

  • Thesis by: Roberto Mastroianni - Alessandro Mescoli

  • Opening Date: Thursday, December 14, at 6:00 PM

  • Exhibition Duration: December 14, 2023 - January 14, 2024

  • Location: Raccolta Lercaro, Via Riva di Reno 57, Bologna

Visiting hours:

The exhibition will be open to the public from December 14, 2023, to January 14, 2024, during the following hours:

  • Tuesday and Wednesday: 3:00 PM - 7:00 PM

  • Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday: 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM / 3:00 PM - 7:00 PM

  • Closure: Sunday, December 24, and Sunday, December 31, 2023.


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