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Elisa Varini

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Elisa Varini

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From 09/09/2022to 09/03/2023
Elisa Varini was born in Milan in 1975, where she lives and works. She attended painting classes at the Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara and immediately felt a great attraction to printmaking, so much so that she graduated with honors with an experimental research on the simultaneous color printing technique practiced at Atelier 17 by reproducing 11 color prints by the master Stanley William Hayter.
After a brief period of teaching experience at the National Print Museum in Dublin, she returned to Milan. Elisa wanted to experiment with all the possibilities offered by the different matrices, especially metallic ones, trying to get to know the material in its entirety, in search of continuous technical improvement and new ideas. Thus, in 2004, she took up the profession of goldsmith engraver and mastered the direct metal engraving tool also used by Hayter: the chisel. She realized that acquiring a genuine "savoir-faire" would allow her to shape as she pleased, and that working in a goldsmith's workshop could give her excellent experience (Albrecht Durer and Martin Shongauer, for example, both came from goldsmith's families and began engraving in their own workshops).
Alongside this refined technical evolution given by the craft, her love affair with printing continued; Elisa Varini joined the Young Engravers group where she had a printing workshop and with which she participated in various collective exhibitions in the Milan area and in artists' portfolios; she taught chiseling at the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera in Milan and Carrara in Bergamo and at the School of Applied Arts of Castello Sforzesco also in Milan. Feeling the need for new stimuli, she will work for a time (between 2018 and 2019) at the Atelier Contrepoint in Paris where the artists Hector Saunier, Shu lin Chen, have kept and passed on the legacy of Hayter's Atelier 17; her youthful research with the sole help of texts and experimentation in the studio was thus complemented by the testimony of those who had lived and frequented the Atelier, where the use of the chisel became a protagonist and no longer just a narrator. During these years, Elisa Varini stayed on the French Riviera, where she had the opportunity to work at the Atelier du Safranier in Antibes. Encounters in the galleries with works by Hayter, Roger Patiel and Jim Monson gave her a sense of familiarity and created the perfect atmosphere to express a style to which she felt close, while maintaining the identity that set her apart.
Elisa's path is almost timeless. In the goldsmith's workshop, she wants to learn the ancient techniques of engraving and soak up their gestural expressiveness, but she seeks contemporaneity in a kind of meditation in action that makes her completely immerse herself in the material, "traveling along the plate as if she was sailing in a sea, removing the loops of metal like waves on the prow of a boat"; the severity of a harsh, male-dominated discipline is interpreted with a gentle, feminine wisdom. Her immersion in the work takes her into a tiny, interior world where extremely fluid and delicate lines alternate with the power of gesture, where the metal is crisscrossed with thicker lines that do not lose their elegance.
Both in the chisel works and in the colored backgrounds with oxidations and bites, there are subtle stories that are not explicit, it is the material itself that expresses and tells what we could hardly know, except through our unconscious part, going back to the archetypal forms; the themes of family ties and love are told in a fluid becoming, these interweavings are not knots but create dynamic connections between presences and contain in their form all the nuances of a becoming.
We are sure that it will be a real pleasure to discover her work!

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