Tina De Falco
Fonder of the Splash Museum and Art critic (Sassuolo, 2016)
Beatrice is an artist who brings a world of visions that are placed between illusion and reality, she tells us of an intimate world and never exaggerates.
Painter and photographer, she is a complete artist who seeks the charm of simplicity in the discovery of beauty. Zagato works are developments of a thoughts that are based on the essentiality of life.
They tell us of dreams never narrated, yet real; unseen, but visible, if we look at. A rose breaks up to become a single thought, and yet countless shots were needed to reach that thought, that desired image. Her paintings as well as her photos let us feel a meticulous search. They are never a generic glimpse to what she sees around her, rather an observation combined with a deep insight into details.
The artist uses a personal interpretation of light that shows both in her photographic works and paintings. A new visual search that goes beyond the reality giving us the illusion to be able to cross the borders of the unknown. Her canvases are made of selected moments, and leave the viewer the task to make an interpretation based on his/her imagination and mood.
Zagato’s art merges with her life and her way of being. During her stay at the Splash Museum in Sassuolo, she was able to capture the attention of two hundred children who listened to her stories asking thousands of questions. They were charmed by her ability to play with colours and words.
An artist capable to discover also the ludic value of art is certainly an artist who does not only live for art, but makes his life a work of art. I believe Beatrice is all this.
Art critic and journalist for the Messaggero newspaper (Rome, 2015)
We are what we see, but we no longer see what we are. It’s the human condition into which the time we are living made us fall: the lack of sense of weak thought; the eternal present of the Internet; the storm of information and images, real or virtual, that surrounds us; the changing horizons, apparently close, of the global world; power moved from politics to finance; art delivered to the market and confined to the kingdom of the surface. Focusing on this scrap, Beatrice Zagato has built and is building her role as an artist.
Thirty-three years old, Po valley origins, transplanted to Barcelona, where she spent four years at the Academy of Fine Arts, and where she now shares, with thirty other young creatives of her and other generations, an art hangar studio that originally was a factory (provided by the Municipality).
Beatrice Zagato uses the eye as a privileged tool of exploration and introspection in the areas of painting and photography, chosen alternatively as fields of action. A bustle between inside and outside that follows as a compass the vibrations of a mysterious and compelling musical warp that from deep within experience, hears a seamless transfer between organic and inorganic, as a hidden property of Nature and things, a Dionysian invitation to listen and dance that stirs up echoes, tunings, and inner dissonance. Through her own pace, she sets the structure of her paintings and drawings, which is never really abstract, although the approach vaguely recalls Kandinsky, with whom she shares a harmony between emotions and colors. Beatrice Zagato has no Maenad attitudes: the thrill that is felt and transmitted is always offset by a more rational, Apollonian vocation, which requires measuring, dosing, and anchors. Maybe it is the title by which she baptizes every work, not by chance, that evidences her strong commitment to the storytelling and to the harmony of the metric even when she composes free verse without rhyme: ‘Certezza’ (‘Certainty‘) is the name, emblematic and ambiguous, by which she archives a series of paintings. Maybe it is an external reference: she has composed and signed various landscapes and one is an explicit homage to the lands of the Po, where she is from, a symphony of dirty hushed whites that evokes the fog that envelops everything.
If she penetrates and draws you into the labyrinth, Beatrice Zagato never forgets to unroll an Ariadne’s yarn to return. What distinguishes her is that she gets settled on the ridges between the visible and invisible, inviting the viewer to do as she does.
