selected bibliography

1980
  • Marco Meneguzzo, catalogo Premesse , ed. Rondòttanta, Sesto S. Giovanni 1986
  • Giampiero Manfredini, Agenda Mostre, L’Espresso 16 febbraio 1986
  • Luisa Caria, Disegni magici, Scienza e vita, gennaio 1989
  • Flash Art, Arte giovani, ottobre-novembre 1989
Adriano Altamira, catalogo Arti visive proposte, Edizione Unione Culturale Antonicelli, Torino 1983

One can say that Nadia Nava’s not large but very careful drawings are finished as “works”– and not as studies for works; they themselves carry, through the consummation of individual techniques, the image of a world and an inward, deep, particular atmosphere. If it is possible to identify a kind of structure in some of them, the grid of construction, in others one can simply sense a gradual growth, labored, in reaction and counterforce. Little by little we can define them by identifying the shapes, the embryos of the images (organic, vegetable or decorative interlacement) that, in their abstractness, do not send any other messages than these naturally, or better, instinctively appearing impulses which are declared within the work or which surface within the plot of the design. The canvases which are painted by Nava, which are mostly made from thick woven jute, may initially give a different impression from her drawings: but these are not a mere attempt to magnify the latter. They are works created for different places, maybe less ‘mental’ and rich with more immediate suggestions that firstly touch the senses before passing through the mental labyrinth. The first impression on looking at them without a frame, piled up on the floor in the studio one on top of the another or wandering across the walls in a sequence of organic necessity, is to observe active and living spatial modules intended for structures, and to enter inside a space which is not geometric but is filled with vivid and pulsing material that is covered with colour, like a skin, the surface on which they rest. The double relation between drawing and work as shown by the pictures presented here, even without changing the structural value of the frames or the textures which form the structural part of Nava’s works, really changes the material quality and the suggestive quality of the images: the drawing is cold and ambiguous at the same time, on the one hand “in planning” but also complete in terms of the lexicon that it brings into play; the painting is more unfinished, dissolves decisively and is less held back but does not lose its clarity of setting, which causes exhaustive utilization of all chromatic ranges one after the other, their colours and heat. The more difficult aspect to explain in writing is to ‘explain’ the space of these images: it is not only what they evoke within themselves that the photography records. But also the space which they absorb and attract “outside” together with the light, transmitting their own vibrations outside.

1990
  • Maria Campitelli, catalogo Il tempo e la materia, Juliet’s Room, Trieste 1991
  • Bruno Munari, presentazione mostra Tinto e ritinto, Il Mercato del Pesce, Sesto S. Giovanni 1991
Bruno Munari, prefazione al libro Il Batik, ed. Ulisse 1991

Take a candle and use it as if it is a pastel, drawing what you want onto a white paper sheet. You can’t see anything. At this point it is not that you must throw the sheet away; you can use a brush to cover it with any watercolour and the colour will dye the whole sheet, but it will not dye where there has been a motif made with the candle because the wax will repel it. Now you can see the drawing. This technique has a great variety of development and permits discovery of a lot of interesting effects. Other than on paper you can use it on every type of fabric: from silk to cotton, to linen, to fabric made of hemp or jute, or on fabrics of different structures from veil to gauze; one can operate on the entire fabric’s surface or only on a small area; one can print (or better dye) with different colours, superimposing one colour onto another to again obtain other effects. The wax can be melted and, hot, can be spread onto the fabric to be dyed, by crumpling a canvas spread with wax we obtain a “craquélé”. Dripping the wax at random on the fabric you can obtain another effect, pinching the fabric, tightening and tying it with a thread, folding it like the regular folds of some clothes, rolling it into a ball, stamping on it, scratching it, doing anything to it (always before dyeing) and afterwards you can dye it through immersion in the desired colours. The results are always interesting and attractive. Try and see.

  • Michela Orefice, Bruno Munari presenta il libro di Nadia Nava, in Arte&Cornice ottobre 1991
  • Titti Carta, catalogo The Italian Art of Living, New York, Ed. Istituto Italiano per il Commercio Estero, Roma 1992
Maria Campitelli, catalogo La memoria intessuta, Juliet’s Room, Trieste 1992

