I don’t know if Deanna Comellini knows artists Lygia Clark, Lucy Orta and Andrea Zittel, yet she is their companion in exploring the relationship between body and living. In considering living as a condition of being, being on earth, as Martin Heidegger said. Lygia Clark and husband Helio Oiticica worked in post-colonial Brazil. Their works on the body and the Brazilian “being on earth” materialized into perceptive clothing that put individuals in relation to each other through touch; clothes in which to seek refuge and rediscover an identity ousted by colonialism. Lucy Orta makes no secret of following Clark’s work, she uses haute-couture techniques to construct clothing refuges, some collective, designed for the urban homeless. Clothing/dwellings which establish relations between the being on earth of the excluded. Andrea Zittel creates living units, fitted around her needs and sensitivity, that become extensions of clothing, understood as a
uniform. The first step taken towards units were living rugs, designed to recreate the traditional functions of living on the floor. Deanna weaves rugs that have atmospheric vibrations, the scorching heat of the earth, the softness of moss, the shimmer of water, the warmth of the sun, the flickering of flames. Rugs that are earth on which to be, that are living ideas. Rugs that have the colour of seasons to re-establish ties between body and nature, to recreate that original idea of living that is being on earth. Not decorative, not furnishings: but portions of earth, near and far, fertile and arid, that make living a journey, that retrace the nomadic origin. Deanna weaves rugs that become irregular imperfect, unstable and fragile bodies to be embraced, to hold on to in order to rediscover the thrill of contact and the taste of carnal relations. They become encircling and protective like nests. Softness to dive into, to drown in. Deanna doesn’t strictly design objects or weave rugs and mats, she explores, with the delicacy of a hand accustomed to caressing natural materials and revealing their beats, the relationships between bodies and their being on earth. This is what makes us think of art, of the sensitivity that Lygia, Lucy and Andrea have for this condition of being that is living: a body, clothing, a rug, a unit, a space. This is why Lygia, Lucy, Andrea and Deanna seem as sisters to me in how they mark the confines of living in connection to the body, to its existential condition. After all, to feel at home anywhere in the world, it is enough to have a small piece of earth on which to leave an impression, a den to use as a refuge; a rug is enough, a cushion is enough. If they seem to be made of sand, moss, sun, water, fire and clouds, then they really are a home ‘to be’, free from problems of living.