Giulia Ricci

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weakened her discerning eye. Even today, Ricci visibly winces at the thought of clutter. Less is more; a quiet, one-to-one engagement with things is preferred. Ricci’s decision to study sculpture at The Slade School of Art in London in 2005 was driven less by a desire to make objects and more from a need to understand her work in relation to a given space. Supported by her tutors, the sculptors Edward Allington and Cathy de Monchaux, Ricci embarked on a gradual journey of loosening things up, often experimenting with edible or malleable domestic materials to create sensuous work with a featherlight presence. With a nod to artist Shelagh Wakely (1932-2011), Ricci used stencils and sieved wheat flour to create ornate triangulated patterns on the floor. Over time, this vulnerable installation eroded underfoot, enabling reflection on temporality and on the challenges of giving structure to substances that resist compliance. In a similar ‘kitchen experiment’, Ricci carved triangular recesses into a wax tablet, infilling them with chocolate to create a decorative slab reminiscent of exquisite marquetry or an ancient tiled floor freshly unearthed at an archaeological site. This process of embedding a material into shallow recesses anticipates her subsequent laser cut infill works. Changes are also discernible in Ricci’s post-Slade work on paper, particularly in her Order/Disruption series of drawings where one glimpses a growing trust in intuitive working processes and a willingness to challenge systems. Triangles are pushed and pulled in different directions to create fault lines and deliberate deviations that revel in the particular and the unique. Ricci has asked herself many times, ‘what kind of abstraction do I do?’ Even the briefest analysis of her influences reveals a plethora of global approaches. On the one hand, Ricci acknowledges a long tradition of op, kinetic and concrete art practices. She also cites work that fuses minimalism with a certain intricacy or personal intensity by artists including Anni Albers, Agnes Martin and Ricci’s friend and mentor, Tess Jaray. Equally evident is an interest in so-called ‘poor’ materials championed in the work of the Arte Povera artists. Ricci recently noted the strong influence of Marisa Merz: ‘I see my work as quite humble. Merz had a very caring, gentle way of treating her materials that I empathise with.’2 In addition, there are many important interdisciplinary sources informing Ricci’s practice including Islamic architecture, the buildings of Carlo Scarpa and Aldo Rossi, the insightful writings of Italo Calvino, Portuguese azulejos, quilts, textiles, maps and diagrams; not forgetting the incidental ornamentation encountered in daily life. The