- Romana Londi
Jetlag: Lullaby to the Tick of Two Clocks
In 2017, Romana Londi became aware that her house plants were often dying. She then realised that she was placing them where she thought it would be best to place them and not where the light was reaching and touching them. Her work is connected to the living in the literal and physical sense because it is connected to its limits, to what struggles and disappears.
JETLAG is about our bodies and their incredible vulnerability to their environment. The eponymous phenomenon is the meeting of two clocks - an intimate one and a universal one - which, when moving too fast, end up divorcing from each other, creating a rupture of rhythms. This distortion and disorientation phenomenon is at work in Romana’s new series of paintings. The photochromatic medium that she uses in the form of collages in the painting allows for a transformation of the colours in contact with UV and light, but also in contact with the shadows that come closer and lie on them. Just like our bodies, the painting captures and reacts to its immediate context in a performative movement.
In her originally abstract compositions, some figurative elements now stand out, floating and dissociated, a religious and otherworldly symbolism. Bones, heads, stars, drapes and doors,
the machinery of the body through the figure of San Bartolomeo - so dear to Romana - flayed alive and carrying his skin on his shoulders, like a burden or a cloak.
Living outside of the body.
A representation of the Saint guards the entrance to the artist’s studio in Rome. The collages of chromatic photo plastics are windows that allow life to emerge in a violent and powerful impossibility of containing it. It has gone mad. Monstrous, scattered, pulsating forms invade the canvases.
The head is upside down, the head is down, the head carried to the top, the head is submitted to our feet.
This series of works intervenes precisely within a desire to repair and reconnect with oneself, physically, psychically, and relationally. In these disrupted environments where gravity is reversed, standing up dissolves into lying down and gradually becoming aware of the forms comes down to manifest the power of the living. Determination. Endurance.
Romana’s paintings safeguard vitality and death, the beginning and the end. Between the two,
ghosts of the past emerge, stirred by the storms of a painting that loses its bearings. Sacha Guedj, who is organising the artist’s first solo exhibition in Paris, and I exchanged a lot while writing this text. This resurgence of the past in the dismantled present of the canvas is linked to its immediate environment. It summons the iconography of crosses and gorgons, the treatment of Caravaggio- like chiaroscuro, bursting out of the painting like violent flashes of light personified by the artist’s brush. The composition becomes a violent scene of dramatic theatre in which Romana’s spectral characters participate, caught up in a movement associated with chiaroscuro that dislocates and shatters forms - aware of Tintoretto’s legacy.
The artist’s work is therefore made up of times that collide. The agitation at work is as much a refusal to go too fast as it is a refusal of the fixed and the settled, a resistance to the linearity of narratives. In some places, the photochromic lenses form planets, suns, clocks or eyes. Windows or eyes on worlds in progress that one must take the time to embrace.
Lullaby, to the tick of two clocks.
For the exhibition Jetlag: Lullaby to the Tick of Two Clocks, Romana Londi continues her investigation of the embodied experience of otherness and transformation. Made as part of an exclusive collaboration with Transitions Lenses and Luxottica Essilor, the artist presents a limited-edition series of photochromic prints and unique collages of photochromic film and paint. Synchronised with sunlight and hence geographical location, season and time of day, the works become hybrids which gather and synchronise conflicting realities, consciously defying fixed identity, politics and narratives instead playing with vibrating temporalities.
By presenting light (the invisible and all-powerful primary condition for life on earth) as an expression of consciousness and danger, what emerges is a sublime understanding of sentience that exists beyond the domain of our known visual realm instead evoking a rarefied state of awareness.
Romana Londi graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2009. Selected Exhibitions include Planet B, Climate Change and The New Sublime, Venice, IT ‘I am the beat, Desire Nights, IMMA Museum, Dublin, IRL Gaia has a Thousand Names, Elgiz Museum, Istanbul, TR Mademoiselle, Centre Regional D’Art Contemporain, Sete, FR.