FORBES - Capturing Our Soul During This Global Pandemic: Spanish Artist Francesca Marti

FORBES - Capturing Our Soul During This Global Pandemic: Spanish Artist Francesca Marti

Deep into the Ground by Francesca Marti.

Seeing this installation in Marti’s home hallway… literally stopped me in my tracks.

Tears is the project, and this installation called Echos, depicting slavery – both modern and historical, and the mental slavery unto ourselves - within our own mind.  Marti explained the inspiration behind this piece was a trip to Petra, where the slaves from Ethiopia were using holes in the caves of Petra to hide in as their refuge, whilst using nature, river and the rocks as their survival. 

Initially this acclaimed artist had a strong feeling of opening up or diving into canvas herself, and so she experimented by climbing into and out of 3D canvas before inviting others. 

First she invited a man from Kentucky, USA, and here we see a gentleman from Sierra Leone, who then moved to London and now lives in Germany. Initially Marti had wrapped canvas around his body, and he had to try and come out himself. It has since evolved into this installation, which also echos the recent Black Lives Matter movement.

Copper in Venus by Francesca Marti, is born of introspection in a period of COVID quarantine, and furthers the allegorical tendency that is at the heart of Marti’s ongoing sculptural and conceptual work.

Born of primary impulses and haptic qualities this latest work reveals both Marti’s sense of intuition, and her ability to capture itinerant moments. The visually encompassing threads of wrapped similitude and difference, in turn touch upon the symbolic female role of alchemy in our daily life—as copper is dominated by the planet Venus. It represents transnational solicitous movement and the arrested conditions of the world, accumulated contents or objets trouvés, collected over the years, have become metaphors of life and timely assimilation. Copper in Venus is a project of long gestation, an expressive intuition latterly finding a place in the world, said Gisbourne.

Recently found myself winding through postcard perfect mountain roads upon an invitation to Marti’s studio and abode in her hometown of Sόller, Mallorca. Nestled upon a hill with a homegrown garden of Eden behind her, and the view of the valley in front, her home is a visual paradise both inside and out. Combining nature, art and meaning, one cannot help but be moved by the curation in every corner. Her mother’s side of the family have lived in this picturesque valley for generations. Driving through the lush deep ravine, one can imagine how there were many years when her grandparents only left the valley once an year - in itself it is a reflection of the Spanish value of enjoyment.

‘Sobre la mesa’; tasting freshly picked tomatoes which explode in your mouth because they have been splashed with salt and drizzled with the finest olive oil; taking your time to connect with family and friends as the sunsets. The value of enjoyment is paramount and it is about understanding balance, says Marti, rather than chasing the trend of over consumption and quantity to leave oneself time poor and without quality.

Marti continues: ‘I remember when people would say, “I feel a pain in my neck, this means bad weather is coming” and they would be right. We were more connected to one another and nature, rather than being reliant on the phone for a prediction of weather, and frankly everything else too.’

If we are not careful, she warns, we could lose the connection with our senses, feelings and intuition, and this is partly a connection with the enjoyment in life.

Have our values changed and what has remained after these periods of lockdown, isolation, quarantine and continuing socially distancing? The answer to this question is perhaps not yet fully known, and will change with time and reflection, but as with Copper in Venus – you are simply moved. Sometimes it is as simple, and enjoyable, as feeling connected to the moment. 

Here, and in Spain more generally, vis a vis some other European or western Nations, it seems people have a little more time and therefore greater appreciation. ‘Our soul is our life, and what we absorb is what we transmit’, shares Marti.

‘Our home in Spain; is a place of enjoyment, and where you celebrate the smaller things in life. That the spring is coming, or fishing, or sharing dishes together - seeing the brighter side of life. People care, such that whilst the outside world may break your soul, at home you’ll not be destroyed but nourished”.

One can see these values reflected clearly in her art. ‘Perhaps I am more sensitive because of where I was born, the environment I lived in and the circumstances of my life, such that I can create in certain moments…’ reflects the artist.

Many years later, curious about the global communication, she started to modulate her Dreamers and Believers depicted above and below. Interestingly, these pieces have been in high demand since COVID19, says Marti, seemingly because ‘belief and faith is what we all need.’

Marti explains: The fear and increasing inequality I witnessed during COVID19 is illustrated as some death, either emotionally, physically or economically. Although we often compromise our values when our time becomes limited, hopefully with more time, we can become closer to nature, inner stability and ourselves again.

Marti’s own daughter Barbara Marti is working on just that. She has set up a sustainable agricultural hotel called Ecocirer, which uses recycled materials and operates with greater awareness. When tourism and therefore business slowed down in recent months, she began to bake bread, held cooking classes for children, and deliver freshly made food from home grown vegetables. This increased understanding of balance and consciousness, understanding a tomato may be less red when it is picked out of season, or in bad weather, reduces our demands and increases our appreciation of the beauty in life. The motto here is to focus on the value of Enjoyment.