I Confess 

curated by Chus Martínez

Der TANK, Basel 

8 – 17 November, 2019

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I Confess is a project that reflects on materials and how they affect our memory. Imagine you’re having a great time with your friends. It’s a sunny day. You visit the market and you start to touch the king of lemons. The touch produces a memory and a sense of the day; it enhances the facts.

It can also be that to touch the skin of the king of lemons is to produce a sense of reality, of place, of weather, of freshness, of a direct connection both with nature and tradition. You decide that you should always be around lemons. In that moment, the touch of the lemon on that day with your friends is no longer a memory but a real trigger, an important part of who you are today, of your identity. Materials, forms, colors, smells and our relationship to them us are fundamental to our understanding of ourselves.

For her new, specially commissioned installation at der TANK, Raffaela has created a distilled version of all these impressions we receive from life. There is a sculpture-skin and a sculpture-roof and a text-window and a sound-music... All of them inhabit a concrete cube, which serves as both an exhibition space and a sculpture workshop. It is for this matter that she chose these elements, the elements that she did in her workshop, at home and transported them here, to der TANK—a space that promises a certain neutrality, because of its square form and the transparency of the glass, but is actually no less than a roof, a shelter, a home to all the sculptures being made here. It is as if Raffaela wanted to tell der TANK about all the lemons in the world, about the memories that spaces possess and how the memories of her house, herself, her city merge with the memories of a space that seems “outside” of tradition, casted by architects in new part of the city of Basel. But also, how moving to be able to be touched by all the artworks and the people. At times, we accept the space as a test site; at others, as an exhibition space.

In all of her works Raffaela asks herself and us a simple question: Is it “possible to observe [...] life in [the] process of revising itself?” (Lionel Trilling Sincerity and Authenticity, 1972). I would say her answer is affirmative. Yes, art allows us to revisit and remember life by forgetting its linear narrative and by proposing the artwork’s experience as life in a more monumental dimension.

To be concerned as an artist with such transformations is fundamental. Referring to Trilling once more: Raffaela’s art explores the process by which the tedious concern of sincerity, of being true to one’s self, is crucial to our public life—and how that place can be so easily occupied by the darker and even more arduous modern ideal of authenticity.

Chus Martínez


Photos by Guadalupe Ruiz

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Istituto Svizzero, Rome
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