Metamorphosis exhibition at Emirates Palace

Italian artist Daniela Carletti talks us through her first UAE exhibition


Italian artist Daniela Carletti launches her first exhibition in the UAE. The show, called Metamorphosis, is bringing a glorious and happy vision of nature to the walls of Mezzaluna restaurant at Emirates Palace.

‘I don’t presume to send messages. I just hope to be able to communicate, through my work, my passion for art and love for nature,’ says Daniela Carletti. The title of her new exhibition in Abu Dhabi, Metamorphosis, highlights this affinity with nature, her fascination with the constantly evolving natural world and the spirituality that it can invoke. With such an evocative exhibition title, it’s to be expected that butterflies may feature quite heavily too.

‘The butterfly, through the wonder that is aroused in us with the phenomenon of metamorphosis, leads us to reflect on our possible spiritual transformation. Perhaps today, in this modern world, we need to turn our eyes to the sky,’ she explains – the passion for her craft and subject clearly evident. The butterflies she talks of are found in much of the work that visitors to the exhibition will see; intricate depictions of the insects on Japan paper (a very thin and light material) gives an ethereal almost translucent quality to her work.

It’s the method of her unique art that lends itself so well to this type of imagery. Japan paper is made of natural elements which helps to give that delicate appearance. Daniela uses watercolours on these for her bursts of radiant colour, but she also uses techniques called frottage and monotyping.

Frottage is like brass rubbing, where paper is laid over three-dimensional objects (in Daniela’s case this is often reeds and wild grasses from her native Ferrara, Italy) and a pencil or similar is used to rub over the surface to create a representation of those objects. Frottage differs from brass rubbing in that the artist doesn’t follow a systematic approach with the pencil, but will randomly use it according to how they feel, directing the strokes accordingly.

Monotyping, meanwhile, is a type of printing, where layers of ink are painted over a sheet of glass or acrylic, with the artist then removing layers or patches of ink, effectively creating gaps of light. This is then laid over the paper to give an interesting effect.

‘In my technical process there is always the idea of positive and negative,’ says Daniela. ‘The canvas is the most widely used medium for painting in oil or acrylic, but I was always interested in research and experimentation.’

With a greater understanding of the processes Daniela uses comes a greater appreciation of her work. One piece that strays from the butterflies theme is called ‘Winter’ and encapsulates her techniques and theme through the imagery of leaves ascending from the floor, becoming more translucent the further into the sky they travel. Once again, this piece displays Daniela’s affinity with nature and her finesse with her medium.

‘I think I have nostalgia for a time when human beings lived in direct communication with nature. I can’t explain it any other way apart from my compulsive need to represent it,’ admits the artist.

For people who want to see some of Daniela’s work, they are on display at Mezzaluna, the Italian restaurant at Emirates Palace. Organised by the Swiss Art Gate UAE, the public can visit the exhibition until November 23 by registering at the website or contacting Kurt Blum by SMS with a name, date and time of intended visit (050 225 1783). Alternatively, by dining at Mezzaluna you will be surrounded by Daniela’s art while you eat a delicious meal.
Mezzaluna, Emirates Palace, Ras Al Akhdar (02 690 7999).

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