An Artist with numerous interests and numerous resources, Nadia Nava has focused her attention on fabrics for a long time, with which she realizes very particular artistic expressions. The originality of her production exists in the techniques and the materials she employs. Because the fabric joins with other ingredients necessary to carry out an operation of subtraction and destructuring, the obtained result is curiously plastic and gently pictorial.
Nadia Nava can in fact boast a deep-rooted cultural understanding of painting, philosophy and handicraft. Her artistic research, based on these foundations, is focused on factuality however the objectives of which are directed toward linguistic connections which are totally non-functional and valid only for themselves. Recently her preference for pictures has steered her into drawing, taking on quite a two-dimensionality which results from the methods she used with fabrics, i.e it is a continuation, exploitation of a different vocabulary and explanation of the desire towards a more analytical-destructive direction.
Nadia Nava’s operational core gravitates toward a process of construction/deconstruction of which the second phase, that undermines and demolishes the first, develops the true creative direction, aiming at the identification of signs, imprints, corroded and unraveling discoveries that create a new linguistic universe capable of unexpected material/chromatic outbursts as well as subtle conceptual penetrations.
Hers is therefore an investigation into matter and shape. The technique used is ripping: Nava first sticks (generally onto a slate support) down a particular fabric, and afterwards she rips it off where the adhesive has been applied, obtaining an effluvium of filaments. The surface handled in this way assumes a seductive hairiness when touched. It appears alive and animated and moves away from its sterile, smooth and regular structure to take on another dimension.
In an individual exhibition in Trieste she fitted out a “hairy room” in this way, extending the discourse from a linguistic one to one of an installation/environment. Thus introjecting spatial problems from the connotations of the site, demonstrating an approach to the widespread sensibilities and problems caused by practical artistic matters. In her recent works, Nava dismantles an image with the remains returned to the paper with adhesive tape, with a significant and material intervention that leads to an informal channel. She has an unusual way of elaborating signs that on the one hand reveal a profound love for the matter, the will to understand it until she seizes its inner textures to weave new visual statements which are extremely captivating, on the other hand, this tearing, this destruction of a certain entity, to draw again with the residual of another, involves a conceptualisation founded on the beginning and on the end. So, on the time that elapses between the birth and the fall; and on the disintegration that begins a new life; therefore on the transformation. The findings of an overwhelmed reality become evidence of what has been, memory that flows, like a prolific and ineluctable base, to what will be.

  • Giulia Berruti, Intervista a Nadia Nava, Complemento Oggetto settembre 1992
  • Paolo Lezziero, La grande arte si riflette in mostra, La Nuova Sesto 7 novembre 1992
  • Nadia Lattuada, Gioielli poveri, D’A n. 16/17 1993
  • Anty Pansera, catalogo Invenzioni d’autore, ed. Comune di Ferrara, Musei Civici di Arte Antica, Ferrara 1994
  • Francesca Mellone e Vittoria Surian, catalogo Sesta Biennale Donna, Palazzo Massari, Ed. Maurizio Tosi, Ferrara
  • Emma Zanella, catalogo Vedernedituttiicolori, ed. GAM Gallarate 1994
  • Rolando Bellini, catalogo Anni ’90: Arte a Milano, ed. Abitare Segesta 1994
  • Chiara Guidi, catalogo Raggi d’ombra, Galleria Vanna Casati, Bergamo 1995
  • Ferruccio Battolini, catalogo Raccogliere il guanto, ed. Galleria Il Gabbiano, La Spezia 1995
  • Vittoria Surian, catalogo Identità e differenza: Libri di artiste, Centro Internazionale di Grafica e catalogo 46° Biennale di Venezia, Marsilio, Venezia 1995
  • Rolando Bellini, catalogo mostra Anni ’90. Arte a Milano Edizioni Abitare , Segesta Milano 1995
  • Mirella Bentivoglio, catalogo Pause e conferenza Gioielli sì, ma d’artista, Istituto Europeo di Design, Roma 1996
  • Mara Borzone, catalogo O mesmo son, ed. Galleria Il Gabbiano, La Spezia 1996
  • Lorella Giudici, catalogo Galeotto fu il libro, ed. Mercato del Pesce, Sesto S. Giovanni 1996
  • Francesca Mellone, catalogo Settima Biennale Donna, SATE Editore, Ferrara 1996
  • Gillo Dorfles, Riccardo Dalisi, catalogo La seduzione degli oggetti, Mondadori, Milano 1997
  • Lorella Giudici, catalogo Madrenatura, ed. Prearo, Milano 1997
  • Mara Borzone, catalogo Suono e silenzio, Centro Allende, ed. Galleria Il Gabbiano, La Spezia 1997
  • Susanna Legrenzi, Madrenatura, Io Donna 8 marzo 1997
  • Elda Belsito, catalogo Non capovolgere i manichini, Centro Allende, La Spezia 1998
  • Liliana De Matteis e Giorgio Maffei, catalogo Libri d’artista in Italia 1960-1998, ed. Maffei 1999
  • Mara Borzone, catalogo Seduzione dei sensi, Palazzina delle Arti, La Spezia, Silvana Ed. 1999
2000
  • Mara Borzone, catalogo Esercizi di stile, Palazzina delle Arti, La Spezia, Silvana Editoriale 2000
  • Elda Belsito, catalogo Sei personaggi in cerca d’autore, Villa Marigola, Lerici 2000
Lorella Giudici, Nadia Nava, Juliet maggio 2000

