Vittorio Mottin

Living Paper Living Glass Living Art
1 - 31 - July 2017, Hotel 38 Mi

Chunks of an igloo fused with colour or elaborated translucent blocks containing a sketch: these are Nives’ artefacts. Snow melts to form her unique glassworks, a Maestro glass artist, who seems to amuse herself by inserting pieces, which reflect her sensitivity as an artist.
The glass appears to have passed between the hands of a pastry-maker and the hands, immersed in the fusion, leave her fingerprints visible within the sculpture, hidden, transparent, visible drawings. The faces evoke a Matisse style, leaning like a photo memento on colour-streaked blocks. The drawn hands seem to want to move, following the lines of life, drawn for magicians, challenging to be interpreted.
Even the veins pulse as if rivulets were having fun chasing their ripples.
Unique unsquared pieces, documenting an adventure of a continuous research always innovative, always different.
When the freedom of colour is forced to a halt, a smoky ice and evanescent feathers appear.
Transparencies signed with a delicate hint of a drawing inside the faces in memory of Miró.
A shapeless heartbeat and a play of emotions.                                                                                                    

                                                                                                              Vittorio Mottin
July 2017

Translation Linda Susan Johns

Liliana Giordano Grosso

Fluid fusions of the soul

It is not easy to write on a sheet of paper (and each word that we need to answer) what Nives Marcassoli’s artworks communicate. I speak in the plural because, in the "Ethos area of the Art Gallery" in a meeting with the author and with an audience present for her exhibition, opinions could agree or diverge. 
In the end, this is the tribute that art, in this case Nives’s operas, asks us to pay. 
Nives Marcassoli uses an undoubtedly unusual technique; a technique that she uses in her laboratory at Pavia where she works and lives. Our artist first draws on glass, then heat fuses her drawings within the glass, she repeatedly melts coloured glass and finally works the surface at a high temperature and continues to smooth and shine her artefacts. Once this process is completed, for everybody’s eyes, Nives glass opera emerges. The glass artefacts are coloured, wanting to witness the phases of the human soul, the emotions of life and the depth of thought. Here before me I have some of her works and those which, in my opinion, perceive certain circumstances of meditation. Are “Caress" and “Serenity" and even "Spark". In addition, what can one say about "Eros" or "Dialogue” and "Balance". Here, for me in this triptych, Nives even manages to touch, and sometimes penetrate, a truly human political speech. In all, addressing her work to an attentive observer, a form of absolute modesty. I would like to return to Nives’s "object-opera". I touch it, I observe a transparent light and boundlessness, I notice that each coloured glass is silent and often conceals a human face. In my opinion, all of these sensations are enclosed in Nives’ artefacts, fulfilment in the absolute sense of the thoughts of our artist.

Liliana Jordan Grosso
February 2017

Translation Linda Susan Johns

Silvia Ferrari Lilienau

Amongst the possibilities that glass offers to those who model glass, Nive Marcassoli’s favourites are two, however antithetic converges: interpretation of transparency and the disappearance of an image immersed in a glass paste. Mostly hands, or body elements, echoes of a human presence, which float within the watery semblance, rippling and changing directions, they merge and become more viscous. Colours flutter with the waves or plunge deeper. There is a strong material component, in the abstruseness of Marcassoli’s choices, occasionally square shaped, as if she were reinventing a post-modern theatrical metope.
The balance of the profile contains a treacly exuberance a venturesome virtue which flees meditation. Hence, the result of a risk excels a mere ornament, caramelising crystalline features of glass. Marcassoli treats these glass compositions rather like panels of 15th century Flemish paintings, as though pursuing to conceal, allowing the underlying layers to emerge within the brightness of the surface. There is also the symbolic value of the hands, in the pursuit to coincide support and contents, through a candid research in which material and figurative fragments merge.
The hands which appear or seemingly recede, speak of their actions, affectionate embraces or loyalty, becoming an arbitrator of fellow beings. The graphical profile immerses within the fullness of the glass, at the same time encompassed by the decisive geometry of its perimeter, or even restrained inside margins of irregularly distributed bubbles.
Because the idea is clear, but its ethical importance is much more complex, as elaborated by Marcassoli’s technique, which accosts drawings and fusion to casting and molten handcrafted creations. The result therefore has an objectified consistency but also pictorial evidence, with the purpose of transmitting a message, whether acknowledged as a memento or to stimulate thoughts.
Marcassoli work style is material, iconic, and conceptual, of sedimentations which grow and increase, sometimes on the verge of excessive, three-dimensional fossil reminisces which reiterating, progressively fade, but not before being eternally impressed.

