Essay published for the solo show He, she, it at Ugo Ferranti Gallery, Rome 2010
An arc window, small, empty and white. No sight of infinite perspective or green panoramas, no light to cast darkness away. The window is constantly filtering between two worlds:a faraway distant one and an internal one that is narrow and claustrophobic. It is in this enclosed space that the tale takes place.A succession of events, one after another, that delineates a collection of human gestures from individuals unable to define their own identities. This is the story that Beatrice Scaccia tells in He, she, it: masculine, feminine and neuter gender, a series of drawings on paper displayed at the Ugo Ferranti Gallery. The protagonist is a human being coming to terms with their sexuality, trying to establish their gender purely through external accessories such as trousers, skirt, hat or high heel shoes. The presence (or lack)of these objects defines our sexuality, in accordance with the rules imposed by a society that demands external recognizability. The character’s attempts to find their sexuality become neurotic when trying to wear men’s and women’s clothes at the same time, or when they try to wear a sex toy correctly. In the end the character just gives up and seems to be overwhelmed by the fear and loneliness caused by their nudity. Repetition, seriality and a fragmented narrative sequence are the key aspects of Scaccia’s work. Her narrative urge and her need to express herself with figurative painting both originate from a strong communicative instinct that translates into drawings and prints, reminiscent of a certain Renaissance tradition that focuses its artistic study on drawing and the human figure. This is probably why the absence of color does not correspond to a renouncement of chromatic symbolism it is more the need to focus on the tension of shapes. Time and space set the rules of any artistic activity. The figure must be enclosed in a square space and cannot fully self-‐express without a time reference system, a motion that would establish the temporal sequence through the paratactic succession of frozen gestures, like picture stills. Only in the epilogue does the figure gain in importance individually, but first it has to be analyzed through several technical phases like in a sort of atonement process. In fact everything begins with the sketches, a sequence of figures drafted on paper. Sketches delineate the confines of the story that Scaccia needs to tell in that specific moment. The artist then opts for meticulous and soothing, as she describes it, drawing. After the storm of creation comes the quietness of analysis. The paper drawings are just a passage, they’re not exhaustive, something is missing: the magical element. That’s why on the back side of the drawing,that would later become the front side by being exposed, the artist pours hot beeswax which then will be removed with an iron. The result is a white version, tone on tone, of the same drawing whose traces can be perceived in transparency, which constitutes the very soul of the work. The fact that some of the stills are in larger size is a clear sign that this is the artist’s most congruous technique.Scaccia now seems to be free from time and space, finally her figures acquire an autonomous identity. At the Ferranti Gallery the preparatory sketches are set one after another and forming a big square on the first wall on the right. Along the left side Scaccia displays 58 wax drawings on a single horizontal line, guiding to the back wall where three big waxed papers (80x80cm) stand out in a sort of epiphanic moment par excellence. There’s another aspect to consider, a “negative” phase of the same story: a selection of 36 monotypes, displayed in order to form a square, like the sketches, on the second wall on the right side of the gallery. It’s here, through a monotype obtained with a mould that the artist can use only once, that darkness turns into light while both composition and technique remind us of the Dutch painters’ chiaroscuros. In the monotype works Scaccia masters the figure and she can give us its signifying essence in an instant.