Por: Roberto Pontual
By: Roberto Pontual 1978 THE BODY IS THE EARTH … the body is or wants to be the earth. And the earth is also house, shelter, dwelling. Although the approximations do not mean what the earth and the body have on common ground – fertility. (The artist in her own body is experiencing it right now, about to bring a first child into the world.) They are paintings that have reached from the purely technical point of view, a degree of exemplary perfectionism, a virtuosity brother of sensuality, mirror of the pleasure of working the surface of the canvas as if it caresses the skin that is emerging on it. The canvas is your skin , and the texture of the fabric his shiver. And if any danger exists or is announced here, with the work of now, it is that in it Pietrina seems to have reached an apex in the problem and the technique. In Pietrina the body was always present, to this day in the center of its work. Already participated of it in the middle of the decade of 60, when the artist had just finished the disciplined formation in the National School of Fine Arts. It was, in this case, a more somber and troubled sample of the human figure, who was contorted in certain grimaces characteristic of the then insistent pop-expressionist mixture. Shortly thereafter, what had become of the dramatic contortion of the body was calming, stretching, plunging into seas of flowers and colors, sinuous and languid as in the “art nouveau” forms. Postures that still had something critical, since they treated with irony, of the “sweetness” of image imposed to the condition of woman object. In this type of painting that lasted until the end of the 60’s, the body had lost its entirety: it was seen under wide-angle perspectives, accentuating the parts and not the whole.
From there to the pieces, it was a step. As in the “closes” that the daily posters magnify, inciting to the consumption, the surface of the canvases of Pietrina began one day to settle pacific but strangely, of fingers, hands, forearms, feet, legs, backs – everything, first, loose against a warm blood-red background, neutral in terms of time and place, scenario-free; later, these same elements came to open to the full air of the planet, extending through the landscape, being the landscape. The face, with its traces allowing the movement inside, the entrance into the intimacy of the body, there definitively ceased to take place. It was, more than ever, the turn of the skin, the surrender of the body to the world. The body in Pietrina, serves as a bridge with what is outside: it founds the landscape. The skin of the body leads us to transcend it, from the inside out.
To a series of paintings executed around 1973, Pietrina called Evaterra, there the skin of the body corresponding to the skin of the earth. It proposed the subtlety of reversing an old principle: it was no longer the land that was given as the source of the body, but the body that presented itself as the matrix of the earth. The landscape was the body. This discourse continues, intact in the recent series that she now shows us .. She tries, more and more clearly, to have reached a point of summit in the problem and technique that have attracted her for years. Point from which the threats of repetition and emptying begin.
But these are conjectures of negative signal that the excellence of the current painting does not deserve to see unfolded yet. Larger justice we would do to her if we were strictly interested in what is there at the moment, including in the coherent extension to the area of sculpture. As for this last aspect, the truth is that the artist knew how to perceive that the virtual volumes of her corporeal enlargement contained, contained, latent an inevitable sculptural dimension. And found adequate output for the evidence in the production of fingers and leg and breasts multiplied in metals or wood. He just would not say that he achieved the same success in the new multiple, “Umbigo” just released: his form was not happy in the ability to immediately refer the part of the human body highlighted.
Back to the painting, there are some additional notes to note. First, that, corresponding to the relation body / earth, skin / landscape, there is another link to be considered in this “human islands” of Pietrina Checcacci: that which occurs on the way back from culture to nature. Pictures exist in the series with the waste of civilization, objects and modes of our urbanity – the can of beer; the cloths almost rags, favoring modesty, concealment of the body, occultations of the landscape. But there are few works that behave in this way, as a reminder of how much the body today finds itself estranged from its nature, from its earthly condition. Most of Pietrina’s current canvases record the body’s final outflow into the landscape. The thighs, the knees, the nipples, the buttocks, the fingers, the belly, resting or tight, are accidents of a recognizable geography. Or, if we want just the opposite: these low hills, sands, and peaks are the portions of the body they have been making. As in Fernando Pessoa’s poem: “Your tall breasts look like / (If she was lying down) / Two mounds that dawn / Without dawn.” Second, precisely in the body-landscape paintings in fullness, without any interference of data and crop residues, the elemental forces of nature can expand in freedom. And in this expansion resurges the eternally primordial game of the four elements. Now, it is not only the earth that has its place, the skin of the world and of the body. It, the earth, or it, the body, plunges into the water – water that comes from the clear atmosphere or the clouds of increasing weight. Reddish and warm, the islands receive the light and warmth of an absent sun (navel), but whose fire insists on illuminating the outside and animating the body and the earth, warming its soft dismemberment and its restrained flowering. Earth, water, air and fire – our spin is in process. And the body we have is the umbilical cord joining us with the universe, balancing us in the universe.