A subtexted melody reflects the direction and the choreography of the signs that line, caress and sometimes assault (when she use seams and nails) her canvases. She is a fast painter: she prefers the vehemence of imprinting the color to the brush; she twists chance and project and is fascinated by the resulting uniqueness, but she never falls into Informal language. She creates a musical relationship between emptiness and fullness, between depth and surface. Among the many mirages of which Beatrice Zagato reveals and suggests fascination and vagueness, the first is light, scattered and radiated in the air; she captures its nuances and transparency without using glazes of colour but just by applying the color on the back side of the canvas so that the outside becomes inside. Finally, the use of different materials that Zagato continues to overlap, mix and experiment with is harmonious, as she believes that inside of any raw material there is already the soul of the creation, waiting to take shape, the same transfiguring omen that Michelangelo confessed to feel in front of a block of marble. A challenge to the third dimension that entered in the genetic makeup of Contemporary Art from Fontana onwards, that Zagato solves with the spirit of an alchemist and the instinct of a sculptor, turning her paintings into bas reliefs. To shape the surface she uses a sample of surprising grafts: paper, plastic, layers of plaster, glue preparation, clippings and collages, wood, nails, seams, underlying layers of color that emerge with scrapers and sandpaper; a repertoire of techniques by which the author reveals and hides herself at the same time. And she does this with the words scratched into the surfaces of her pieces, driven by an inalienable desire to say something; letters and phrases, in italics or capitals, emerge everywhere, engraved on boards of colors and chalk, or nearly cancelled by layers of color, creating the virtual intensity of a hypertext to each work. You can read it as a scrapped speech, a hidden poem or vanishing points, like gaps towards the elsewhere. However, what surprises and amazes about Beatrice Zagato is above all the flexibility and the capacity of penetration of her gaze. A skill honed caused by a visual impairment that she has gradually overcome, changing her way of defining and imagining horizons and details, like Leopardi in front of his hedge of the Infinite. The more difficult her focusing, the more vivid her perception and contrast of colors. Her palette, initially cut to the bone with black, grey and few earthy colors, has turned bright. The red has exploded in her works as well as her desire to use it, while the surfaces of her paintings have started making way for the blue cobalt and pastel shades. Due to her photographic talent, in every framing she is able to catch perceptions, solutions and insights which previously struggled to emerge, and now play out in a secret game of shadows and refractions, a passionate and intense use of blurring effects and chromatic trajectories drawn by the complicity between the lights, the movement and the darkness.
In Lampedusa, one`s heart is overcome with dismay by the umpteenth shipwreck of migrants: she focuses the lens on an offshore light, adjusts the wide-angle lens to catch the reflections of passers-by on the water`s edge and the quay of the port. Click. Then, the sea becomes a mystery, Below becomes Above, the Outside a mirror of the Inside, the Invisible Visible. The ritual of making art with one click manifests; and through the art, chasing, discovering and suggesting other truths.
Art critic, curator and journalist for the Corriere della Sera newspaper (Rome, 2014)
Beatrice Zagato is an artist who lives her art, or rather, her art is inhabited by life, always.
Life leads us, drags us, plunges us, then exalts us; with love and strength, with sufferings and tears; slowing down, holding back and then crashing our hearts, clouding our thoughts and blinding our vision, when it is impossible to not look away. Then, it takes us toward blue skies where even the rain is glee. That is the way Beatrice lives, dreams and paints. Her work is never predictable; indeed, it has the fascination, the gift and the features of art. The author knows how to bring out the universal from the particular: the work of her life becomes a work of art, also for our lives. At the beginning of her artistic career, her work dealt with the history of men and things. She debuted by dominating the materials: wide layers of color are the equivalent to lumps of meanings and thoughts. In her early works, ancient sufferings appeared, which Zagato lovingly stitched, sutured and recreated through a medical artistic process. So, faced with that truth, devoid of vanity, she acts with the determination a pure white gives as well as yellows, pinks and browns – and Burri smiles. Now, the restored body of life flies so high that Zagato leaves the canvas to experiment with the ephemeral transparency of paper. Life has returned so powerful that her work is now even more radical. Now, the brush and the shades of color leave room for the powerful primary colors. Now, the hands act, no longer only brushes, because hands hold the line of destiny – their own destiny; and mould their destiny with courage, love, despair, anger, faith, relief and hope. So the hands lay gently on the paper, imprinting a rhythm, open to receive truth and to caress. Through transparency she creates delicate worlds populated by butterflies, and drops of rain, and birds flying in a bright afternoon, and red roses thirsty for love and life. This re-appropriation of a primitive pictorial gesture marks a shift from the conceptual (works of the first period) to the organic; and does not exclude the possibility that the author is on the trail of a figurative language that certainly will pour from her personal and original vision, always sincere and moving. It is a real gift.
The work of Beatrice Zagato impresses with its strong poetry. “XII – I” is made with mixed media on wood. The work is divided into two tables, 94 x 10cm each. Some roses plunge into red and white colors on a blurred meaningful background, deeply marked by those old familiar words by Lewis Carroll: “Alice! A childish story take, / And with a gentle hand / Lay it where Childhood’s dreams are twined / In Memory’s mystic band, / Like pilgrim’s withered wreath of flowers/ Pluk’d in a far-off land“.
