Annamaria Ducaton

Annamaria Ducaton at the beginning of her painting research ventured on post-cubism and expressionism, a language allowing her a rational and committed expression, since at that time she believed in art as a clearly intelligible message in which technique and matter were but instrumental accidents. During a long and demanding experience in applied art (especially painting on cloth) she could see the inesplicable and the mysterious hidden in the abysm of matter and in routine procedures of manual ability. Thus it was easy for her to realize the oneiric aspects of the unconscious, the mysterious fascination of the "bottom of the soul" in the secret cool of a dream.
The language used was drawn from pointillism, surrealism, Chagall, and from the mystery of Oriental painting on cloth, in an exotic flavour alluding to Chinese , Indian, late Gothic, Mesopotamian or atypical Egyptian art (Amenophis IV). The most fascinating subject of Ducaton's past experience was the exotic bird, in a flowing melodious line, singing sensuously with its colours - the vital positive elements to contrast the ecological disaster in the world.

Sergio Molesi, 1977

 

 

Annamaria Ducaton is one of the most personal and original painters. Her instinctive and irrational force, her complete surrender to the most stunning inspiration, without the faintest logic or intellectual intervention, give her flaming and barbarian painting the power of a medium. As a matter of fact her still, Moorish, Oriental decorative style, full of arabesques - reminiscent of Klimt, the painter with whom Ducaton has in common also the juxtaposition of backgrounds smoothed down with precious and decorated cloths like cameos or brilliant exotic jewels- is more similar to naives' than surrealists'. Consequently, we can notice the presence of Rousseau, Chagall, Ligabue and above all Sèraphine Louis- which is probably unconscious and more due to spiritual affinity than to direct teaching.
These names are referred only for critical and synoptic reasons to set her original and burning painting. In fact Annamaria Ducaton's style escapes from convenient labelling, as it frequently happens with instinctive people on the spur of the moment almost falling into a trance, when they move to new or unusual forms far from reassuring similarities in the mental pictures at our disposal
.

Ennio Emili, 1977

 

 

The natural energy of the paint and the music combine to express themselves in Annamaria Ducaton’s works. She is a triestine artist of an intense and impetuous temperament, orderly, yet free to move beyond reality. Passion and death, sorrow and joy, ataraxy and catharsis mingle in her tempera with refined intersections composed of light and matter: sand, sparkling dust, soil... her different moods, her explosive maturity and a pinch of luck in her more intimate and profound relationships have brought this artist to tread her way through, to terrestrial bliss.
A spell so intense and biting of skies and landscapes, of horizons, of sea water bathing Spain, recapitulated and interpreted again in an uncoventional style by Ducaton, who through her surreal and fantastical brush-strokes and an inclination towards the symbolical, knows just how to recall the atmosphere and at the same time allow us to bear witness to her state of mind.
Annamaria says: “There is music within me, at the roots of all my painting".
And so the surrealist spirit of this artists guides her gestures as in a spell or dream, towards a world, beyond known boundaries. Just as the first surrealist, Andre Breton, theorised in his Manifesto (Paris ‘24), creating “Nadia” who walked on snow but left no tracks, so Ducaton, ineffably yet intensely, composes her irrational and intuitive backdrops, deciphering, for us, the spirit of Spain, beyond the merely visible.
Some linguistical subtleties strengthen and render the composition of Ducaton’s painting: the substance of her backgrounds, strings of light bring to life her “intuitive landscapes” ornamentally taking their cue from the poetics of the Viennese Secession, and in particular from Gutav Klimt’s painting, but above all from this artist’s interest for the applied arts - especially for the fabric arts and craftworks in which ambit she has worked on projects and created for Italian and foreign fabric industries, designed jewellery, ceramics and embossed objects, as well as showing expertise in handcrafting wood and other materials.

