There are memories of a mystery, female faces that lead back to voluptuous dreams, tolls of flayed memory, scratched away by a special bitter melancholia made sweet by the yearning and sublimation of sensual feverish emotion.
The images created by Serena Luna Raggi, her shapes carved out in the balance of a harmonic absolute are like shards of diamond, with shining refractions, time and time again misplaced and then brought back into their own private labyrinth of light.
The artist’s entire visual imagery is inhabited by beauty, intended as an exploration of what is feasible and as a transgression of certainties: the eternal universal feminine image is the tale of the human being’s history, of its necessary and inevitable relationship with aspects of the sacred and the symbols it is regulated by, of spiritual intimacy revealed by the composition of a gesture, of a thought that has taken shape.
While the subject of Serena Luna Raggi’s works is always the woman, the origin of the universe is dominated by the feminine: ancient mythology tells us of Gaia, the mother earth, who is so close – at the beginning of everything – to Chaos (which, in Greek, is a neutral-gendered, not male, noun); without the need to mate, from the depths of Gaia was born Eros, a single early form of love which conveys its energy into the universe. What the Mother Earth frees and reveals is the indistinct, the undifferentiated which resides within her darkness. Even Hindu mythology tells us of a female goddess which generates autonomously, uniting into one single sign the founding nature of the origin of all there is.
Then will come Time and Memory: time gnaws, grinds down, eats away; memory collects, unites, prevents dispersion, brings the all back to the one and vice versa.
Within a hypothetical precipitation of personal moods and emotional concentrations of spirit, the artist repays us with the story of the universe whilst avoiding narration completely: hers is a personal creation of myth, performed through symbology, suggestions, residual evocations like fragments of the thinkable vastity.
There is no separation between individual ethics and artistic practice: the works become a natural extension of the artist, the expansion of a living and enlivening poetic body. It’s no coincidence that, often, personal objects such as fabrics and jewellery enter the composition and complete the final work, adding themselves to the colours and to the painted shapes: these are signs of passing, recollections of travels, of persons that have been encountered, of transformations that have occurred, of fragments of memories, a metamorphosis that underlines and testifies the object’s unexpected odyssey.
In the works of Serena Luna Raggi the importance given to colour is central, as a leading character and as a voice which sings modulating the harmony of the painted image: from the gold of Byzantium to the crimson and turquoise of Persia and the warm reddening fabric of Andalusian mantillas, the contrast recalls a pictorial alchemy which, winding up on itself, toys with the hypothesis of absoluteness. Her use of colour is almost “philosophical”, thoughtful, certainly melancholy in a sweet way and included within itself, resisting and contrasting the cheerfulness of pictorial inspiration.
Her closeups of women are set within scenes with multi-coloured geometries, almost like a mandala which – as the etymology of the Sanskrit term would indicate – completes and organises the space of the sacred, holding the essence of universal energy. The word “Sacred” is intended in the most literal and ancient way possible, as something separate and distant, and therefore unknowable and, for this very reason, attractive, mysterious, burning in the enigma of an endless flame.
While the artist’s iconographical aesthetics are chiefly directed towards the Orient, its fundamental characteristic is universality, the source, encounter, and transformation of all cultures, stratified through the most diverse symbolisms. Rose and jasmine scents waft out, the warm image of the chromatic mixtures follows the complex weave of the fabric, the liquid expansion of the sinuosity hides oversights, clouding over the nature of things with a resolved silence that clings to the horizon, pressing on the soul while the grounded moisture of a moonlit night thickens over the opaque glaze of an undecided and magnetic day.
Synchronous and visionary at the same time, Serena Luna Raggi’s paintings penetrate the density of what is perceivable while searching for a universal harmony, imagining the tale of what happened an instant before it became ancient.
To paraphrase the words of Artaud, “…it’s not the representation, it is life itself within that is unrepresentable”.
Serena Luna Raggi was born in Bologna, Italy, in 1989. Her work has been displayed in a number of Italian art galleries and abroad.