Maria Magdalena Z’Graggen – Works on paper
Raiza Rojas, The Ludwig Foundation of Cuba, Academia de San Alejandro, La Habana, Cuba, May 2006
It is revealing to verify turning points in the work of an artist. In this exhibition by Maria Magdalena Z’Graggen we attend to the assimilation process of an entirely foreign reality; her relationship with an environment that is “swallowed”, synthesized and returned like a mathematical formula. What is captured is generated by the collision of several elements. Some connect us to references of our urban landscape, while others allude to microscopic or almost invisible entities and to cryptic images that produce multiple sensations.
Living in Cuba for six months while away from her studio in quiet Basel, within a habitat whose dynamic surprised her, mediated the adventure of exploring in different ways the representation of unusual realities, never relating to the commonplace stereotypes of what is considered the Cuban. We experiment also before this group of work, her anguish for apprehending and representing, in a precise dimension, the plural surroundings with which she dialogues.
These premises encouraged the use of mountings and techniques that express the contingency of her relationship with the context. Maria Magdalena works regularly with oil paintings done on wood and her formal searches have been abstractionist. As a part of her creative process she normally devotes a lot of time to the preparation of her paintings. However her stay in Cuba obliged her to inquire more so into her own expressive capacities. Through the use of paper, water color, collage and drawing, what becomes established is a pondered illusion to the figurative without abandoning the limits of the abstract.
The juxtaposition of these languages reveals, in a subtle way, fragments of the tireless reality that surrounds us.