Marianna Accerboni, 2005

Presenze
(dal ciclo "Das Lied von der Erde"
Gustav Mahler)

(1999) mixed technique on canvas
cm. 50x70
(increasable)

 

 

 

 

 

Oscura è la vita, la morte
(dal ciclo "Das Lied von der Erde"
Gustav Mahler)

(1999) mixed technique on canvas
cm. 50x70
(increasable)

 

 

 

 

 

Musica del cosmo
(dal ciclo "Del Canto della Terra
e dell'Assoluto)

(2001) mixed technique on paper
cm. 50x70
(increasable)

 

 

 

 

 

Ondulazioni
(dal ciclo "Del Canto della Terra
e dell'Assoluto)

(2001) mixed technique on paper
cm. 50x70
(increasable)

 

 

 

 

 

Universi
(dal ciclo "Das Lied von der Erde"
Gustav Mahler)

(1999) mixed technique on canvas
cm. 50x70
(increasable)


The Museum of the Jewish Community of Trieste "Carlo and Vera Wagner" is full of shadows. Whoever has eyes can see them, whoever has ears can hear them. Annamaria Ducaton is an artist who lives together with them. Torn from her father's affection, she has been reconciled to life by the shadows she looked for and found in the far off lands of space and time. Annamaria Ducaton's painting is the essence of today's icy transparent surfaces on which sharply and precisely she marked the signs of the fifty years from Anna Frank's Diary to our time. The thick liquid colours and the sharp outline of the background are necessary qualities of the multiple symbols. We belong to a present, half a century later than the feelings evoked here, as it is clearly proved by some modest allusions, the barbed wire, the barren trees, the towers and the candles, the doves...
It is an art which says everything or nothing of it, in the same act of protecting one's tenderness, the teenager's look to constellations disappeared from yesterday's sky, missing from today's dark sky, crossed as it is by satellaties and missiles, guilty of international massacres, and in the act of protecting one's hopes. When I look at the sky I think all this will happen again for the best, also this cruelty will finish, the world order will know peace and tranquillity.
This is written in Anna Frank's Diary
.

Giulio Montenero, 1995

 

 

Annamaria Ducaton commits to matter a spiritual value, aware of the fact that this is the common language which life uses to express itself. She looks on nature and creates a matter making it sing poetry and music - the eternal song of the whole existence. The earth, its geological solidity, the water, the air, the flower, the grass, the sky become singing matter, turning in time into blood and flesh. Looking at these works it seems as if the only ephemeral image is the human shadow in it. Is it so? Are the faceless figures looming out - all of us, and those in the past and in the future living as we do, loving, suffering and wondering why- there to rimind us that in its ephemeral weakness the human creature is more than the bulb sleeping in the ground, waiting for the favourable chemical and weather conditions to bloom? Is it the loftiest song never attempted by matter?
In these works matter is poetry - the lyiric art- it is the miracle throbbing with life before the icy, deathlike silence. It is not even like chaos but in its roughness, in its wise superimpositions, in its Oriental and baroque redundancy, in the marks that separate and order it, it claims a premeval role, a harmony asking for reverence to be perceived, a fundamental step that we should always take into account in our life. The works produced after such an experience - which is complete, which asks the painter to mix colours with memories and dreams - are not part of the artistic practice as we intend it today, aiming more superficially to practical results, a fake objectivity. They are more than that. They are the map of that way that can go downwards till the threshold of nothing, where one can get lost and then climb up, descend into the earth- the marvellous womb to- be born again, carrying very precious gifts which give life hope beyond reason. Something the world has always needed.

Claudio H. Martelli, 1997

 

 

My impressions on Annamaria Ducaton’s works are not those of an art critic, but of a regular person. At most, a person whose long-standing habit of studying and comparing the way people express their inner selves leads him to look at these paintings with great interest, since they translate spiritual elements from many disparate fields into shapes and colours. These paintings bring to mind not only existential situations and feelings, but also music and sound. Looking at some of the works, one cannot help but think of music score, one for an entire orchestra rather than a single instrument. This image, however, does not ring completely true. The paintings are not musical scores, they are actual music. Not a depiction of sound, but sound itself. And I get the urge to sing along to the music, which, strangely enough, I perceive with my eyes rather than my ears. This visual expression of impressions – not just music and sound, but all spiritual or inner stirrings – can perhaps be found in every work of art. Nevertheless, Ducaton’s paintings seem to convey them with a particular expressive immediacy. Perhaps, when I said that they make me want to sing, I managed to express in the most accurate way possible the true nature of these works.

