Delphine Lucielle


April 15, 2013

Journey to the centre of art

As one of man’s highest and most complex expressions, what is art if not a fantastic journey to discover an unknown world?


Just as Jules Verne, in his most famous science-fiction novel Journey to the Centre of the Earth, tells the story of an "impossible world" in the bowels of a planet inhabited by gigantic men and extinct creatures, the Californian artist Delphine Lucielle, who shares not only Verne’s passion for science and mineralogy but also for oxymorons, makes the invisible plainly visible in her work. She creates her paintings by fusing mineral pigments (used in lieu of paints) onto glass (that replaces the canvas) to reproduce the invisible structure and aesthetic texture of stones, which are compendiums of scientific knowledge and visual experience.

Mineralogy is one of the disciplines that has contributed greatly to our understanding of the earth’s evolution and therefore to unravelling some fundamental questions regarding the origin of life. Lucielle uses the tools of this science to capture the aesthetic and perhaps apparently more ephemeral appearance of a material seemingly at the origin of everything.


The rich selection of Lucielle’s works presented in the exhibition Through the Stone is in perfect keeping with the objective Venice Projects has set itself – namely, that of promoting international artists interested in experimenting with new and different materials. Lucielle uses glass and stone like living materials, adaptable and responsive to her demands. Her art explores not only the contamination of different materials and languages, but also that of such apparently conflicting worlds as science and humanities, art and craft.


Her works require a detailed technical and scientific knowledge to select the minerals to be scrutinised, and an ability to read the mineral’s history through chemical, physical and structural analysis. Then all this information must be magically and imaginatively synthesised into an aesthetic form, achieved once again not only through the artist’s manual skill but especially through the professional expertise of the numerous artisans who, thanks to their knowledge of the materials, succeed in giving shape to the invisible: to the structure, unknown to most, of this material. The most amazing thing is that the works have an extraordinary beauty, as if to confirm the words of that scientist, artist, writer and inventor Leonardo da Vinci, who stated that “the true art is that of nature and the true artist is its mirror".


It is with great pleasure that Venice Projects hosts for the first time in Italy a solo exhibition by Delphine Lucielle, as one of her most complex works, the polyptych Template for Life, is exhibited at Glasstress, a collateral event of the 55th Venice Biennale.


Adriano Berengo, Venice, April 2013