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May 27th- July 8th 2011 | Osart Gallery, Milan


Curated by Daniela Palazzoli

With this exhibition Milanese Osart gallery presents the Lebanese-American artist Annabel Daou (Beirut, 1967 ) and the Uruguayan with Italian origins, Marco Maggi (Montevideo, 1957) - who are perhaps more easily defined as citizens of the world than as hinabitants of a specific, pervasive cultural-geographic reality. The experience of travelling and creating, while instinctively becoming part of non-touristic dimensions in various parts of the world, has lead both artists to intuit at the outset the environmental, cultural and social conditions of many nations. They are highly sensitive – each in their own way – to the relentless advance of the consequences of globalization, which in turn are blatantly confirmed in the standardization and remorselessly “anaesthetic” subliminal function of the mass media. The interpretation of their art as a process, more than as a finished product, aims to transfer to the viewer this progressive conscience, involving him not only in a continuous reading of the works but also in the recognition of behavioural traits with which our individual quests to go beyond the façade of reality are transformed into dialogue.

Entering the gallery, one immediately discovers Marco Maggi’s installation laid out on the floor in a labyrinth created using reams of paper. Presenting us with an unfamiliar ritual, his journey consumes us, provoking an instinctive doubt that questions what, where and how one should observe and move within the installation – that is, visitors keep asking themselves : “should I follow the path traced by the floor installation first, or should I move directly towards the wall mounted works? The latter attract me, but with all of those miniscule, magical traces incised with scalpel-like precision, surely they should be seen from up close!” With these questions, one has already entered into ‘Maggi’s reality’. In fact, the artist’s ability to offer us a vision of his works – composed of rarefied, miniscule and often three-dimensional signs – as a “subversive activity”, is proverbial. In this frenetic global era, in which “one knows more and more, but understands less and less”, Marco Maggi constructs alternative environments according to his own rules. His scope is that of slowing us down with offerings of enriching, delicate visions filled with surprises. These visions encourage careful observation and arouse the pleasure that comes from the intuition of subtle meanings and contradictions hidden within his minimal marks. In Marco Maggi’s exquisite Homage to Lucio Fontana’s oeuvre , present here, we can detect the dynamics of play and interpretation, which starting from slashes and colours, lead us to a multiple re/creation and dialogue with Fontana’s poetic, while even cuts into paper protrude taking on three dimensional forms.

Annabel Daou often alludes to ‘Chaos’ – the title of a work on exhibition – which she symbolically relates to our recurring desire to build a global, pacificist Babel. Daou defines this symbolic Tower as “everything that cannot exist, while the openings in the tower indicate both the beginning and the end of communication”. In her works, words written in Arabic and the Latin alphabet (predominantly in English) reveal the core themes and emotional significance – both subconscious and rational – at the source of her art. As an example, one could mention her project created for the Lebanese pavilion at this year’s Biennale di Venezia: composed of a million X’s: the work bears witness to difficulties encountered in the redefinition of her tormented nation of birth. In other works, are the sheets of handmade paper themselves which are destined to transmit the message, becoming tangible protagonists in the personal battle which animates her existential and creative journey. The paper itself becomes a kind of alter ego - creased, torn to shreds, repaired and recomposed – the metaphor and interpreter of destiny, of the fears and desires of her spirit.

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