Cesare Musatti

Sixteen years after her cycle on the Fifth – the tormented and fascinating “cursed” symphony - Annamaria Ducaton returns to Mahler. It is a rekindling of an old flame and another intriguing occasion for an artist who enjoys inter-disciplinary contact between languages, and the spiritual and historical scenarios for a complex discourse, which unfolds over time and through memory. Her stylistic evolution leads her towards a natural landing place and contributes her experience as a painter to Mahlerian symphonism through the “Lied von der Erde”.
Having acquired great relevance for the present, this emblem of past greatness can cast his disquieting spells, which become irresistible stimuli for an artist with Ducaton’s visionary sensitivity. It is thus no surprise than after the paintings dedicated to the Firth comes this cycle on the “Song of the Earth”, a symphony sung as a Liederkreis, written between 1907 and 1908 for two soloists and an orchestra, and inspired by ancient Chinese poems drawn from “The Chinese Flute” in keeping with Hans Bethges’s German tradition. In Mahler’s masterpiece, Orientalism is only a Jugendstil decoration on a much deeper theme: an exotic reflection that merely brushes Annamaria Ducaton’s vision. The heartbeat of the infinite that makes the “Song” truly great is its contemplation of life – as expressed by Nature constantly renewing itself – at death’s door.
“It is as if the sudden awareness of death had dissolved the solidity of the world, leaving it vividly marked with thin grooves and clear watercolours”. These musings by Deryck Cooke (the English musicologist who prepared the performing draft of Mahler’s Tenth Symphony) are a useful key to understanding both Gustav Mahler’s “Song” and Annamaria Ducaton’s figurative Canticle, whose earth – with its folds of matter and its precious, granular hues permeated by light suspended in space and time – is truly the key to a passage to infinity. This cosmic landscape is the backdrop for the Trieste-born painter’s latest exploration, in all its touching sensitivity: a sequence that ends (almost as if it were searching for that “point towards infinity” indicated by Quirino Principe) with the stunning metaphysical image of a sky that is both earth and sky simultaneously, where music has white wings and the golden chords of an aeolian harp, and where Mahler’s eternal echo of our final farewell rings and fades away.

Gianni Gori

In the art of Annamaria Ducaton anyone who has eyes to hear, ears to see, a brain to touch and taste and aspire, five impatient senses all ready to build up pure symbolic forms, can notice the presence of a fundamental tension, so persistent that we cannot even feel its vibrations. This tension is more secret than mystery, more waiting than secret, more expectation of an impromptu composition (of a καιρός) than pursuit of a plan. The creator allows the tiger imagined by Borges (with all its alluring and aggressive symbology) to look for her; it is not she who seeks the beast, the fauve. Annamaria Ducaton is an artist accustomed to hiding in Aristotelian fashion behind her work (ό πλάδας έφάυιδευ), but she cannot, nor does she wish to, hide the exclusive relationship, the bond of consanguinity, that links her to the music and musical thought of Gustav Mahler. Years ago she had a chance meeting with Mahler, whom no less than Fate caused to cross her path. In her relationship with the composer and perhaps not only within the boundaries and outlines of that relationship, Annamaria is not an artist of the image, a “painter” (to speak in common terms) who interprets Mahler in the way that Otto Runge interpreted Beethoven, Max Klinger interpreted Brahms, Mariano Fortuny and Paul Joukowsky interpreted Wagner, Kandinsky interpreted Schönberg. Annamaria Ducaton is (or tends to be, with infinitesimal approximation) a kind of variation who speaks and acts “like” Mahler in the language offered to her by another art form, her own. The translation of Das Lied von der Erde into images, with infinite horizons illuminated in blue (the colour of the most remote, ultimate distance) is the key that gives access to profound sheltered zones of the artist’s heart. There is no need to be a musician or even to know the language of music and its laws and victories if one wants to hear the “Mahlerian sound” of Annamaria’s art at first glance. The crests of the mountains, aflame with an over-exciting and transfiguring fantasy of colour, are at the same time symbolic forms and sudden, revealing visions. Annamaria Ducaton was once saved and converted by Mahler. She speaks to him and seems to know him intimately, even his most unavowable shadows. In a twelfth-century Breton romance, Sir Gawain climbs with his hands uselessly gloved in steel along two sharp sword blades one hundred miles long: a cruel bridge that was to lead him to the window in the tower of a remote castle, where stood an enigmatic woman, drawing him like a magnet. Inverting their roles, Annamaria approaches Mahler with pain and with infinite progressive small victories. We should watch her and follow.

Quirino Principe

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