Federica Marangoni is a pioneer artist in the ‘60s and ‘70s of the search for so-called new materials: plastics, neons and videos which have marked the artistic expression of the generations after Duchamp and free use of every means to make art.
The fundamental transparency and inconsistency in her conceptual expression are accompanied by a sophisticated technology and a deep knowledge of craft materials that make their works unique.
She has exhibited in Italy and abroad in major museums, galleries and foundations. We mention just a few cities where it left its mark: New York, Tokyo, Madrid, Barcelona, Switzerland, Germany, Milan, Venice, Genoa.
Federica Marangoni is one of the main character of Biennale Art Light Mantova (21 July – 7 October 2018). Thanks to the technical support by F/ ART, the artist exhibited two neon works on the occasion of the second edition of the Biennale Mantovana: “time Maschine” e “the Memory of Light”
For the occasion we have interviewed her.
PICTURE: Federica Marangoni and Marisa Graziati (F/ART). Biennale Art Light Mantova 2018.
1. How and when was born your interest in neon?
The use of neon came into my works at the end of ‘60s. An important evidence is my self-portrait in white neon which had surveyed because it was embedded in its polystyrene negative, a little sarcophagus which held and at the same time protected material. Over the years I cut from perspex empty figures, silhouettes without content only made by an edge, sometimes with their full shadow under the feet of figure. Actually, I used a special Plexiglass of Guzzini of Pomezia in 1970, a little milky which reacted to light of wood or the purple light. Very present in those years, I made also an environment, then it wasn’t called installation. It represented an urban space, a street where in the dark enlightened by wood’ lights, my figures stand out in white pedestrian crossing like made of light. Then you move on neon and realized the self-portrait life size.
2. What are the features of the material more interesting for your job?
Creating with neon is like using manipulated light namely flexible in a specific design. It’s like shaping light works, in this case it is a unique material and more suitable for art. Its peculiarity is being like a work of art. In this case it is superior to the LED. Furthermore, I realized and improved a special Cracked neon which creates the perpetual motion of the light inside a tube filled with tiny glass spheres. It doesn’t lend itself to intricate designs but for certain works it is amazing and spreads dazzling light per concentration into Light’s tube in motion.
3. The expressive researches built on lights are by their nature closely linked to techniques and technologies developments related to the production of light sources. How does your work develop between creative design and technical creation?
Surely I plan with the knowledge of means and with a clear vision of the materials suitable for the best realization, namely I don’t feel in principle bound with a specific material, but I use the most suitable materials with my project. Then glass, video and light always triumph and represent best my artistic language.
PICTURE: Marisa Graziati (F/ART, CEO) and Federica Marangoni. The Venice Glass Week 2017
4. Can you describe your work “the time Maschine” showed in the exhibition at the Biennale Art Light in Mantova? Did you choose to exhibit such work for certain reasons?
I exhibited the time maschine:
A project to reflect on concept of TIME is a very ambitious thought for a figurative artist. There are many philosophers that wrote about this theme, but representing with images and works with a physicality is more and more complex than analysing with words. The time is a thought related to the life itself. It runs with us and finishes with our death.
The surge of light is like the heartbeat, the heart is the time of life. The death is forever and timeless. The years, the hours and minutes are a human thought related to existing and calculated all along by human by means of “Time Maschine”, built and perfected by him; from meridians to modern wristwatch that accompanies us and we check costantly.
I exhibited this work because it seemed perfect for a place which has spoken about the language of great historical heritage, the light of the human mind and its creativity, culture, art for ages.
There everything talks about the weather, the beauty and the richness of past. The golden hourglass was perfect sign for that context.
PICTURE: "Time Maschine", work of Federica Marangoni. Light Art Biennal 2018 Mantova
5. In addition to expressive potentials, neon has conservation features , durability and environmental sustainability much stronger than other lighting sources. Are these aspects taken into account in your design choices?
By the time I started with neon it was a different time. I saw it soon like a new matter for art. It is in addition the sign used for urban messages. Consequently it is perfect for themes I have supported for many years. It talks about the current language. It is handwrought with perfect processors, and then it is lasting. It is important for an art work.
PICTURE: "The leading thread" of Federica Marangoni, Venice 2015. Neon transformers F/ART.
6. The neon has a tradition that matches with the history of visual expressions of XX century, from the visual communication through street furniture until you get to the most experimental artistic researches. How can we enhance this history of the contemporary and promoting even more the creative sector towards the rediscovery of expressive potential of neon?
Nowadays, the wide use in field of art makes it an irreplaceable material. Its craftmanship is its limit and at the same time its power.