The vision of an organic architecture in the artistic research of Paola Anziché. Design Paola Anziché. Text Francesca Picchi. Photos Paola Anziché, Endstart.

If the carpet as a “limited fraction of space” seems central to this work by Paola Anziché, it is because, as she explains, it acts as a “physical metaphor for an idea of territory, as well of travel, transition and nomadism. It can be worn; it can be used as a shelter as well as a temporary lightweight construction”. At the same time, however, Paola Anziché’s search for environmental unity between objects, bodily gestures, choreographed actions, movement, thought, unexpected figures and sculptural installations seems more concerned with the energy produced by the group action – as it develops – than with the aesthetic results. The work requires bodily participation and, as well as clothing the body, it asks it to move and dance. As they “wear” the work, put it on, enter into it, pass through it, dance and walk, the dancers’ bodies unleash the expressive potential of its structure, which rejects a permanent form, one that is fixed forever in an unmovable state that allows no change.

In Anziché’s work, the relationship with objects is the focus from which the movement of the work spreads and defines the formal field of action, which Francesca Pasini, curator of the performance, identifies as the “formal scenario”, a play of references between textile, text and roof. According to Pasini, “In the Tapis-à-porter performance, the object taken as the text has values that contain a special architectural concept. The carpet in itself is a metaphor for a text in which weft and warp create a weave (textum), whose tectum variant acquires the meaning of roof. The textual and architectural constructions are linked by a metaphor for human living, made of words, thoughts, houses, ground and sky. On one hand the carpet is ornament, and on the other it is protection, just like the words that come together in a text, the threads that form the weft and warp, the beams and tiles employed to build a roof.”

In order to investigate the carpet’s ability to “act” or to trigger action, Anziché initially created Tapis Accroché. It can be described as a preparatory work because its figurative force (the work comes together as a series of photographs) seems to have served as a starting point from which to bring into focus the potential of an object selected for its power as a “device for interaction”.

In previous works, such as the Functional Fake objects (2007), Flash Out (2008), White wooden chair (2006), the close relationship with objects had already become the point of engagement with the overlapping of meanings and relations belonging to two generally separate areas of expression (design and the bodily expression contained in dancing). The dialogue between body and objects does not play by the rules: unpredictable and incidental, it unleashes energy.

Anziché might make reference, among other things, to Hélio Oiticica’s Parangolé (not so much a work as a “place where the artistic experience is based”), his Penetráveis, or Lygia Clark’s work, her roupa-corpo-roupa series (which, back in 1967, Pierre Restany described in Domus as “sensorial objects”, “garments with multiple pockets, suits worn by two people with tactile areas, intended for alternate contact – an ‘active’ communication method based on gestures…”), or the work of Tobias Rehberger (who was one of her teachers at the Städelschule in Frankfurt). But whatever the case, it is as if it were only via movement (and the choreographed actions that constitute its grammar) that Anziché manages to follow the train of thought because, as Rebecca Solnit pointed out in her Wanderlust. A History of Walking, “The motions of the mind cannot be traced, but those of the feet can.” Similarly, the flow of thought is expressed in movement (just as the rhythm of walking generates a sort of rhythm of thought). This occurs, for instance, in the walking action when “the mind, the body and the world” are aligned as if they were “three characters finally in conversation together, three notes suddenly making a chord”, because “walking allows us to be in our bodies and in the world without being made busy by them. It leaves us free to think without being wholly lost in our thoughts.”

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