Moira Ricci

Through two of her recent projects, presented in the “Capitale Terreno” exhibition, the Italian artist acts as storyteller, mixing private and collective memories.

Moira Ricci was born in Orbetello, in the Maremma countryside, a key biographical detail in her case as her work revolves around a fundamental relationship with the people and stories of her native world.
Her first and extensively exhibited project 20.12.53-10.08-04 consisted in a number of rediscovered and reworked photographs of her mother, who died prematurely. Nostalgia was a driving stimulus for that work, with the artist inserting a self-portrait into every photograph and turning the whole into an earnest dialogue and reflection on memory and absence.
Moira Ricci
In apertura e qui sopra: Moira Ricci, Dove il cielo è più vicino
The focus of her next works shifted to places of origin, observed with clarity but also with a strong connection, drawing out their character and changes, and citing their legends. The “Capitale Terreno” exhibition presents two of her recent projects: 2014 and Da buio a buio. The former consists in a number of large colour photographs and two videos. With a visionary drive, the artist speaks of a land in crisis and increasingly less cultivated. Simple farm buildings still dot the landscape but have lost their purpose and lie in a state of abandon, which is why Ricci sees their walls as blind ones. In the Poderi photographs, these constructions, deprived of their windows, resolutely continue to stand between sky and earth, their volumes exalted by an unworldly luminosity that shrouds them with a sense of elegy, a hint prayer.
Moira Ricci
Moira Ricci, Dove il cielo è più vicino
Farms abandoned by impoverished farmers, disaffected and oppressed by feelings of inadequacy in modern life, are the subject of the Trebbia-Astronave film In it, we see farmers working to turn a  tractor into a spaceship. They all share the dream, doomed to failure, of escaping the much-loved Earth and reaching for the sky. This prompts them to produce a collective work which illustrates approaches and relationships typical of an agricultural society that is being lost. For weeks, the artist filmed the construction phases and then condensed them into a video.  
Moira Ricci
Moira Ricci, Lupo Mannaro, Da buio a buio
The project includes Il Diavolo Mietitore, an overhead vision of two large circles mown in the fields with a plough and set on fire. This is a reference to the English legend of the mowing-devil, who punishes a farmer for not wanting to pay a labourer fairly for his work. Although the image unavoidably evokes much land art of the past, the reference to such a concrete and current situation and its rooting in a specific and personally experienced context change its sign, giving it a different and profoundly original dimension.
As Moira Ricci herself says, the Dove il cielo è più vicino project as a whole “is a prayer to the sky but also a threat to those controlling us from above. It’s a portrait of farms that have lost their identity and meaning. It’s an attempt to flee but the equal inability to put it into practice.”
Moira Ricci
Moira Ricci, Uomosasso, Da buio a buio
The second work in the exhibition is Da buio a buio, on which the artist worked from 2009 to 2015. It features characters from folk tales drawn from the cultural heritage of the Maremma people. Their stories accompanied Moira Ricci’s childhood and she now “records” them in newspaper clippings, video recordings, photographs and sounds: imagined extracts from memories and  local family archives. The result is four fictitious but plausible stories on the passage through the world of four minor mythological figures charged with anthropological overtones: the Boar-Child, the Werewolf, the Stone-Man and the Twins, part human, part animal.
Moira Ricci
Moira Ricci, Gemellini, Da buio a buio
Again, the artist acts as storyteller, mixing private and collective memories in tales that come to form an extremely poetic whole. Her first work, dedicated to her mother, visited several moments of the woman’s life, painting a picture of an environment and an era. In this new research phase, her gaze has broadened to address an entire situation and her personal sensitivity is interlaced with geographical, political and environmental issues. Without forgoing existential sensitivity and a sense of the unexpected, the unpredictable and the unexplored, they are filled with affection, humour and are profoundly humane.
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