“If I stretch my arms and wonder where my fingers are, that is all the space I need as a painter.”
Willem de Kooning,
Born in Rome from a cosmopolitan family, Barbara Duran is contemporary artist, painter and videomaker. She started exposing in the early ’90s, in collective and personal exhibitions in Italy and abroad. Her work is currently exposed in private and public collections, in Italy, France, Greece and other countries.
She is the artistic director of Studio Urbana, a cultural space founded in Rome’s heart center, in 2007 and dedicated to art.
At Studio Urbana, Duran curated personal and collective exhibitions, collaborating with institutions and other art galleries, and independently created and published several art publications.
About Duran’s work have written many esteemed intellectuals and artists. Among others:
Duran’s painting captures the soul elusive nature. Spiritual and material, ethereal and luminous or dense and obscure like lava, it solicits deep resonances. In a pure dimension of artistic skills and inner authenticity her work moves between memory, dream and reality, winning critical acclaim and international momentum.
For their peculiar character, Duran’s works stand out as open, inclusive art, where natural and human elements flow into each other in a cosmic embrace, at times painful. A political act, against the insulting and overbearing vulgarity of our contemporary world, that afflicts the dignity of all creatures, by cutting the circuits of human co-existence.
My WHITE project was born on a winter evening, in my countryside study, nearly five years ago. The first work realized was La grande mére, she who gives life to all creatures, symbol of strength and fertility, in its broadest and deepest sense. The paramount ancestral archetype and among the most represented figures in the history of art and humanity.
Visiting Barbara Duran's studio one discovers, piled up, heavy wooden structures, straight up against the walls, waiting: they are old rough doors, or rough with yellowed paint and they weigh like old woods that have absorbed the ravages of humidity and the fire of the sun. They stand clustered on the wall, supporting themselves by weighing on themselves. They are waiting for Barbara to draw with soft oxides and white impastos, great living figures, evanescent transparencies, blocks of matter.
Just "like a storyteller", Barbara Duran reports the experiences she lives in first person and that she finds in others, distinct from her, but towards whom she claims deep empathy, a feeling too often set aside and forgotten. This is the political act revealed through her works. Intimate memories showing as collective vision: and this is her point of arrival: a reflection that manifests itself in her vaporous and ethereal canvases.
I believe a true artist is the one who translates a set of images into sensation. The Artist-Shaman is the one who turns an image into an idol, by transporting it from the ‘territory of the uncontrollable’ to the ‘territory of certainty’. The world-images, contained in Duran’s works are proof of that.
Duran's fundamental interest is not aiming at the reasons of narrative, but at becoming the painting of narrative. And here is it: her elaboration of matter; conception of spaces, the composite stabilities. Observing, the harmonious accents of light and shadows, we see how the “volumetric” intentions determine the physicality of a body. Brush strokes, often bitter, slithering on a wooden support which absorbs the colour.
It is a restless work of imposed order, which at the same time frees senses and structures covering the current image, a door allowing a sigh to pass through, a whiteness of sound, subtly interweaving icons that loosely fall into a dull silence, as liquefied apparitions...