Angela Madesani 2009, Art Critic, Milan, Italy.
A short account of Multiverses
To divide artists who use painting in their quest into two groups – figurative and abstract – is both
simplistic and unhelpful. They are labels, stagnant categories which absorb everything for
convenience, for the narrow-minded desire for simplification, in which there is no room for nuance
or complexity even of a perceived nature.
It is with this in mind that one should read the work of Olga Danelone, for it makes no sense to
place it, or label it, in the abstract sphere. The reasons for her research are many and in the
course of the years she has increasingly strived to define herself, to find a meaning, a reason, a
Her first works, done in the eighties at a very young age, were, predictably, figurative, using
subjects surrounding her. However, in the words that she wrote in those years, with the ardour of
an adolescent, one can already read the “abstract”. Her early years were marked by a kind of
symbolism in which there is an attempt to distort the meaning of existence through a painting style
close to certain “plastic values” and certain tonalism.
In all these works, beginning from the early nineties, it is possible to grasp the direction of her
quest, the attempt, the experimentation, the search for her own language. From the appearance of
the landscapes between 1991 – 92 one can begin to catch a distinct glimpse of the path which
would lead to the coherent results of her present works. From the natural landscape to the images
of trees, Olga Danelone started out with an essentialism which leads straight into her successive
works. Piet Mondrian comes to mind and his journey which took him from the Flemish landscapes
to the abstract compositions for which he is universally known.
The abandonment of the figurative, from the initial references to the reality, was a long and suffered
process for Danelone. Dendrology, for example, became a reason for pictorial investigation. In
these works it is already possible to grasp that sense of universal sacredness, of a secular-natural
mysticism, which would later become themes central to her research.
Since the late nineties Danelone has nurtured an interest in philosophy and the great minds who
have shaped our thought. She is fascinated by the meaning of movement, not only in a
spatiotemporal sense, but rather by the idea of its passage, of changing states and conditions even
in scientific terms. Danelone is also attracted by the idea of the circularity of existence, in which
there is always a beginning and an end. From this comes the idea to cross the various stages. It
is with this aim in mind that she has, on more than one occasion, found herself analyzing her
mental, cerebral state in the act of painting. It involves a type of conceptual analysis of the act
itself of making art, of its intentionality.
The impression gained from the paintings is, in fact, a perfect mirror of what happens in her mind.
Deep thoughts like memory, which was already the protagonist in her works of some years ago; in
this sense the titles are unequivocal Dentro il ricordo, Dopo il ricordo (Inside the memory, After the
memory). In 2006 Danelone wrote «Memory and instinct, two concepts which help each other, the
awareness of a movement in the moment in which it is lived together with a sentiment already
experienced. To be able to give a value to the feeling of the moment, steering away from the past,
to accomplish a neutral action, to avoid bringing to it inappropriate feelings »1.
In her current works reality and memory overlap as if in a palimpsest, in which it is not possible to
completely cancel what lies underneath, creating a type of delicate veil which in part conceals the
evident recall to her surroundings.
In her most recent works, currently in exhibition in Nova Gorica, there seems to be neither a
beginning nor end, it is as if one finds oneself in front of a continuum; in this way recalling certain
Greek philosophers, such as Heraclitus to whom the panta rhei has been attributed. These works
also make reference, perhaps unconsciously, to a certain type of spatial art in the style of Crippa,
with traces of Gastone Novelli, through which it is possible to detect stories. These signs walk on,
possibly around the corner, to paraphrase Chatwin.
Danelone is fascinated by the concept of a universe made up of infinite layers, which has strongly
influenced her behaviour in terms of artistic research.
Many artists manage to express themselves best in their initial exploits, in their first years of
activity, taken over by a seemingly inexhaustible enthusiasm which with the passing of time fades
into a type of style. For others their best work comes through reflection, study and research,
finding an ever clearer meaning over the years. The example of the artist David Simpson comes to
mind, now in his eighties, who over the last twenty years has given life to his most intense and
In the same way, Olga Danelone in her recent works has found a path; she has traced a clear red
thread which leads directly to her vision of the multiverse, in which the tangible quality between
herself and what she has in front of her is determining. Throughout, a decisive role is also played
by emptiness leading directly to oriental philosophy, which she uses as an instrument to
understand her reality. Emptiness is air, transit, distance. It is in this sense that one should read
the need to look towards other forms of expression: installations, videos and photographs. The
work of Olga Danelone, though containing no expressly social reference, in reality poses the
serious problem of becoming conscious of things, of ones surroundings, using a non-specific
artistic language. In these works on display is her existential existence, ethics in today’s society:
not to judge but to participate in what happens. In her works the image is often superimposed by
the impression, which is understood as a thread, a testimony to reality. One perceives the will to
place herself in the present in terms of her thinking, feeling free from any type of prejudice.
1 O.Danelone, 14.2.2006.
( translated by Lucy Lancaster )
Angela Madesani 2009, Art Critic, Milan, Italy.