MARCO MAGRINI | HAPPY ISLANDS?
” ‘Happy Islands?’ Islands have always attracted and repelled me at the same time. Attracted, because while on the boat that’s taking me there I can’t wait to arrive; repelled,
” ‘Happy Islands?’
Islands have always attracted and repelled me at the same time. Attracted, because while on the boat that’s taking me there I can’t wait to arrive; repelled, as once I’ve got there I can’t wait to get away…
Very mixed feelings, in no way dependent on the size of the island itself; it could be a rock in the middle of the ocean or Sardinia, they are the same for me.
The fascination stems from being in an encapsulated world, a ‘fortress’ surrounded by the sea, a separate, autonomous entity, reassuring and isolated from the rest of the world. The rejection is the exact opposite, the disquiet at not being free to come and go, how and when I want, to have to depend on others (be it for a ferry or a flight).
An island can soon become claustrophobic….
That is why the overall title for this body of work ends with a question mark: Are islands happy, or not? Are they happy and unhappy at the same time? Or something else besides?
I have visited real islands, theoretical islands and perceived islands (The Convent of Saint Catherine in the Sinai, Urbino or Venice). Currently, I’m working on painting fantastic islands, islands full of color to house my world of images: shadows, silhouettes, fish, graffiti, knives, bees and wasps, athletes and gymnasts, frogs, dolphins, animal tracks, swings and children’s games.
Over the years, the Mediterranean basin and its different cultures, above all Egypt and Greece with her many islands, have become fundamental to my work and my being.
I lived and worked in Egypt for long periods between 1982 and 2007 and held a number of solo shows there: in 1988 at the Italian Cultural Institute, first in Cairo and subsequently in Alessandria. In 1994, 2000 and 2004, I showed my work at the Mashrabia Gallery in Cairo.
This recent series of works, the ‘Happy Islands’ strongly reflects my life in Egypt, particularly in the contrasts between the reds and oranges and the blacks and blues, just like day and night. Also in the recurring images of knives, that ‘perch’ on the islands themselves, constantly reminding me of an enigmatic cartouche I read in the Egyptian Museum: ‘To him who is on his knife’.
I have worked long and hard to interpret and give form and shape to this phrase; here are some of my results, islands that ‘carry’ images that carry islands…
I always work on paper, combining and overlaying painting techniques that are compatible with each other: acrylics, watercolor, tempera, wax crayons, pencils, colored inks, Indian ink, felt-pens, rubber stamps, collage…
A world in constant movement, precariously balanced, with forms interweaving, like living in a giant kaleidoscope. To paraphrase Rainer Maria Rilke, ‘Paradise is none other than a giant mine of images’.” – Marco Magrini
Courtesy of Mashrabia Gallery Of Contemporary Art
April 10 (Saturday) - May 10 (Monday)
Mashrabia Gallery Of Contemporary Art
15, Mahmoud Bassiouny St. Qasr El-Nil, Cairo, Egypt