With her Italy in My Heart project, shown as part of the offsite program of the 55th Venice Biennale, the Artist managed to create a very personal image of the country. Here, a traveller’s notes are intertwined with cinematic reminiscences.
Ms. Marina Fedorova is often inspired by the theme of travel. Previously there had been exhibitions devoted to France (2007) and Finland (2011); the Italian project will be followed by series about Montenegro (2015), United Kingdom (2017), and Germany (2018). One thing they all share is a special mood, a state of excited anticipation of something new, immersion into the world of unexpected discoveries, and of course multiple references to the iconic film imagery.
Italian culture has always held a special place in the heart of the Russian/Soviet public, with many Italian films already perceived today as part of our native cultural realm. In Federico Fellini, Ms. Fedorova quotes Fellini’s famous film La Dolce Vita (1960). The characters of Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg are painted in black and white, alluding to the black and white film aesthetics.
At the same time, Ms. Fedorova is sketching the modern Italian life she glimpsed during her trip (Venice Biennale, Lido). Her painting technique develops a new texture in this series: it becomes voluminous. The Artist makes use of impasto, additionally expanding the visual space of the painting (Boat, Italian Police, Bathtub, Evening).
At times, the Artist turns to the traditional pictorial scheme: classical masters usually work the shadows with thin brushstrokes, whereas for the highlights rich pasty colours are added.
In Beach, a female figure is shown against the background of a sunny beach. Here the Artist makes full use of her painting craftsmanship, emphasizing the volume-building capacities of paint. The sandy coast gains a nearly abstract dimension.
Venetian carnivals, masks, baroque fountains, elegant gondolas, the greenish water of the canals and the magical world of cinema can be found over and over all across this sun-drenched and airy series. They are imbued with true Italian charm, with that inimitable feeling of pleasure, lightness, playfulness and freedom that came to be called La Dolce Vita.
Anastasia Karlova, Ph.D.
Curator of the Department of Contemporary Art, State Russian Museum,