After reflecting on the myth of Dafne (a nymph chased by Apollo that transformed herself into laurel) and after thinking about art and history and searching for details that belong as well to a distant past or even to a legend and continue to be extremely topical (an example of this can be given by those vigorous limbs, tortured and forced to powerlessness from the noose tightening them in an inexorable lethal vice), Nadia thought of a mixed voice choir. Its singing encloses the whole universe and every singer is an individual which becomes a part of everything, they have a voice in-keeping with the others, which is a vibrating and moving string. Faces, mouths and looks are not necessary: the sound springs from the score as from mysterious carillons and the succession of the score, the more or less pronounced opening of the books tells the rhythm of the trilling.

We see only the hands of the singers that, like the shreds of Orfeo (whose body , in conformity with the tradition, has been dismembered by the Bacchantes), refer to the whole: the wrinkledness of the skin, the flash of the muscles, the firm grip, the blood pulsating in the veins belong of course to the tenors; whereas the smoothness of the surface, the kindness of the gesture and the delicacy of the grip show female presences. The singers are not gods nor angels, they are human beings and their limbs contain the whole symphony of life, the unique pièce that doesn’t allow attempts, only improvisations.

An orchestra accompanies the little group: the violinist plays his melodies on a violin without strings, the presence of the pianist is revealed by two male hands on the keyboard, the only part of the instrument admitted to the concert. But the alternation of black and white notes is sufficient, those fingers hardly put and tight in the gesture to resound some warm and sweet notes in the air. It is an orchestra in continuous becoming, because its components give birth every time, according to the willing of their maker, to the harmony and the surroundings in which the execution is requested.

The works, so careful that they seem cut out with scissors, mostly born from thin pieces of slate (more rarely from pieces of wood) covered at intervals with layers of white cellulose. The softness and dryness of the paper warm the cold layer of stone below and permit, after a long and patient process of pencil shading, to bring out tridimensional shapes. Very fine pyrite veils are laid down on the sheet to create profound areas of shadows and playful hints of grey. To come back to the drawing, to what the ancient teachers called craft, to compare with light and shade and the sign, it is part of the desire to discover that harmony and the imperfect and hurried civilization in which we live has forgotten or can no longer recognize it. Nadia has always used different materials during her research but the slate that she can tame with obstinacy and care is the one that has satisfied her creativity, bringing her to original and personal solutions, as her “hairy slates” of the 80’s have shown us.

  • Jorge Alcolea, catalogo Pintores en verano, ed. Galleria Jorge Albero, Madrid 2000
  • Renate Maak, catalogo 16° Symposium Internationale Textilkunst, ed. Akademie, Graz (A) 2000
  • Roberto Borghi, catalogo Tanto di cappello, ed. Galleria Schreiber, Brescia 2000
  • AA.VV. catalogo Abitare il tempo: mostre di sperimentazione e ricerca, Veronafiere, ed. Grafiche Zanini, Bologna 2000
  • Tuula Savolainen, Mademoiselle Rivière on maailman toinen Mona Lisa, Keskisuomalainen 25 settembre 2001
  • Teresa Pollidori, catalogo Terza Biennale Libro d’Artista, Città di Cassino, Cangemi Editore 2003
  • Francesca Mariani, catalogo Marinettiana, Palazzina delle Arti, La Spezia, Silvana Editoriale 2004
  • Bruno Corà, catalogo Konx Om Pax, ed. Galleria Il Gabbiano, La Spezia 2005
  • Lorella Giudici, Concerto di applausi, catalogo The show must go on, Spaziotemporaneo, Milano 2005
  • Genova Press Online The Lisa Game 27 ottobre 2006
Rocco Abate, Silenzio, catalogo The show must go on, Galleria Spaziotemporaneo, Milano 2005

It is very difficult to start the generative nucleus of making poem from the remote region in which it  is realized. Difficult but charming, at the same time, that this far region occupies inaccessible, mysterious spots, getting out of the sound of the action of reason. 

“…Be disappointed who supposes that one wants to clear what, for its nature, cannot be cleared…”

So Franco Donatoni wrote, one of the greatest composers of the ‘900 in regards to his ANTECEDENTE X, interpreting that place-moment that comes first the creative action, waiting for the word, the sound, the sign strip the vision. In common with some creatures inhabiting the abyss – so beautiful in their dark dress, so weak, until to die, if lapped by the light – the seed that inspires creativity does not love the spotlights. It does not know the outcries. 

