Art Considering and Desiring, Everything Starts From The Stars

Considering and Desiring, Everything Starts From The Stars

In a new body of work, artist Lucrezia Costa reflects on the willingness to embrace one's destiny without knowing it
Giorgia Massari
lucrezia costa

Lucrezia Costa is one of those artists you would get lost talking to for hours. I recently met her and we talked about stars. Lucrezia had just returned from her artistic residency at La Stellata, a reality immersed in the Versilia region, “a paradise of vegetation and biodiversity,” as she described it. It was here that her project Considera / Desidera was born, which was generated from the observation of the sky and its stars. As is often the case in her artistic production, Costa seeks out situations that she calls “emotionally uncomfortable,” see her recent trip to Iceland. These are all conditions that allow her to better listen and perceive what is going on inside us, starting from an outside that must necessarily be for her different from her comfort zone. Returning to the stars, Lucrezia Costa examines two widely used verbs of the Italian language – consider and desire – derived from Latin and closely related to that ancient practice of astral observation, and then connects them with a sentence that, personally, read and reread resonates within me as a concise explanation of living, Everything I don’t know yet. Lucrezia explains to me that here present and future fold over each other. But, what surprised me even more about this conversation are her works generated by this reflection, just presented in a solo exhibition by C41 Magazine curated by Ilaria Sponda and in collaboration with LABottega, in the Marina di Pietrasanta location.

lucrezia costa
Ph Ellisse Studio

From lat. considerare (cum-sidera),
«observe the stars to draw auspices from them»

From lat. desiderare (de-sidera),
«to miss something»

There is always something behind what we cannot see

In conversation with Lucrezia Costa, I realize how the entire body of work she produced in residence has a clear leitmotif. Undoubtedly, the stars are the starting point, or rather, the relationship between man and stars, suggested first and foremost by the identity of the place, also evident from its name La Stellata. Since the word is an ever-present component in the works of the artist, who often expresses broader concepts with concise sentences, it was as if automatic for her to reason on a conceptual level about the Italian language and what are the after-effects left in our contemporary language by the term star. So it all starts from the two verbs mentioned above, consider and desire. «Researching, I came to know that considerare derives from the Latin cum-sidera that is, to go with the stars, referring to that practice of astral observation useful to consider one’s future,» – Lucrezia explains to me – «while desiderare, from de-sidera, is to be traced back to the absence of stars, the starting point for the imagination that induces one to shift one’s gaze from the sky to bring it to one’s interiority, trying to understand one’s desires. On the one hand the idea of a predetermined path that gives security, on the other the absence of references that can be frightening but gives freedom.» So Lucrezia and I, now deep into the discourse, begin to get lost in the constellations she selected for some of her works, and I, as an astrology enthusiast, can’t help but listen spellbound.

lucrezia costa
Installation View, LABottega

Everything I don’t know yet

Some I already knew, as I imagine everyone does, the constellation of Virgo and that of Pisces for example, others I discover with her, such as that of the Swan, the Wolf and the Auriga. There are twelve to be exact, the constellations that Lucrezia Costa chooses, somewhat for meaning but even more for their shape. It is with these in fact used here as letters that she composes the phrase Everything I don’t know yet, already present in her artistic production. These are then individually engraved on slabs that make up an initial work, a sort of written guide for the subsequent ones, to indirectly indicate to the viewer the key to reading the entire corpus. This is how I understand how imbued in this phrase is the human need to want to know one’s future but, at the same time, the bittersweet awareness and acceptance of not being able to do so, remaining only with the act of hoping and wishing, or, in Lucrezia’s words, “to accept one’s destiny without knowing it.”

lucrezia costa

Knowing one’s desires through a seemingly random act

We then move to the next level, offered by two other works that call the audience to interaction. Twelve spheres are placed in the space of LABottega with a set-up that I think is ingenious. A circular support accommodates the works allowing visitors to literally take them in their hands and consult their destiny. Six of them embody the considering mentioned earlier. A slot in the sphere constitutes a slab above which one of Lucretia’s twelve chosen constellations is engraved, removable and readable. The other six, however, are containers of something invisible to the eye but perceptible by hearing. When shaken, in fact, they produce a sound that suggests the theme of desire. On the same wave is the vase, which to explain in a few words, Lucrezia compares to an oracle. In fact, inside are placed glazed ceramic coins that feature the same constellations that form the opening sentence. «The idea is that the viewer can consult the oracle in order to know his or her own destiny, metaphorically of course,» at this point it is almost automatic for me to think of the coin-head game because, when you flip the coin, you are actually already hoping for one of them to come out. That’s kind of the sense after all, an invitation to seek the answer within oneself with an external aid, that of the stars.

When matter embodies the concept

The concept of unpredictability, constant in all the works, is also present in the material, or rather, in the technique chosen by the artist to produce the works. We are talking about the raku technique, a real ritual in Japan that relies on chance. «Pottery in itself is an unpredictable material,» Lucrezia explains to me, «it requires patience and what’s more, with raku you don’t know the result until the piece comes out of the ashes». A project, Lucrezia Costa’s, that considers and desires present and future, bent on themselves, aware and unaware of each other that, in the words of Riccardo Vailati (a close observer of the artist’s practice), “generates profound attitudes in the relationship with the sensitive and the unknown; evoking existential characters dictated by the traces of spectres and wounds, it triggers projections in the signification of pulsating materials.”

Ph Ellisse Studio, divisa OLDER studio

Written by Giorgia Massari
Listen on