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