Like a skin  sweating, with the silent rage of a lichen that draws its presence on the rocks or the hidden mutability of the clouds, the creative compulsion acts, impenetrable and underground, and guides the gesture of whom (Nadia) is able to listen it with absolute accuracy.

A recent sylloge of  the  dialect poet Giacinto Luzzi has the title: “E’ l’ore ‘i stà citte”, whose translation is “It is time to shut up, conceals the philosophical one “It is time of silence”. A due silence, in front of the distressing questions of the current events, that impose a “What to do?” no more delayed.  There it is the silence, a  dismay that calls the contemporary human being.

Loss, Solitude, Silence… About what, then, the white and empty chairs, “sculpted” in the dark of an endless backdrop, on which Nadia let sit, suggesting the hidden sense the three S S S? But maybe they speak also about the waiting – as “The show must go on”…

Waiting for the audience sit down, but absent at the moment, maybe:

(a) because it has already seen

(b) to have imagined “knowing how the world is …there is nothing to see”

(c) for the fear to see that chasm on which the remaining balance of contemporary society dangerously swing.

From the point of view of the three S sends forth the vision of humanity loss that Nadia reduces on the skin of her representations, under our astonished look. From a condition of reflective Solitude (artworks are of absolute solitude; R.M. Rilke) from that “super-human” Silence (fruitful with who knows to feel the secret pulse) that becomes Sound only in the musician’s ear, Significant in the poet’s heart, Sign in the painter’s hand. From this and from a vivid versatility in the ability of question the materials (paper, canvas, acetate, fabric, stone and …other and over) surface the fantastic creatures/creations of Nadia Nava.

“Speak! Communicate between you! Don’t listen! Eric Satie cried to the present audience at his concerts, when, in 1919, he theorized the music of ameublement (furniture, “wallpaper”) as a statement of absolute uselessness of the art…But the audience listened without talking.

So, similarly, at Nadia Nava “Concert”, where we listen to the Silence from an highly imaginative vision of astonishing richness, whose iconographical representation leaves without words and we “see” the suspended Sound… within the distance between the man and a key, between the hand, the score and the mouth of a chorus-singer out of the stage… the hole thing in an incantation that, sooner or later, will see those hands moving and vortically sliding on the keyboards (of the piano or the lute), stirring the bows and rubbing the strings (of the fiddles): we’ll see those hands pulsate imperceptibly and wave with the score they support, to follow their own rytme, an interior song. And, to close, the “Applause” loud in the vision and silent in the sound, to which we would borrow our hands also, being sure that a possibility of salvation folr the human being reside in its capability to listen to the Silence and to clap to the incommensurable beauty of the uselessness, not only of the art.

  • Tiziana Ricci, Intervista a Nadia Nava, trasmissione I Girasoli, Radio Popolare 2006
Marzia Ratti, “To stay open-mouthed“, catalogo Canto sospeso, Museo del Castello S. Giorgio, La Spezia, ed. del Museo, La Spezia 2007

Ssshhh… Listen. Listen to the chorus that sings for you. Don’t you hear the note that everybody sounded? Everybody has one and modulates it very well. On the music stand that sound unravels and is constructed second by second,  the stave is a trail that forms and breaks at every wave of personal experience. Real faces, eyes, wrinkles, smiles mentioned within the ovals that Nadia Nava imagined for them: an unedited but classic choir of today in which is relentlessly nestled, the mystery of linear time, blocked from play or melancholy in an impossible second. Singing is suspended, the mouth is blocked, the present is already past. In this installation Nava proposes again to us, after the last exhibition The show must goon, an image of strong theatricality, staging her friends, transcribed in the warmth of pastels on treated wood softened with japanese paper.She created this technique that follows her visual concept. This method requires patience, meticulousness, attention to detail: nothing of the friends’ faces escapes her hand that softly find each other again in the features on the cellulose. She wanted to reunite them together, in a unique and fleeting testimony. The tout se tient  is entirely here, by choice of the artist, in her bonds, in her drawing that again runs through the known features of the friends and refines them until the moment of recognition. For this she portrays only people she knows very well who let her enter, drawing, in an intimate and trustful relationship. They commit their image to her and she takes it back to their own exacting recognition that does not allow for carelessness. True and false run after each other in the projected shadows, in the overhangs of the music sheets. The art amuses itself in lightly touching the uncertain borders that separate reality from invention. Ssshhh…Silence. The soloist gives the ”A”: the choir has begun, but the singers are dumbfounded…Où sont les chantsd’antan?

