Bruna Esposito

The works of Bruna Esposito can be compared to poetic compositions, in which power and lightness continually encounter each other in an apparently fragile balance, capable, however, of opening up profound spaces of reflection. Esposito’s installations are metaphorical places that can contain a multiplicity of interpretations, setting up conditions for a direct dialogue with each individual visitor. Skillfully calibrated, Esposito’s pieces are sometimes constructed with an intentional economy of means, according to choices that favor rigor over a search for the spectacular.

Aquarell—bitte nicht betreten (Watercolor—Please Keep Off), 1988, features a garden bench, identical in proportions and design to those used in many public parks, but with the horizontal planks made from mirrors. Using this material, instead of the usual wood or iron, Esposito creates a sculpture that seems conceived to transform its three-dimensionality into an almost invisible image, as light as the watercolor of the work’s title. The reflective material makes the bench dependent on the surrounding environment, endowing it with an intentionally fleeting identity. The appearance of Aquarell is never the same, since it is subject to atmospheric conditions, the degree of sunlight, and the proximity of the viewer. This fluctuating identity corresponds to a fragility that is inherent in the chosen material, which is poorly suited to resisting wear and tear. However, as is often the case in Esposito’s work, this fragility is only apparent. In fact, the use of mirror prevents the bench from being functional. Dangerously sharp, it does not invite people to sit and admire a view, but rather directs attention to itself. This subtle reversal creates an important shift of meaning, which inserts the identity of the viewer into the point of view that the work offers.

Nettles are part of Aquarell, and, according to the artist’s instructions, must grow around the bench, as if to define its territory. The plants, which also thrust up between the planks of the seat and the back of the bench, establish a more complete fusion of the work with the natural environment, making it part of it. A tool of defense, the nettles protect the work, partly hiding it. The work’s subtitle, bitte nicht betreten (Please Keep Off), constitutes a request for respect. Following her personal working methodology, the artist chose to place the piece in the garden of the Museum, in a slightly shielded position, so that its presence can be discovered gradually, without imposing itself on visitors.

[M.B.]

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