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Mugna Art Gallery is a platform dedicated to promoting local culture and fostering creativity through supporting emerging and undiscovered artists, offering a space for artistic expression and interaction with the community and wider audiences.

February 11 to March 26, 2023

States of Mind

A Dialogue Between the Inner Self and Multiple Realities
Viviana Riccelli
MUGNA Gallery
Valencia, Negros Oriental, Philippines

About

Viviana Riccelli explores the various states of mind where the artist and her viewers can voyage, float, dream, and eventually discover their identities. The subjects of these artworks are based on what she has seen and perceived in the mystical island of Siquijor portrayed in colors taken from flora, birds, fish, local clothing, and the spirit of the local people, illuminated in very bright sunlight. “I aim at creating hidden realities behind walls of colors.” She paints the geography, surrounding waters, and most importantly, tales of magic. All types of folks on the island believe in the existence of an unseen world. They wear protective amulets with spells, and are certain of malevolent and benevolent spirits, and of herbalist healers. Much of these emerge from their total dependence on the elements of nature and regular close encounters with death. The locals turn to magic as a way of trying to control the world. Riccelli suggests that art has that same purpose for humanity; thus, art and magic are the same, and Siquijor is the right place for her to be.

The large paintings contain repetitive lines suggesting movement and dynamism, as if elements are flowing or in states of flux. They exude vibrant energy, translucent colors overlapping. Some of them are textured with fabric or paper pieces. Riccelli brings objects from her world into her paintings, connecting her physical surroundings with other realities. Predominant in most of the works is a vortex. Riccelli attempts to depict a trance-like state that would suddenly overcome her as a child, a moment that takes her away from time and space, a state of temporary absence from reality.

The small works simulate visual poems, inviting us to reflect quietly, so that we find amongst the contradictions of our world a kind of peace. Riccelli’s abstractions are not purely optical effects. One can sense the metaphysical notions behind them. Many things we see in this world are not entirely comprehensible; likewise, some phenomena cannot be accurately verbalized and defined. Abstract art has origins in the dawn of humanity with symbolic cave paintings. Written language also evolved through abstracted pictures. From the very beginning, art was a form of communication. By working with abstraction today, Riccelli applies the very essence of art to current realities in the hope that it illuminates the multiple states within all of us.

By Stephanie Frondoso

Viviana Riccelli responds to her immediate surroundings in the mystical island of Siquijor. Born in Italy, Riccelli studied art in her birthplace Rome, as well as in Venice and Umbria, where she apprenticed under Abstract Expressionist Nicolas Carone. As Riccelli’s mentor, he played an important role in her formation, mainly teaching her how to see with a multidimensional view of the world and to be able to reassemble this view into abstraction.

While in Italy, Riccelli also trained in murals and frescoes with restoration conservators and learned to make sculptures in terracotta and other ceramics. To this day, she follows antique recipes when working with gouache. Under another rewarding apprenticeship with American artist Beverly Pepper, who permanently moved to Umbria, Riccelli further developed skills in sculpture, contributing sculptural solutions that built her confidence in the practice.

From 1978 to 2011, Riccelli had gradually become a true citizen of the world, living and working in numerous countries including Italy, Germany, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Sudan, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Thailand. Alongside making art and being in touch with local art scene, she spent time in these places working for the UNHCR and for the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, experiences that strengthened her stand on humanitarian issues and shaped her personality. Together with her husband, a German cultural anthropologist, she lived with tribes and other local people in very remote places, keenly aware of the politics of each region, which was crucial in her attempts to understand and learn from other realities far from her cultural roots. Among the humanitarian problems she is passionate about are global migration, the refugee crisis and HIV AIDS policies. It was her goal to be at the forefront of complex situations, in solidarity with people who struggle in their daily lives, always curious of the world’s realities, constantly discovering and exchanging ideas with other cultures.

Her community work continued n Siquijor with teenagers, organizing art workshops where they paint together with the goal of promoting their sense of collaboration and solidarity. It is her aim to encourage self-confidence and provide them with motivation to pursue their aspirations, to be constructive, active in finding their goals, satisfied with themselves.