  • Ilario Luperini, catalogo Arte, Segno, Scrittura, Archivio di Stato di Pisa 2007
  • Nicoletta Costa, I ritratti di Nadia Nava: ovali di una inedita cantoria, Il Secolo XIX 10 settembre 2007
  • Mirella Bentivoglio, Bruno Corà, Lamberto Pignorri, catalogo Viaggio nella parola, ed. Cassa di Risparmio della Spezia 2007
  • Tutto Annunci Milano Volo ombra suono 2007
Alberto Veca, Volo ombra suono, Spazio Crispi 3, 2007

Nadia Nava builds her orchestra and, not to mention the poetry, but the most beautiful melody is the unheard melody. Unheard by ears but imagined by our heart and our sensibility. I would say that the unheard melody is the possibility to recreate a mythical  situation in a theatrical way like the one of the stage or stalls. Nadia’s eye observes, extracts, chooses, building the orchestra and building the sound through the fragments.

The essential fragments are the instrument and the hand; and so it is as if the exploration from the top of the stage, of the execution, would take the moment of the greatest tension between the capability of the performer and the quality of the instrument that is able to express a sound. The “Not sound” allows us to daydream about the possible sounds.

Ugo La Pietra, “A song for the art”, catalogo Ho raccolto un coro di critiche, Galleria Spaziotemporaneo, Milano 2008

Over the last twenty years new approaches to the practice of art have multiplied and consequently so have new languages of expression, with the parallel emergence of an ever-greater number of critics and curators. So many works, so many voices talking about art, that together they risk making a loud “noise”. A skillful maker, Nadia Nava, like few other artists, has always created work combining the conceptual with subtle irony. In this show she is exhibiting a choir of art critics portrayed as sopranos, contraltos, basses, tenors, each one in front of his/her own music stand.

The group of figures, built up with consummate graphic skill, is defined through the different roles of the various voices, adding up to a “choral” whole.

The portraits are set out by the artist almost as if on a stage, like a choir, an orchestra, a musical event.

The theatrical arrangement highlights the artist’s desire to represent not the “noise” of too many voices, but their coming together in a harmonious whole. This is exactly how the conductor of an orchestra defines the different scores of each soloist, getting the most out of every instrument, while maintaining the complexity of the complete musical work. Searching for the means to give each voice its own identity, the artist maintains the diversity, at the same time acknowledging globalization as a growing phenomenon within our society. Moreover, in this work the roles are notably reversed: while the task of the critic is usually that of “talking about works of art”, here they become the work of art themselves. Yet again the artist is highlighting the deception between true and false, between what we believe we are seeing and what is really around us.

The technique usually adopted in making these pieces is highly individual: sheets of slate or wooden boards are faced with a very thin layer of cellulose.

After long and patient work of hatching with pencil and pastel, the different images emerge, in this case the faces of the singers. It is a slow and painstaking process in creating expressive, narrative work, in great contrast to the speed of life today which drives us to be ever quicker in our movements and daily tasks.

So, Nadia Nava has returned to drawing, demonstrating an ability all too rare amongst the new generations of figurative artists.

  • Elisa Gusella, Videointervista a Nadia Nava, Streamit, 2 luglio 2008
  • Silvia dell’Orso, Nava e le critiche, Tuttomilano 5 novembre 2008
  • Chiara Gatti Trentasei critici cantano in galleria, La Repubblica 25.6.2008
  • Federico Poletti, Ispirazione tra arte e moda, MADE 2008
  • Marzia Ratti, catalogo Metamorfosi del libro, Palazzina delle Arti, ed. Biblioteca d’arte, La Spezia 2008
Roberto Borghi, “An overall song“, testo mostra Allegro ma non troppo, Spazio Revel, Milano 2008

