8’50’’, colors, sound, 2004
I have developed a series of “exercises” aimed at making the reading of a text difficult, but not impossible, through the use of specially contrived processes. Filming the various situations attention was focused on the single reactions of individuals and the dynamics between two or more persons. The tone and accent used betrayed the difficulty experienced in understanding even the sense of the phrases in the reading exercise.
(The human effort to understand reality begins in childhood, indeed at birth, and unites us all. This is why we have the voice of a little boy at the end in which we can perceive the eager and moving effort made to understand the text he has been given to read.) This effortful reading, the only humanly possible, also generates possible interpretations. Humankind draws from this bottomless well, making its greatness precisely from this limit.
by Angela Vettese
For years now, calmly and with determination, Mariateresa Sartori has been engaged in work which is centred technically on video but without being limited by the language of this medium. To my eyes, the common factor linking these works which differ greatly from each other, is their ability to tell stories and set them so as to oscillate between micro-event and epic inspiration. Moreover the artist’s stylistic language posses a dryness that does not concede to the narrative anything more than its synthetic features, even when these are prolonged over time. There is no room for overt sentimentality, even when these documents open up chasms of emotion – laughter, attention, involvement, empathy and so on.
The artist has the quality of linking moral issue to references from scientific research and generally to consciousness: the true turning point for recent human history, but especially for the future and also in ways we find hard to imagine.
The endeavour seem to be to photograph common people, and though them humankind in general, while they try to understand their experience, aggregation in groups and, more or less imposed group ties. The understanding of the world which we manage to accomplish is, moreover, necessarily incomplete and destined to be like a asymptote, a parabola that cannot manage to touch the vertical line towards which it veers. Consequently we understand without understanding, we decide without having the necessary elements, we act for the most part in the dark. What has occurred to the species on a phylogenetic level, in other words the ever greater understanding of the world around us, also occurs on a ontogenetic level in the development of a child; moreover the evolution of general knowledge, just like individual education, is among the most onerous tasks undertaken by humanity, knowing unconsciously – and forgive me for this inevitable oxymoron, the same key as Mariateresa Sartori’s work – that this is the only means of defence. as groups and as individuals, at different moments of history and in the most disparate geographic locations, we learn to learn willingly, with engagement, tenaciously and therefore with passion. Citing the most diverse expressions of that continuous tension towards overcoming an insurmountable limit in this work is what makes us aware of the small uncertain heroic greatness of humankind.