Within a rural environment, Riccelli creates automatic paintings and abstract landscapes, “searching into a void where multidimensional planes and states of mind overlap in the picture plane, where emotions can be made real.” She explores unconscious figures that arise as if from a dream or hallucination. These interconnected planes between reality and imagination stem from her fascination with the theory of the fourth dimension. The fourth-dimension theory proposes that along with length, width and depth, time also plays a part in unpredictable ways, beyond immediate perception. In the 1950s and 1960s, the spatial fourth dimension concept became a central idea in Cubism, Surrealism, Futurism and Abstract Art. In the 1980s, the string theory of physics emerged, with its 10 or 11-dimensional universes, thus ushering it in as an important theme in contemporary art and culture. Riccelli’s multiple picture planes reflect these various levels that can meld and interact, events occurring simultaneously in alternate universes.

The paintings, drawings and mixed media works are an amalgamation of Riccelli’s deep experiences, her studies and technical knowledge, and the influence of her latest habitat. They are based on what she has seen and perceived in Siquijor: the constant sounds from birds and insects communicating day and night, the geography of forests, hills, valleys, and water that surround her home, and most importantly, the tales of magic. All types of folks on the island, from fishermen to educated professionals, believe in the existence of an unseen world. They wear protective amulets, objects with spells, and are certain of malevolent and benevolent spirits living in the trees, of mermaids– enchanting creatures that live in the seas, and of herbalist healers. Much of these emerge from their total dependence on the elements of nature and regular close encounters with death. Riccelli interprets such common encounters, positioning works-in-progress all over her house, looking at them for hours every day, until she decides that there is nothing further to express. She gives utmost importance to drawing, considering it essential to any artist and important for the exploration of possibilities. Her paintings and mixed media involve acrylic, watercolor, oil, gauche and collage– the subjects layered with elements of imagination and emotions, portrayed in brilliant colors taken from flora, birds, fish, local clothing patterns, as illuminated with very bright sunlight. “I aim at creating hidden realities behind walls of colors.” This is how she conveys the fourth dimension: a cosmic universe in which our world might merely be a shadow or section of a higher dimensional existence.

-by Stephanie Frondoso

Viviana Riccelli explores the various states of mind where the artist and her viewers can voyage, float, dream, and eventually discover their identities. The subjects of these artworks are based on what she has seen and perceived in the mystical island of Siquijor portrayed in colors taken from flora, birds, fish, local clothing, and the spirit of the local people, illuminated in very bright sunlight. “I aim at creating hidden realities behind walls of colors.” She paints the geography, surrounding waters, and most importantly, tales of magic. All types of folks on the island believe in the existence of an unseen world. They wear protective amulets with spells, and are certain of malevolent and benevolent spirits, and of herbalist healers. Much of these emerge from their total dependence on the elements of nature and regular close encounters with death. The locals turn to magic as a way of trying to control the world. Riccelli suggests that art has that same purpose for humanity; thus, art and magic are the same, and Siquijor is the right place for her to be.

The large paintings contain repetitive lines suggesting movement and dynamism, as if elements are flowing or in states of flux. They exude vibrant energy, translucent colors overlapping. Some of them are textured with fabric or paper pieces. Riccelli brings objects from her world into her paintings, connecting her physical surroundings with other realities. Predominant in most of the works is a vortex. Riccelli attempts to depict a trance-like state that would suddenly overcome her as a child, a moment that takes her away from time and space, a state of temporary absence from reality.

The small works simulate visual poems, inviting us to reflect quietly, so that we find amongst the contradictions of our world a kind of peace. Riccelli’s abstractions are not purely optical effects. One can sense the metaphysical notions behind them. Many things we see in this world are not entirely comprehensible; likewise, some phenomena cannot be accurately verbalized and defined. Abstract art has origins in the dawn of humanity with symbolic cave paintings. Written language also evolved through abstracted pictures. From the very beginning, art was a form of communication. By working with abstraction today, Riccelli applies the very essence of art to current realities in the hope that it illuminates the multiple states within all of us.

By Stephanie Frondoso

Viviana Riccelli responds to her immediate surroundings in the mystical island of Siquijor. Born in Italy, Riccelli studied art in her birthplace Rome, as well as in Venice and Umbria, where she apprenticed under Abstract Expressionist Nicolas Carone. As Riccelli’s mentor, he played an important role in her formation, mainly teaching her how to see with a multidimensional view of the world and to be able to reassemble this view into abstraction.

While in Italy, Riccelli also trained in murals and frescoes with restoration conservators and learned to make sculptures in terracotta and other ceramics. To this day, she follows antique recipes when working with gouache. Under another rewarding apprenticeship with American artist Beverly Pepper, who permanently moved to Umbria, Riccelli further developed skills in sculpture, contributing sculptural solutions that built her confidence in the practice.

