Wen Chin Fu is a Catholic Taiwanese who found in this religion an aspect that is lacking in her cultural tradition – the importance of the individual. Rebecca decided to take Wen Chin to a small village in South Italy where Catholicism is still deeply rooted and has preserved all its visible ritual and mystic characteristics. Followed by around 1.2% of the population, in Taiwan Catholicism has become part of a tradition that bases its roots on religious conceptions and philosophical systems – such as Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and other archaic pantheist religions – that do not recognise the transcendent aspect of
The Weight of the Human Being,is an installation completed in 2007 for the group exhibition Doppio Gioco. This site-specific installation was made up of two blow-ups on two of the windows of the Loggia, two television screens and various golden coloured stones arranged on the floor. The photomacrographs depict a young girl, both in profile and frontally, holding some golden stones – the only coloured element that exalts the black/white of the picture. With her eyes open and shedding a tear, or with her eyes closed and her head tilted backwards, the young woman seems to be trying to take her eyes
The installation Kisses from China focuses on the need to ‘reckon’ with the new Chinese super power that is changing both the political and economic balance on the world scales. And it is precisely the vastity of China that can be seen in this installation: its impressiveness is dictated by the compact, orderly presence of every single element, from the serial nature of the flags that are placed in an orderly row, one after the other. In the artist’s vision, the image of a country whose strength lies in its cultural traditions, and the principles of work and family, is translated into the nationalistic
The Song Tree is a site specific project specially designed for Palazzo Borea Sanremo. For the occasion, the Taiwanese composer Wen Chi Fu composed an original music inspired by the theme of the installation: the legendary “Talking Tree”(Tree song), which according to ancient mythology, check the navel of the world and touched the North Star. The talking tree creates a musical bridge between heaven and earth, a link between man and the universe. The tree is the image of sound origin of the world, where before the figures and faces, there were rhythm and melody. The
A three-dimensional cartoon shows the aerial view of a typical cosmopolitan city with soaring skyscrapers. Black birds, a bad omen, are moving in flocks on the rooftops of the high buildings with an inauspicious sound track in the background. Below the screen is a book for the viewer: written by the Argentine Marcos Rosenzvaig playwright especially for this work, “The Scrolls of the Dead Planet” describe the rediscovery in 2050 of ancient manuscripts in a bottle in which a sage rabbi describes the conquest of an entire planet driven by money: the earth, now nothing more than trade goods, has thus come
Essay of the Principle of the Population combines the bidimensional aspect with a tridimensional object : eight texts in red frames, arranged in two rows, are placed above the same number of plastic red hands opened towards the viewer. The sculptural value of the whole lies in the chromatic contrast of the red and white that alternate in the different elements. The colour red is recurrent in Rebecca Ballestra’s work as the versatile metaphor of love, sin, blood and death, but in 2009 it also became an element she used to attract the viewer’s attention: here, the red hands and frames are a
Four digital photographic elaborations of the same size present the same number of vegetables – lettuce, orange, broccoli, apple –against a dark background. As if they had been scanned, these vegetables are no longer in three dimensions: they have become flat surfaces, upon which creases and natural wrinkles seem to be mere decoration. The text printed over them includes the figures regarding patents fo seeds registered by American multinationals in the ‘90s. On the broccoli leaf, for example, one can read: US Patent No. 4,677,246 Title: Prootogyny in Zea Mays Assignees: Dekalb-Pfizer Genetics. The number of the patent, the title, and the company identify the
The work consisted in three embroideries that transform the Americas, Asia and Europe into a colourful interweaving of threads, almost as if the grandeur of the large continents had been reduced to simple doilies. As stated in the title, Global Plots, the work is a reflection on how distances have been shortened and speed increased in the globalised society, which means that the risk of viruses and pandemics spreading is also greater, as was the case with the swine flu that started in Mexico, the ‘chicken flu’ (Sars), which spread in Asia, and the so-called ‘mad-cow’ disease that developed in Europe.
Maria Rebecca Ballestra was born in 1974 in Italy, where she studied at the Fine Arts Academy in Florence. The visual artist focuses in her work on reprocessing and resetting social, political and environmental themes and on synthesizing ethno-cultural codes, investigated during journeys and several artist residencies program all around the world, among which Signal Fire (USA), Cambridge Sustainable Residency (UK), Transnational Culture (Brazil) Sunhoo Industrial Design Innovation Park (China), Sowing Seed (India), Taipei Artist Village (Taiwan), just to name a few.
Next to photography and installations, site specific operations, performances
Memory of Rain is a site specific project realized during the workshop “Sowing Seeds” in Sar Village (Rajasthan- India). The project wants to investigate the problem of desertification and its consequences in the rural area, as Sar Village. Dry lands occupy nearly half of Earth’s land area. Across the world, desertification affects the livelihoods of millions of people whorely on the benefits that dry land ecosystems can provide. Therefore, desertification is one of the greatest environmental challenges today and amajor barrier to meeting basic human needs in dry
1974 Born in Ventimiglia (Italy)
1998 Graduation in Fine Arts, Accademia di Belle Arti, Florence (Italy)
Lives and works in Italy and in Paris
2013 Solo Show at Goat Art Project curated by Sara Rees (Cardiff – Wales), Double solo Show Ballestra Maria Rebecca/Andrea Francolino curated by Paola Valenti/ Alberto Mattia Martini, Galleria Spazio Testoni (Bologna-Italy) 2012 Itinerary project Journey into Fragility, promoted by ADAC (Archive of Contemporary Art of the University of Genoa), Kalart (Switzerland), Galerie Alberta Pane (France), Maqroll (Italy) and Ramdom (Italy) 2011 Changing Perspective, series of own