Francesca Magro, "Panneggi", 2015, detail.

A Pelle

by Giancarlo Ricci, 2017

Psychoanalist Ricci considers skin and surfaces the original condition of life: even a cell, an embryo, or an amoeba have their own skin. Skin, ultimately, is the container of life; it holds life and forms its condition. In psychoanalysis, we use the terms “psychic skin” or “second skin” to highlight the strength and vitality of the shell that protects the surface of the body.

The grace and lightness of Magroís work investigate the threshold of humanity, its grade zero. Her work explores the paradox posed by Hugo von Hofmannsthal: “Depth must be hidden. Where? On the surface!”. Hence, the skin connects two worlds, it alludes, it lets us glimpse through.
Perhaps all paintings can be considered a metaphysical vision of skin, cloth, hem: of what seems visible but remains invisible. The ancient challenge between Zeusi and Parrasio becomes part of the present: on one hand, Zeusi paints a grape and calls birds to peck at the canvas; on the other, Parrasio deceives humans who no longer recognise the difference between the fiction of painting and reality. Truth cannot be virtual, it always comes out, it is written a pelle (to skin, by instinct). This is the greatness of the gesture of Michelangelo Buonarroti, in his Last Judgment. In illustrating Saint Bartholomew displaying his flayed skin, Michelangelo paints his own self-portrait onto the Saintís face: his features reduced to bare skin, exposed, a face in anamorphosis. The gesture of the artist demands this cruel dispossession, this coexistence with the impersonal, this elusive laceration.