SIMONE FORTI & the space in between

Another Pretty Autumn at The Box,

Los Angeles, April-May 2022

I can’t even tell what it is, what these things in the space really are. Evocations maybe. Evocations of a dancing creature who celebrates the lands in her life and the spirits of nature, wandering everywhere except in unfriendly countries run by dictators. Her name is Simone. The Box, the gallery, turns into a space with punctuations. And the so called still objects, not many, silently evoke the surprising moments of Simone’s art of improvisation: her way of filtering the world removing edges, a codified syntax, measurements. Feeling the flow of life, the spirit of places.
      It’s a space in between lives she inhabits with love, grace and intelligence. Here I see her art as a space in between stories, gestures never repeated in the same way, homage to reality that changes our cells  every second. A black something was tossed in a corner and left there. Loud  vibrations hover over it, one must hear them just looking at the gong hung from the ceiling. Let your mind dance in her space, hear and imagine.
     Thinking doesn’t come first for Simone. Perception works, per-ception, discovery of living moments or forms, observation of the many sides of each story from the worm’s standpoint, for instance, who is always clean when he or she or it comes out from dirt and dust. Or she pays attention to the fear of some spiders “who can look up from the floor and see you and run for cover.” 
Did you ever meet Simone? If not, start now with me. At the opening of  Another Pretty Autumn she gave Peter and I a walk through the show. After bringing herself out of the wheel chair, she turned it and pushed it, like children like to do. Let’s move! And pushing her Parkinson around the gallery, with all the strange angles the disease had added to her body, she looked pretty as a teen, with her flattering, short hair cut and a bright red shirt.  Space binds, she writes. Space loves her body rolling jumping and often lying down, as if listening to invisible voices, merging with lost or future steps.

Simone’s texts from OH, TONGUE 2003

I started reading the news when my father died. He got us out of Europe very early when we still could. And still I sometimes dream that I’m hiding in the grass, And I hear the soldiers’ boots and voices and I hide very still. And in my dreams they never find me, I can see them go by. And now I see images of villages bulldozed in the desert. Wells, wells poisoned. An eye for an eye. And…

Issues are named. In a way they are names. They are constructed of experiences. They come to me, as the digestion of many stories. They identify the tide of problem. But it’s hard to say what you mean with grace. By grace, I mean the way thoughts and perceptions really go. A maze of juxtapositions of sense and nonsense, pulling towards meaning.

FORTI & TARDOS, Statues, 1977

For me, dancing has almost always been a way to explore nature. I find material from forms in nature. More than that, I identify with what I see, I take on its quality. its nature or “spirit.” It’s an animistic process. When dancing, I somehow return to the memory of the source experience and I become what I feel or see or hear, or even what I think.

These impressions animate me. In my feelings, I loose the distinction between the things I sensed out there, my perception of them and myself. I return to the humidity in the air, the rich scent of white clover blossoms thickens the cells of my body, while my hands re-experience the coolness in the shade under the squash plants’s umbrella leaves.

There are moments when I get completely lost in the movement. In the sound and rhythm of the words. I still have all the concerns of space, of timing of movement interest. And it’s this choreographic consideration which gives form to the improvisation and makes it intelligible. I often feel that movement is like paint and words like pencils, or vice versa, together, on a canvas. LOGOMOTION.

Simone Forti Figure Bag Drawings 2020 Acrylic and graphite on paper 53.5 x 41 inches 135.9 x 104.1 cm

How to explain what I learn from the snow, from the compost bin, from the stars?

When a fresh wind is blowing down the mountain, I absolutely gulp it down. Gulp it in.

Or reaching into the dirt for the potatoes, my self dives into my fingers and I am the dry crumbly ground.

I am the cool round things of delicate russet skins, emerging miraculously clean.

There’s something I was thinking. Well maybe it was sad. Mercy. I was thinking about mercy. That’s why I got to the worm. And I was thinking about when I was twelve and we went back to Italy after the war. And this man came stumbling down the street, very tall. Very Gangly. And he was praising Mussolini. And he was crazed. And starved. And the grocer man was taking little tiny apples, little hard apples and pelting! Pelting the man with the apples. And the man was scooping them up and eating them. Scooping them and eating them. Scooping them and eating them. Scooping them and eating them. And … “Il Duce! Il Duce!” he was (bang!) pelted and eating them eating them eating eating eating the bullets. Eating bullets.

Simone and her father

Thanks to Mara, Jason and the Box for providing and sharing the images, but first of all for making this show.

Simone Forti, OH, TONGUE, 2003 Beyond Baroque Books, Los Angeles. edited with an afterward by Fred Dewey