Silvia Ferrari Lilienau
October 2012

Orietta Pinessi

The solidity and the transparency of glass, its preciousness , the harmony of its lines which innerve and converse with the objects as if they were essential elements of a single musical composition. Resulting in a remarkable conceptual depth, able to transmit messages which go beyond conventional material, due to its immobile abstractivity However it is an opera that tells a story, a different ‘story’ because it is unwritten, dismissed, and ordinary and perhaps for these very reasons, finally worthy of being narrated.
A feminine story, new because it isn’t based on a used and exploited stereotype feminist who speaks of woman as dominators and of men as oppressive.
Nives doesn’t fall into this trap: ‘her’ story is set in Ranica between the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century : perhaps inequality existed, but also a space, mobile or static, in which these women were neither fatal victims or exceptional heroines. Nives’ refined, creative research, which materializes in this opera of extreme seduction, has been able to give life to a true and proper story which nimbly separates an allusion into an explicit representation, in a continuation which appears to become almost suspended within an atemporal atmosphere.
Here within this space is where the artist has captured ‘ her’ and ‘our’, protagonist : a block of solid glass finished on the surface , internally entrapped , threads of fabrics and a drawing of a woman’s hand working a loom.
This is not merely a background, it is something that belongs to us, we can recognize a familiar environment, which we are able to ascertain by many clues.
One of Nives’ fundamental components is her insertion of objects on and in the body of the matter, which mingle in such a way, that is not by chance that it expresses visual and vibrant poetry, where sensations and sentiments merge, like the complex and fascinating pre-fusions which give life to Nives’ unique creations.
A woman working at a loom: “ The first time I entered Zopfi… was on my 14th birthday… but my mother had been working in the textile mill since 1914 when she was only 12 years old ” ; women and young girls which after a brief apprenticeship began to work on the machines, on the spinning wheels and on the looms.
This is the very loom which frames , in a certain way imprisons the hand and it is one of these looms which was used to teach the new workers their job.
Thus our artist introduces us to other protagonists of this story: those of the ‘school mistress’ of whose presence articulated the women’s universe, representing the only figures legitimately able to transmit a knowledge, which was the result of a collective working experience. They shared the laborious process of adapting to the looms and the machinery with the female workers and contributed to mould the women as an independent group, hierarchically diverse to that of the men workers.
But Nives has traced a hand of a female worker, of a schoolmistress, of a young girl. A choice which I believe retracts those of covered female bodies. Hidden under overalls and bonnets, a denied femminity, perceived and made to be perceived as neutral and asexual. This universe still talks about safety pins …women …..mothers who supported their family’s economy, conciliating their families, their children, the loom: “I used to take my children to the factory whilst I was on night shift…. They didn’t want to sleep alone”.
The artist has carefully chosen her objects mutating them into our ancestor’s history, although she has revisited them with an extremely personal observation, with the desire to give each one a specific value, almost as if reflecting in this, her each and every sentiment, composing and assembling them into a poetical unicum something which was formerly merely inert matter.
“Consumer’s Cooperative for the Workers of the Gioachino Zopfi of Ranica” was written on the small coins used in the shop inside the factory. A shop established by the manufactures to ‘facilitate’ the workers and reduce the cost of living, but in reality just an ulterior manoeuvre to further reduce salaries. Simple objects, which speak of poverty next to where the glass fibres on the bobbins glint, establishing a joyful accord between the opaque colours of the coins whilst the colours of these luminous threads transpire into the fabric through the captured light. Perhaps this is what results of Nives’ story, a small narrative gap, without winners or losers, without solutions, without an end. This kind of light and colour, continuing to ply with transformation, subtle emotions, fragile balances, volatile moods. It is the fluid and allusive matter in which Nives is able to give life to her inspirations. It is precisely this extraordinary bond with life, where her thoughts expand and contract giving her the ability to form and distinguish this research, which, through colour, on one side the precious virtue of glass, on the other the array of different materials flowing into ceaseless perplexities and victories which once again reveal, the eternal exploration of the essence of the mystery of arte, sublime mysteries, immersed in devotion and proposed as an offer of salvation.

Orietta Pinessi
November 2012

Domenico Montalto

The art of Bergamasco born, 52 year old sculptress Nives Marcassoli from Pavia, is a remarkable synthesis of light, colour, and shape, in her splendid glass creations, fashioned through careful projecting together with an erudite alchemy of heating and cooling. With her innovative ideas and solutions, one can acknowledge the revival of an age old Italian glass tradition.
Marcassoli’s recent creations will be exhibited until May 30th in Milan, the title of the exhibition is Fire and Water (Galleria 9 Colonne/Spe Via Tadino 30) . Organized by the historical magazine D’Ars directed by Grazie Chiesa, always careful in valorising the talents of contemporary artists through a rigorous screening of esteem.
Marcassoli began experimenting with glass during the 1990’s; here she affirms her sensitivity and intelligence, together with her flexibility in tackling these challenges. Her artefacts are presented as layers of mysterious and fascinating morphologies, instant clouds, caskets of crystallized matter, transparencies evoking depths of oceans, capturing bubbles, symbols and sketches in vibrant mirrored nuances, various etchings of fleeting memories and echoes of life, sensations of a picture trapped in the mass of glass, composed of precious shadings of deep and celestial blues, soft pinks, delicate pearly greys, joined with evanescent yellows and reds, a liquid world, or rather, a vanishing fluid planet, condensed and imprisoned into shapes and figurative formations, especially those of hands and of bodies of naked women. 
Nives’ confidence with these glass elements (which has also permitted her to create between 2000 and 2007 more than 100 square meters of stunning stained glass windows for the Crocifisso church in Pavia) is found in these small masterpieces such as Silk (in the photograph, 2010) Dialoghi (dialogues) Vibrazioni (vibrations) Vita (life, 2011) special effects that go beyond a technical virtuosity to be documented, instead with a poetical, visionary mind, capable of pouring into the mass through the translucence of white heat, and combining a specific gesture of the process of fusion and furnacing together with illustrations and iconic suggestions. 
Marcassoli avails her complex and personalised stratagem of design and glass fusion, combined with the pouring into the melting pot and casting into the mold, giving us microcosmic dreams and levity, trusting the pledge of the flames and a random destiny, masterfully controlling the shape of the final result in a variety of tactile surfaces that fluctuate from soft and smooth to rough and jagged.

