Luca Freschi


Luca Freschi formal work on the discontinuity of casts in terracotta, reflections on human frailty and the lightness of human relationships. He is a maker of dolls, feminine simulacra that seem to be waiting for the "magical word" to be placed between their teeth "just like in the Jewish tradition " to start moving and obeying orders. Or as in the case of Olympia, Professor Spallanzani's automaton daughter, whose eyelashes blink and unperturbed expression performed at every uttered word made it unavoidable to fall in love with her, as recounted by Hoffmann. Another analogy that might spring to mind is the exquisite but disquieting fabric doll reproducing Alma Mahler that Kokoschka commissioned to a woman toymaker, after Alma betrayed and abandoned the painter. But no. Luca's dolls have the modesty and chastity of metaphysical mannequins or wooden marionettes. They're stiff-limbed and hard-jointed puppets wearing decorous, vaguely Nordic looking bonnets that hide their hair. His painted terracotta casts are fragments of bodies recomposed with the affectionate patience that broken china deserves. They are full size women, cocoons without the warmth and softness of skin, but they preserve the pose and form of the beloved ones " friends and relatives who let themselves be wrapped and blocked in plaster like fossils in a personal memory. Sometimes these giant chrysalises, similar to Madonnas and saints on old altars, have a private dowry hand-sewn with the care of a bride, and in their naked busts as white as plastered white Mediterranean houses, they host the joyful and airy drawings of children, signs which reproduce, in the fantastic grammar of beginnings, the image of a person, a playful, founding vision of the Other than Self.