“I suggest to everyone to cross a cloud. You can find: the entanglement of the stairs; continuity, uniformity; disorder, agitation; the protection, the filter; the greenhouse; the anvil; impurities; then the rain, the garden; energy; the absence; the thickness of the stretch; the name of a plant. And perhaps also, who knows: a cluster of details, a fractal object, a mathematical structure, an analogue field, the body of an animal, the torn veil of Gaia. ”
The words of the French landscape architect, botanist, gardener and writer Gilles Clement, in his 2011 text “Nuvole”, perfectly represent the scientific and symbolic mystery that clouds underlie. Every man of every age has undergone the primordial charm of the clouds, he has tried to understand composition, formation and functioning. Lucretius in De Rerum Naturae already attempted a scientific approach, defining clouds as aggregates of atoms, not disdaining poetic metaphors. The clouds, aggregate of little drops in suspension, have assumed in the literature, art and religion meanings always different: they have been studied not only by scientists but also by writers and artists, they have been analyzed above all for the relationship that they establish with life and environment. However, there are still many questions and dark areas and scientists are still engaged in understanding how clouds affect the climate system, how they will react to global warming and, consequently, how our lives will change. To understand the living, understand the clouds. Clement offers us a key to understanding: he defines the clouds as a complex, impure and informed, not investigable through Euclidean geometry but through the geometry of fractals, objects endowed with a fractional capacity, whose laws apply to the complex beings that inhabit the nature, finite systems that contain the infinite and the indeterminate and a high degree of abstraction from the real.
In this double reality of finite and unfinished, in a non-quantitative but qualitative dimension, resides the relationship that man has with the celestial vault and it is this relationship that Raffaella Calcagnini travels and investigates in her life as a woman and an artist. Raffaella’s work is between earth and sky, a garden below, a garden at the top. Heaven, the home of unfathomable memories, the living theater of irrationality and knowledge, uncontrolled space and the dwelling place of consciousness, materializes in light and color. the soul sinks and suddenly rises, pulled and attracted by an energetic and swarming whole. “Clouds … Today I am aware of the sky, since there are days when I do not watch it but I only feel it, living in the city without living in the nature in which the city is included. (…) Clouds … I am the interval between what I am and what I am not, between how I dream of being and how much life has made me (…) Clouds … They are everything, collapses of height, only things that are real today between nothing earth and the inexistent sky (…) Clouds … I am like a figurative passage between heaven and earth, at the mercy of an invisible impulse, thunderstruck or silent, that rejoices by the whiteness or saddened by the darkness, far from the noise of the earth, far from the silence of the sky. Fernando Pessoa, in a touching metaphor, compares himself to the cloud, both figurative passages between heaven and earth, at the mercy of an invisible impulse. The cloud is energy, the same that inhabits the mind; we perceive the forces inherent in it, which are propagated to the city and to the nature in which the city is included. The poet-scientist-artist identifies and self-declares an abstract and complex form, traversed by known and less known forces, which has always embarked on a path of knowledge of itself and the divine in it, using natural elements as a scale of reference to transcend towards abstract principles that inform the torn veil of Gaia. The sky, distractor of infinite capacities, territory of the gods, theater of celestial phenomena and improbable objects, is confused with paradise. In the indeterminate system of the sky, Raffaella seeks her own reflection, the big bang of the origins, the entropy, the mystery of creation and of the apocalypse, the transcendence from one’s own limits. Divided between a microcosmic physics and an elementary metaphysics, pointed to the sky in its dual vision, the empirical, real and scientific, and symbolic and imbued with cultural references to the historical moment in which she lives and works. New skies and new lands are tightened by an indelible and continuous thread, an uninterrupted and circular flow of life and death that takes shape in the very identity of God and in his relationship with humanity. In the works of Raffaella sometimes only clouds, monotonous, with the only pigment stretched by the light that transfuses in dazzling veils: they stand out from the deep black, from the darkness of becoming, to explode in breaths and gush out in cerulean spurts. And also: rarefied, materialized and suspended micro-drops accompany the formulas and details in the journey. Nothing is easily measurable: the more the scale of measurement decreases and the more the dimensions increase; reality shows itself in its indeterminacy of vertigo, restlessness and tension to salvation. In other works there are the signs of man’s paths, of his actions: deconstructed elements, protruding oblique planes, exploded and disrupted fractures take on the same materiality as the sky and the clouds. We can inhabit the heavens in the same way as the earth or even inform the earth with the coordinates of the ether, since travelers in a single Being that contains all the possible stories and the multiplicity of every possible experience. Heaven (earth), strange distractor that has for theater the clouds (man), includes within it many attractors that make it unfathomable. Like the clouds, elements of transition between different dimensions, we walk fast and slow, driven by the wind, engraved by lightning, englobed by thunder, irradiated by light.