Domenico Montalto
May 2011

Cecilia Ci

Glass sculptures to capture the sky, to unite with the earth, to dominate fire - to express her belonging with water, the element in which her work and her spirit find place: hers are Water thoughts. Shapes - to make you feel one with Nature, to mark a memory, an emotion, to tell a shiver, an irony at times, to describe the place where Nives Marcassoli lives and works.
There where the river flows, where the grass grows on the ditches and the croaking of tree frogs can be heard. An hymn to Nature, nourished by the Sense of Light, that transfigures the shape to enclose light, so as to let it filter through the glassy mass and keep it within. The effects are extraordinary, summoned by a wise alchemy and pervading all molecules, like reflections imprisoned in a treasure chest, in a glass prism, that returns purity.
Glass: the medium with which Nives expresses her talent, the glass so celebrated throughout time. Glass, that ancient and prodigious matter known in days of yore, charms the artist, who starts from an undefined mould and bestows a soul on the shape, born from the fusion and assembling of cut glasses.
Nives senses her work by intuition, she elaborates it with her thought, then gives in to her creativity and leaves the final touch to the fire, guided and controlled with skill. And it is exactly to the secrets hidden in her strength, to conferring with the mysterious god, with the element that shapes and melts glassy matter, that she commits her project, her work. Nives's passion looks at a glass. Sculpture without being satisfied with a shape born by chance: she creates a second one, then a third one and even more, if the result is not what she desires. Towards the possibility of shaping the idea, of confirming the signs, the colors, of hosting metal elements, of creating smooth surfaces, but even rough or jagged ones. 
Giving birth to light shapes, transparent like organdie, like laces in a doll's dress: thus, a sculpture made of light, fragile and pink, by the name of "Passione d'organza". And the glassy substance brims with color, it discovers its new identity, it transforms - abiding by the will of its creator - it transforms to meet a new expressivity as it bestows beauty. It is a result that stems from challenges, because this is the only way this woman can feel alive: it is the strength that urges her to overcome the limits, those of physics, those of the mind. It is there that Nives' work finds its roots. That élan towards continuous researching, towards creative action that accompanies man since the dawn of life. 
Charmed by glass, her passion for a long time, she gives life to (common) objects, brimming with intense chromatisms and elegant signs. Sculpture is then her natural landing place. It is not me that looked for it, it is sculpture that found me, as she herself said. Ail her preceding work and her latest devotion are the manifestation of but one language, a hymn to life originating from matter itself, a hymn to light - that gives expression - to water - that generates life itself - to the sky above us - where souls die. Life is a flimsy place, the sky is so close, as a great Italian photographer wrote. The stylistic figure of this eclectic artist describes a work in fieri, flush with stylistic references and solutions, profiting from noteworthy technical capabilities and creativity: a path, on a quest for a new three-dimensional expression, under the sign of an ancient modernity.

Cecilia Ci
September 2010

Bobo Santo Otera

Vibrant transparent works of art… parts of the body… Hands chasing the last instants of an azurish light. They are blocks of transparent glass encompassing aquatic mementos. Colours in search of light, internal vibrations emerging from the solid mass and within the cold shining glass, they find rest.
Nives Marcassoli’s most recent creations, have not waived towards the traditional difficulties found amongst glass artisans, but after having overcome the themes of transparency and its rhetorical and ethical implications, she feels that these weighty vibrant glass sculptures are their to remind us of the continuous mutations of matter and the mysterious sounds of our planet.
The themes are reoccurring, denied or exploited childhood, a stone skimming game on a local river… and the body… Where the drawing becomes the undisputed protagonist amongst the mysterious movements of the glass which imprisons it. Nives contrives the colours of her creations in a sentimental “furnace” made with fragments from the world, bodies inside other bodies seeming to say… At dusk whilst driving home after a brief visit to her workshop, I was surprised of my vivid recollections of those soft azurish nuances where a hand encounters a cloud.”

Bobo Santo Otera
December 2010