Born in San Giovanni Rotondo (Puglia) in 1996, Martina Cassatella currently lives and works in Milan. In 2021 she received her Master’s degree in Painting from the Brera Academy of Fine Arts.
Martina Cassatella’s works are paintings of shadow traversed by light: strong gleams emerge from the dark, like in the dark the flame of a candle, and in the dark hair-thin filaments chew through the darkness, becoming a curtain on the beyond that blinds.
Like gently plucked strings, from the hands the threads are knotted and woven with the grains of light, traversing a fictitious loom, like Penelope and the women of mythical Greekness, or Moire wrapping and spinning the destiny of men.
In Christian and Orthodox icons, as in Buddhist mudras, the position of the hands is maieutic: they guide and suggest with their own language. The female archetypes of virgin and vulnerable goddesses, or the madonnas of Christianity offer hands for guidance and comfort in gentle embraces. Thus, Cassatella’s paintings featuring hands invite one to go beyond, in an act that is pristine and poetic, albeit dense with terror.
The principle of vision, of the dazzle of the miracle, of the apparition that immobilizes and unsettles and which travels through the entire pictorial work, awakening the memory of the moment of birth in which the inside is welcoming and complete, and instead, what awaits outside is unknown, perhaps frightening.
Sacred images provide a glimpse of eternity, filling oneself with that strange wonder one has when faced with things that are not human, alien and supernatural, yet so human that they reappear in the form of imago, ancient and unconscious as myths and legends. In contrast in folklore one breathes in the smells of the below, of the deepest possible interior and filth that crawls like Japanese yokai, and of the darkness that clings to man in everyday mysteries.
Martina’s paintings stand at the moment of the collision between the two, in the pain of limbo, both sweet and sour, and appear as spyholes between the dark cave and the reality of the dazzling outside. But the gaze is mostly from within, like energy that shines and tenderly encloses.