Person, in latin means mask. According to popular etymology, that maybe has more to do with fantasy than philology, this word derives from the fusion between the verb play and the prefix for. Literally “to impersonate” means “to play through”, and in full “to resound”, “to thunder” that is to say to emit a sound similar to the one that springs from a mask. It is a semantic hypothesis that, beyond its lexical correctness, is anything but lacking in charm: from an inside point of view, is it not in fact a sound that distinguishes one person from another, a vibration which characterizes its depth and which is uniquely its own. It would be nice to be able to suppose that the sound identifying the individual coincides with the voice or at least with the voice which is emitted during the song, that is, in the context of a situation of effort, tension towards something modulated, fulfilled and implicitly sublime. The Choir made by Nadia Nava seems to give this supposition. The faces that stand out on the slate tiles are represented with swelling cheeks and the whole appearance shows the act of singing. The drawing does not provide us with the sound emitted in that instant, but fixes the “mask”, the shape of the face that produced it, which somehow suggests it, allows us to recreate it with our eyes. The power of imagination enhances the visual dimension to such an extent that it provides capacity for sound, an acoustic virtuality that literally allows it to re-play. However, Nadia Nava did not limit herself to portraying the faces of some “singers”, but she also tried to assemble them in a hypothetical choir. The structure according to which the tiles are arranged repeats the hierarchy (bass, contralto, tenor?) that is present in the usual complex of voices in a choir. It is not by chance that the adjective ‘choral’ is often used as a synonym for ‘universal’: within the choir, Western culture has always seen a perfect metaphor for dealing with tension by harmonizing individual voices, to ensure that the sounds of the individual “masks” create a global song. The task of harmonizing voices also belongs to art, to the extent that it is able to reconstruct the fragments of reality, to bring the subjectivity of the artist and that of the viewer in tune. The Choir by Nadia Nava serves precisely to remind us of this possibility, by cunningly placing individual singers in their role: because, as the ineffable Goethe states, “Everyone in his own place, in his own time, counterbalances all the rest”.

  • Anna Comino, testo mostra D’altro canto, Galleria Fatto ad Arte, Monza 2009
  • Roberto Borghi, Un esperimento, catalogo Sorsi di pace, ed. Litopress, Borgomanero 2009
  • Elena Lampugnani, Con Nadia Nava il gioco della teatralità, Il Cittadino 4 giugno 2009
  • Vittoria Biasi, Gabriele Perretta, catalogo Sesta Biennale del libro d’artista, Comune di Cassino, Cangemi Editore, Roma 2009
  • Mirella Bentivoglio, catalogo Roma souvenir, Cangemi Editore, Roma 2009
  • Mara Borzone, catalogo ALIMENTI, ALImenti, Elementi d’arte, ed. Galleria Sakros, Carrara 2009
2010
  • Roberto Borghi, catalogo Tie Art, ed. Comune di Como 2010
  • Angela Madesani, catalogo In cerca d’autore, ed. Galleria Maria Cilena, Milano 2010
  • Arte e Milano In cerca d’autore sett/ott 2010
  • Eleonora Acerbi, Andrea Marmori, catalogo Hic Sunt Leones, ed. Gallerie Il Gabbiano, La Spezia e Sakros, Carrara 2010
  • Un.Do.Net. Artisti in bicicletta 16 giugno 2010
  • Annamaria di Paolo, In cerca d’autore in Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, settembre 2010
  • Sergio Cortesini, catalogo In LIBERtà Libri d’artista, Edizioni ETS, Pisa 2011
  • Mara Borzone, L’idea del marmo, Il Rigo Musicale novembre/dicembre 2011
  • Mauro Carrera, Mario Commone, Lamberto Pignotti, Marzio Dall’Acqua, catalogo La luna e i falò, ed. Galleria Marcantoni, Pedaso (FM) 2011
  • AA.VV. catalogo Capi d’opera, Museo di Palazzo Morando, Milano, Ed. Fondazione Cologni, Milano 2012
  • Qui Libri In cerca d’autore 31 marzo 2012
Silvia Agliotti, “Memory rooms or of the elective incompatibility” catalogo Camere Comunicanti, ed. Gli Eroici Furori, Milano 2013

Nadia Nava tells the story of human destiny through the objects we relate to everyday. Books, portraits, accessories speak about us, often they survive us, and constitute our archaeology of knowledge. Nomadic stratifications steeped in memory and dripping with lived experiences, the personal effects speak of the desiring subject like language, the word leads to the thing.

Michel Foucault’s research into the “Archaeology of knowledge” does the same thing with symbolic signs, with a deep analysis of the mechanisms that regulate speech training. Foucault speaks about the “episteme” of an age as a condition of underlying truth that defines what is acceptable and recognized like that.

In our epoch the “episteme” of Foucault could be the sense of the crumbling of the subject, the liquefaction of the human being so well represented by Francis Bacon. Therefore what remains after this situation is of no finiteness and dissolution of boundaries (of the being and the things close to the being?). The liquid subject often does not communicate and if it does speaks through ethereal textures that substitute its own integrity. The big network is a huge spider web, it grabs everything. The objects, the effects, the personal affections like drifts of what remains, the indispensable daily baggage, a burden and at the same time heritage, kit of our soul. Nava’s woman is in front of this transient contemporaneity. A woman and her room “of one’s own” maybe conquered hard, an intellectual woman who wants to have a place of her own to invade with creativity and intelligence: like Virginia Woolf in Nadia Nava’s imagination. An artist who for years carried out sophisticated conceptual research. Nadia Nava here presents the landscapes of the English countryside, the faces portrayed with commendable hatched purity, fundamental books, the little hat and the umbrella, the lighthouse from the trip told in the well-known novel by Woolf. And again her desk and the Ouse river where her life finishes. Like those of the English writer, Nadia Nava represents with meticulousness and great perfection the essential objects that surround the woman who thinks, who writes, who paints, the Intellectual woman and the artist who sometimes today again lives in a difficult condition to have a physical place for the collection of ideas. A place “all of one’s own” in ‘woolfiana’ memory. 

