Developing her works as installations or video-installations, Alessandra Tesi has focused her interest on the memory that defines the identity of places encountered, and she has succeeded in revealing the subtle ambiguity that lies hidden in each space’s capacity to organize its function. Tesi’s images, often projected on experimental materials that stress the direction of the light, capture the invisible and stage it within the realm of the real world.
Invited to exhibit in the project room at the Castello di Rivoli, Tesi created Interference Pearl, 1999, currently installed as a permanent work in the Manica Lunga. The piece emerges from Tesi’s definition of the Castello di Rivoli “as a design of an absence.” The Castello’s uniqueness lies not only in the grandeur of the project conceived by Filippo Juvarra in 1718, but also in the fact that construction work was interrupted after only one-third of the structure had been built. For the material of her work the artist has taken the void that separates the two buildings. “The plan that separates the Castello from the Manica Lunga,” says the artist, “is the design of the point at which desire stopped.” Tesi appropriated the layout that indicates the position of walls and piers designed by Juvarra, visible today on the paving of the courtyard, thanks to the restoration by Andrea Bruno. These foundations were meant to support the most significant portions of the residence: the entrance atrium and the principal reception hall, a place of representation par excellence. Using software such as AutoCAD and 3D Studio, the artist has projected into the space the two-dimensional design of the architectural layout, employing strict mathematical calculations to obtain optical distortions similar to an anamorphic depiction. Entering Interference Pearl is like accessing a private space, where desires run simultaneously in different directions. The iridescent pearl paint that covers the walls is crisscrossed by the grid of the drawing related to the never-built architecture related to the acrylic colors. Significantly, they are called “interferences,” because they are mutable, depending on the angle of refraction of the light.
The idea of reflection, like a pulsating light that reveals images that would otherwise be hidden, is also present in the video installation Nuit F—75003 (Night F—75003), 1999, in which the projector is directed toward a bed of sky-blue sequins placed on the floor. The work is a vision of the energy, colors, and sounds that belong to the nocturnal city. While it was filmed in Paris and titled with the zip code for the area where the artist lives, the video does not contain any narrative element, preferring instead to tell the story of any city, through details such as police sirens, or the lights of a pinball machine in a bar.