Sara Rossi

Prologues for a reading

Prologues for a reading, Sara Rossi’s inaugural solo exhibition at Zodiac Pictures, metaphorically delves into the Greek origins of pro (before) and logos (word) – prompting contemplation on what existed before the articulation of thoughts or feelings, inviting a nuanced reflection as one engages with Sara’s paintings.

Through an interplay of colors and forms, a sense of spatiality is created on small canvases. However, these aren’t spaces conforming to physical architecture or suggesting perspective based on scientific parameters. Sara’s paintings release themselves from mathematical representation, dismissing the conventional concept of reality or the mere portrayal thereof. Instead, her works unfold mental spaces, giving shape to thoughts before the viewer’s eyes.

Sara thinks in images and is on a constant quest to uncover the origins of visual meaning, yet not within the tradition of illusionistic painting. Across diverse cultures, ways of thinking and belief systems have been encapsulated in images and symbols, serving as visual narratives that convey understandings of reality. With her academic background in the philosophy of language, Sara is influenced by a particular interest in the semantics of existence.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Sara’s artistic practice has grown from similar explorations. Her deep engagement with mystical traditions first led to drawing – delicate forms and figures that materialize almost magically on paper, emerging from a meditative state, transcending ego, and bridging a connection to spiritual realms.

Over time, these imaginary worlds have expanded as paintings on canvas and wood. They explore the fertility of surfaces, feel the warmth of light, and live particularly through their soft shades of color, conveying mood and materiality. Sara has a special affinity with color. Growing up in the Italian mountains, she was surrounded by the vast, gentle blue sky and green formations – her first visual understanding of comfort as a child. These nuances consistently resonate in her works… and looking around Sara’s apartment in Berlin, one encounters a similar color palette.

While her color application mostly relies on intuitive impulses, there are also instances of conscious interventions – especially regarding color theory and its spiritual significance. The entire spectrum of blue iconographically represents a divine connection to the heavens, with the pale azure in Sara’s works at Zodiac Pictures exuding a particular delicacy and tranquility. “Through such clouds of blue will often shine out golden stars of great brilliancy, darting upwards like a shower of sparks,”¹ reads a description in the famous theosophical book Thought-Forms from 1901. Although not explicitly in reference to Sara’s paintings, which emerged over 100 years later, the phrase remarkably captures their essence. Indeed, shiny silver particles seem to twinkle on the panels’ surface, evoking a celestial firmament and echoing the ritual-historical significance of metallic colors in Byzantine art.

A certain ethereal aura, reminiscent of religious paintings, is also present in Sara’s works. Despite the modest small format with their gentle, pale colors and soft curves, an inherent strength emanates from these works. An energy that doesn’t assert itself aggressively, but rather embodies patience and loyalty – a kind of maternal care. Thus, the works are nurturing in nature. They do not consume and should not be consumed – otherwise, their character would never reveal itself to the viewer. They invite the viewer to spend time, to decelerate and introspect, to create a home within their own mental space.

Therefore, it is fitting that Sara’s artistic process unfolds within the intimacy of her living space, embodying the very essence of domestic warmth and comfort. Acting as a soothing embrace, these paintings retain the qualities of drawings and books – the origins of Sara’s artistic work. It takes a certain proximity to see and feel seen.

– Pina Bendfeld

¹ Annie Besant and C.W. Leadbeater, Thought-Forms, 1901