Marinella Senatore. A statement
by Ilaria Bernardi
Marinella Senatore is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice is characterized by a strong participatory dimension and a constant dialogue between history, popular culture and social structures.
After the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples (1994-1997), the Conservatory of Music (1997) and the National School of Cinema in Rome (1999-2001), she is dedicated to visual art, where she uses different media: action, video, photography, installation, sculpture, painting, drawing, collage.
Marinella Senatore’s art is pure energy; an energy that flows from the short circuit between different elements she relates in the same space, real or virtual. Indeed, the artist takes on the role of activator of a mechanism (the work of art) whose purpose is to produce a transforming force from the encounter of the elements included in it; a force that then propagates in the surrounding reality until it reaches the viewer.
In this sense her work can be defined Environmental Art, referring to the works so called, developed in the United States and Europe between the late Fifties and early Sixties. They were conceived as functional structures to modify a space, creating another environment, often through different media (lighting, cinema, sound effects…), aimed at including and activating the viewer, making them participate in the realization of the work itself.
Both when Senatore works with people from the same community, achieving urban collective actions (in The School of Narrative Dance), when she takes photographs or films a scene with the camera, and when she makes a collage or any other kind of work, her approach can nevertheless be traced back to what lies at the basis of the environment, rather than to what is characteristic of the performance: in fact, she wants to influence the perception that each individual has of themselves and of reality, activating them through the creation of an energetic “environment”.
However, for Senatore, that “environment” is not only to be understood as a real physical place (the street, or the hall of a museum or gallery), but also as a virtual place circumscribed by the photographic or cinematographic frame, or by the edges of a simple sheet of paper. In these “environments”, the artist relates each individual to unexpected and often heterogeneous but always universally recognizable elements (images, lights, fabrics, screens, colors, writing, sound, or other individuals) so as to facilitate their participation in the energy generated by them.
Her works are fluid site-specific containers: site-specific because they are conceived taking into account the specific “environment” in which they develop; fluid because based on a potentially infinite inclusion of the elements at stake. For Senatore, art is a horizontal platform on which different, but equal in value, elements generate energetic movement and therefore narration. It is not the number of elements that is important, but the ability of each one to relate to the different and to participate in the construction of a shared narrative.
Each of her works therefore becomes a symbol of society where the individual can generate movement, strength, energy that transforms the entire reality only if activated and connected to the other by themselves. While borrowing some elements from activism, feminism and political engagement, Senatore’s practice cannot, however, be circumscribed within such concepts because its purpose is much broader: to create a mechanism capable of generating energy by setting in motion something that already exists and what is around it, including the viewer.
Her practice therefore swings between the single and the multiple, between the individual and the collective, between the micro and the macro dimension, to trigger a short circuit between these polarities in which everyone can easily identify themselves and identify their own experience. For this reason, her work speaks to a universal audience, because her field of investigation are the emotions that everyone, no one excluded, have felt and feel while living.