Here we are again, facing the great emotional and conceptual work of Zagato. The warp of memory creates spider webs and brings out everything: here is the old story of Alice, which belongs to the magical world of childhood. There are the roses: they had been forgotten and by now are withered, lifeless, buried, drowned in useless words. The false promises? They have been crucified by nails which establish the eternity of suffering, but also the eternity of the tale that always comes back to make us dream. Roses have emerged and returned to the surface, as memories do. This dimension of upwelling and sinking is where the emotional and creative work of Zagato operates, which oscillates and mixes together Past and Future. The white roses that the Queen wanted red are twined with withered black and gray ones; they are roses which have become ghosts belonging to a distant time. Zagato paints roses smelling of nostalgia that shakes our souls at a glance as we are suspended on a precipice.
Despite this languid vision, Zagato is always pacifying. She heals the signs of the soul, saves memories, forgives, absolves, cleanses and purifies with compassion, even if it is painful: the rose must be nailed on the wood. The hand must be firm and precise to make the wood swallow the pain. The nails go deep into the rose, inside the pain, and define the movement of the petals. The white strips are also a distinctive feature of Zagato: they mark the passage of time, like signs of memories and thoughts, creating uniformity between materials, color and background. They weave to the dream, just as Lewis Caroll says in the introduction of Alice in Wonderland.
Zagato explains that “there is a text etched on the wood and chiaroscuro effects that play with transparencies to create a landscape. This part of the painting is the arcane part because the landscape revealed is the inner one… that kind of world that exists within us and which we recognize as vaguely familiar, although we don’t comletely understand… as in the world of Alice!”. This inner world of Zagato manifests through the painting from that far-off land which only true artists have access to.
Beatrice Zagato’s work speaks of the history of men and also the objects they relate to. Zagato masters the use of materials: her layers remind us of the intricacies of memory. They rise to the surface as lumps of meaning with the suppleness of thoughts.
Zagato deals with past pains, which at times break through the canvas, and she lovingly sews, sutures and recomposes while repairing them.
Her artistic process is curative, and at the same time brave and implacable. She approaches the canvas in a decisive and honest way, always assertive that the canvas is just a piece of cloth: so she starts to refine, remove, rub and discard it, only to return to the raw material without frills, without tricks. She does not seek a free zone. Thus, faced with a truth that never gives in to pain, she acts with the determination a pure white gives as well as yellows, pinks and browns – and Burri smiles. Colours never lie. They are what their name says they are.
Just like a wave of colour, the sea, an element often evoked by artists due to its strong imagery, is retold by Zagato with iridescent fishes seemingly fossilized or jumping out of the water with gold flashes. The canvas alternates between moments where it superimposes and folds itself, unravelling over glue and paper, wood, nails, silver and gold.
She works with clear signs and no deceptions, only revealing the urgency of liberation, since pain leaves traces behind, stagnant tears and open wounds.
With simple, but decisive gestures, Zagato heals the scream, nailing it, restraining it with the certainty that it cannot slip away: it has had its time and now has to be relieved. The canvas is now a living entity with its own story and its own memory.
Zagato’s creative process is purifying: she finds reconciliation by pouring life back into pain. Ultimately, suffering has left its mark but it has turned into a melody. These methodical techniques render Zagato’s work extremely interesting, poignant and poetic.
And even in her figurative works – on the threshold of a recent experimentation process – the approach to the canvas is never taken for granted, as it is in constant dynamic flow, picking up the imprints of the sketched figure. The need to create, shed and purify still remains, to discover the true figure with moving and disarming sincerity.
Ministry of Economic development and Mayor of Padua (Padova, 2013)
Beatrice Zagato is a young artist form Padua, based in Barcelona. She obtained her diploma in Applied Arts from the Escola d’Art i Disseny Massana in Barcelona, where she opened her own art studio in 2010.
The exhibition ‘Between the lines’ take us through the inspiration, talent and creativity of the artist who, despite moving to Spain to pursue her artistic career, remains strongly attached to her roots. The exhibit, organized at Scuderie di Palazzo Moroni, is her first to be held at a public venue in her native city, symbolically emphasising a homecoming.
We are sure this exhibition will confirm her artistic talent and we wish the best for her future career.
For culture | Municipality of Padua (Padova, 2013)
Back to Padova with a solo show that is both a refined synthesis of her artistic career and the projection toward new experimental horizons explored by the artist. ‘The colors used in these works remind me of the Po valley, to which I am strongly attached’ says Zagato, describing the sense of the exhibition to be held at the stables of Palazzo Moroni, reaffirming a strong affection to her Paduan roots.
‘Between the lines’ refers to an area of memory in which the drawn images are only one apparent surface of what it is possible to glimpse. Everything we see is filtered by memory, becoming unconscious memories. Everything we live is forged upon us as subtle lines that one after another engrave our person, modelling us. Nothing goes lost.