The choice of working in white and black on wood contributes to give the illusion of three-dimensionality, creates a visual history of yesteryear that tells the atmosphere of an intellectual woman through her own intimate place, her home. The daily passage records memory fragments day after day that finally compose the memory of the things (…) The artist creates a suggestive installation and with the supreme validity of being a non-place, or better a timeless place, with old days but next landscapes, of daily objects that speak about eternal stories of lived lives to remember, a route of a contemporary archaeology that finds in art a charming and moving dream without places nor borders.

Chiara Gatti, “Rooms in the current”, catalogo Camere Comunicanti, ed. Gli Eroici Furori, Milano, 2013

The life that Nadia Nava summarizes in a few objects, collected like chapters of an intimate event, is a private life of silent retreat. Retreat into a secret space, in proportion to own needs and wishes, that absorbed the moods, the feelings, the nature of the person who lived there and left a piece of herself. Nava is author of a new novel, made of images, careful descriptions of places inside which the story reels off slowly, guided by a faultless management. The same that Nadia Nava as an artist of great technique and feeling manages in pencil tip, drawing angles living like exact shots.

It is often said about films that have excellent photography that certain scenes seem like pictures. Well, talking about Nadia Nava’s pictures we could say that they seem like photographic shots. In the sense that her care for the perfect filming, the produce of years of research on composition rules and the enjoyment of literature and stories, brought her to move within the space of representation with the eye fixed in the camera, able to go within empty rooms (full of presences) like only Ettore Scola could do in “Una giornata particolare” or in “La famiglia”. Slowly moving the cart forward, his hand slides along the walls, room after room, caresses the objects, the soft floors in the suspended dust, small landscapes in well-shaped frames. He records and tells a tale inside a tale as well. The smallest tale, dotted with home things, allegorical of a more universal tale.

The one inspired by the famous essay of Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own”, microcosm and micro-dream of independence and intellectual freedom, wish and obsession of a world apart, that her personal effects – the lady of the psyche, with a light touch and heavy conscience – absorbed like a lymph within the beloved borders of a room in Victorian style, assembled between the sweet hills of Sussex. Reason and poetry are wed in the lyrical transcription that Nadia Nava makes about her flight from the crazy crowd, suffered isolation comforted only by the safety of the objects, anchor of rescue for a weak existence carried by the current. A moving picture of ordinary loneliness reflected in a female intimacy.

  • La Repubblica, Woolf e lo sconosciuto due solitudini parallele 18.7.2013
  • La Provincia Pavese, Rooms. A Palazzo Botticella visioni, emozioni, sogni 25.9.2013
  • Adriano Accattino, catalogo Pensare oltre la parola, ed. Museo della Carale, Ivrea 2013
  • Mur Mur of Art, Il giudizio e la mente, articolo web, 12 dicembre 2013
  • Laura Monaldi, catalogo Vitamine, edizioni Polistampa 2015
  • Marcella Busacca, Non di solo pane, articolo web, 14.9.2015
  • Laboratorio Formentini, Poeti a Brera/Arte & Co. Coincidenze, 18.12.2015
  • Marina Magi, Omaggio al centenario del movimento Dada, La Nazione 20 aprile 2016
  • Guido Mura, Mostre insolite, Domura.wordpress.com, 16.10.2016
Francesca Cattoi, “Nadia’s room”, catalogo A Room Of One Own’s, ed. Galleria Il Gabbiano, La Spezia 2016

Nadia Nava has studied Virginia Woolf’s work for years. She has learned to love this writer who, in the nervous fragility of her being, has succeeded in analyzing and describing the flow of thoughts that constantly permeate our life and in which stories, ideas and gestures are formed that then crystallize in a novel, a painting or a cinematographic or theatrical work. Over time, Nava has dedicated several works to her and her books, for example “Please return” (1996-2000) an installation consisting of a screenprint of a photographic portrait of Woolf and a cardboard reproduction of her books with their original covers; or “All travelers like us …” (1996) which reproduces, on a large table, the travel calendar of the English writer which included a visit to Rome in May 1935 and to which Nava has also added a stop in Ferrara, a city where the work in question was exhibited during the VII Biennale Donna. From 1913 her vision widened and Nava began to form a set of works conceived as the reconstruction, between fantasy and reality, of the room, the studio where Woolf conceived her works. 