From 1978 to 2011, Riccelli had gradually become a true citizen of the world, living and working in numerous countries including Italy, Germany, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Sudan, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Thailand. Alongside making art and being in touch with local art scene, she spent time in these places working for the UNHCR and for the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, experiences that strengthened her stand on humanitarian issues and shaped her personality. Together with her husband, a German cultural anthropologist, she lived with tribes and other local people in very remote places, keenly aware of the politics of each region, which was crucial in her attempts to understand and learn from other realities far from her cultural roots. Among the humanitarian problems she is passionate about are global migration, the refugee crisis and HIV AIDS policies. It was her goal to be at the forefront of complex situations, in solidarity with people who struggle in their daily lives, always curious of the world’s realities, constantly discovering and exchanging ideas with other cultures.

Her community work continued n Siquijor with teenagers, organizing art workshops where they paint together with the goal of promoting their sense of collaboration and solidarity. It is her aim to encourage self-confidence and provide them with motivation to pursue their aspirations, to be constructive, active in finding their goals, satisfied with themselves.

Within a rural environment, Riccelli creates automatic paintings and abstract landscapes, “searching into a void where multidimensional planes and states of mind overlap in the picture plane, where emotions can be made real.” She explores unconscious figures that arise as if from a dream or hallucination. These interconnected planes between reality and imagination stem from her fascination with the theory of the fourth dimension. The fourth-dimension theory proposes that along with length, width and depth, time also plays a part in unpredictable ways, beyond immediate perception. In the 1950s and 1960s, the spatial fourth dimension concept became a central idea in Cubism, Surrealism, Futurism and Abstract Art. In the 1980s, the string theory of physics emerged, with its 10 or 11-dimensional universes, thus ushering it in as an important theme in contemporary art and culture. Riccelli’s multiple picture planes reflect these various levels that can meld and interact, events occurring simultaneously in alternate universes.

The paintings, drawings and mixed media works are an amalgamation of Riccelli’s deep experiences, her studies and technical knowledge, and the influence of her latest habitat. They are based on what she has seen and perceived in Siquijor: the constant sounds from birds and insects communicating day and night, the geography of forests, hills, valleys, and water that surround her home, and most importantly, the tales of magic. All types of folks on the island, from fishermen to educated professionals, believe in the existence of an unseen world. They wear protective amulets, objects with spells, and are certain of malevolent and benevolent spirits living in the trees, of mermaids– enchanting creatures that live in the seas, and of herbalist healers. Much of these emerge from their total dependence on the elements of nature and regular close encounters with death. Riccelli interprets such common encounters, positioning works-in-progress all over her house, looking at them for hours every day, until she decides that there is nothing further to express. She gives utmost importance to drawing, considering it essential to any artist and important for the exploration of possibilities. Her paintings and mixed media involve acrylic, watercolor, oil, gauche and collage– the subjects layered with elements of imagination and emotions, portrayed in brilliant colors taken from flora, birds, fish, local clothing patterns, as illuminated with very bright sunlight. “I aim at creating hidden realities behind walls of colors.” This is how she conveys the fourth dimension: a cosmic universe in which our world might merely be a shadow or section of a higher dimensional existence.

-by Stephanie Frondoso

States of Mind: A Dialogue Between the Inner Self and Multiple Realities

Viewing Room
State of Mind: Getting Through
2022
Inquire
State of Mind: Flying
2022
Inquire
State of Mind: Wandering
2022
Inquire
State of Mind: Dreaming
2022
Inquire
State of Mind: Exploring
2022
Inquire
State of Mind: Fantasize
2022
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State of Mind: Floating
2022
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The Space Beyond
2016
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The Presence
2016
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Le Bagnanti
2016
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The Valley 1
2017
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The Valley 2
2017
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The Tree
2016
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The View
2016
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Siquijudnon Landscape 1
In the Mountains
2017
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Siquijudnon Landscape 2
Between Sky and Sea
2017
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Siquijudnon Landscape 4
In the Mystical Forest
2017
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Siquijudnon Landscape 5
A Shrill in the Air
2017
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Siquijudnon Landscape 6
In the Moonlight
2017
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Siquijudnon Landscape 7
In the Depth of the Forest 2
2017
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Siquijudnon Landscape 8
The Sirena of the Sea
2016
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Siquijudnon Landscape 9
In the Dangerous Sea
2016
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Siquijudnon Landscape 10
2017
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Vortex 3
2017
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Vortex 7
2016
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