The inspiration which started it were photographs from the time of the English writer’s studies as well as certain ideas about ​​how the houses of the wealthy, bourgeois class of the twenties and forties were furnished. These images are enriched and / or completed with realistic samples from meetings and the artist’s experiences, which succeed in composing a credible context even in the absence of an exact reproduction of a precise historical environment.

The construction of Nava’s “Room of One’s Own” is composed of everyday objects: a shelf, books, a parasol, a hatbox, vases, landscape paintings and portraits. The room is nourished by the two-dimensional nature of these elements, obtained through an original and personal technique: “I prepare wood, which I shape beforehand, on which I paste Japanese paper that becomes like a skin. Then I mainly use pastels to give light and shade and features to the forms, but sometimes I also add oil colors ”.

The artist’s interest is directed toward the continuous dialogue between the various elements, where hyperrealism is not pursued in itself but only as a function of the story, so that the eye of the observer is intrigued both by the knowledge of realistic reproduction of the object, and by the preciousness of dexterity in drawing up the sign on the paper. 

Nadia Nava owns her own home-studio in Milan and her work table is located under a well-lit window from which you can see the roofs and interiors of the surrounding buildings. A silent and spacious place, where she works on her art and on experimentational colouring of fabrics. That is where she created the elements that make up the installation.

The first version of the room dates back to May 2013 when Nava exhibited it at her solo show at the Gli Eroici Furori gallery in Milan. The room was enriched and the number of elements increased during the second presentation of it in September at the Rooms exhibition, Palazzo Bottigella Gandini in Pavia. Here Nava had the opportunity to arrange the piece inside a seventeenth-century hall, full of silence due to the small size of the space and of history due to the window frames and the stuccoes on the ceiling. For the third version, now presented at the Gabbiano della Spezia, we find ourselves in front of a desk, a table full of books, a console with a collection of Liberty vases (like those collected by Virginia’s brother-in-law, Clive Bell), a clothes hanger with a straw hat to wear on walks, perhaps those in the beautiful garden of Monk’s House in Rodmell where Woolf spent many happy hours, and a white lace umbrella. There are also three life-size Ming vases, a shelf with books and other objects and an entire collection of paintings, “Virginia’s collection” in the words of Nadia, where personal portraits of the family or characters in her books (between which is the dog of her friend Elizabeth Barrett Browning, who inspired the novel Flush) alternate with landscapes and sketches of the English countryside, among which stands out the one that portrays the Ouse, the river where she decided to end her life, while in the Writer’s Desk there is an open notebook on which you can read the previously mentioned travel calendar and the letter that Virginia leaves to Leonard before taking her own life, a moving greeting to the person who made her really happy. The presentation of Nada’s room in La Spezia becomes larger and bolder, the references to the real room inhabited by Woolf become more distant, it becomes a place where one must perhaps enter one at a time, where one must be at ease in solitude, where the meticulous and exhausting work of the artist is reflected in the equally meticulous and exhausting application that the English writer devoted to her work. There is elegance and sobriety in that room, as we could imagine existed in the houses inhabited by the Woolfs. …

The room is alive, not crystallized. The installation will probably grow further in terms of size and number of elements which makes it a primary necessity for anyone who wants to make art to become a little obsessed by an artist whose research remains delicate. After all, this installation is a sort of performance where each of us is called to play the role of writer / writer, the role of Virginia Woolf during the short time of the visit which will then be dismantled and presented again in another place and in another moment. This construction appeals to the love for the objects that surround us and for the places where we live that become the frame in which to remember that, citing Woolf’s words: “Life for both sexes […] is ardous, difficult, in perpetual struggle. It calls for gigantic courage and strength. More than everything, creatures of illusion as we are, it calls for confidence in oneself ”.

  • Valerio Cremolini, Omaggio a Virginia Woolf firmato Nadia Nava, Il Secolo XIX 21 febbraio 2016
  • Manuela Bonadeo, Lo spazio dell’artista libero, Oltre, novembre/dicembre 2016
  • Valerio Cremolini L’Avanguardia Dadaista sbarca al Liceo Artistico Il Secolo XIX 11 maggio 2017
  • Città della Spezia online, Narrate uomini le storie altrui, 12 novembre 2017
  • Valerio Cremolini Se i grandi scrittori ispirano la pittura Il Secolo XIX 2 dicembre 2017
  • Provincia Monza e Brianza Se una notte di primavera un viaggiatore Sergio Borrini e Nadia Nava 11 maggio 2017
  • Adriano Accattino, catalogo Forma e trasforma, ed. Museo della Carale, Ivrea 2018