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Lighting Designer
Marisa Saggio
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Light illuminates, highlights, defines, informs … performing a great number of functions in the most widely varied environments.

But the idea of using light to create art is a bit startling, and very innovative: instead of exhibiting paintings showcasing her pictorial techniques, Marisa Saggio has focused her latest exhibit on “lightworks,” made by projecting images on walls or over particular scenes created in an environment. The technique is actually quite simple: the artist projects the image, then sketches it out; on the basis of the drawing a gobo is made. This special filter gives shape to the beam of light. A gobo is made for each one of the images featured in the exhibit, enabling them to be projected onto the desired surface.

The projector plays a fundamental role, guaranteeing the work’s full fidelity to the criteria used for its conception: it must provide a powerful, uniform projection of light over the entire surface to be covered and a constant color temperature which ensures a homogeneous display, it must be stable and reliable and it must have a design which complements its surrounding environment.

Marisa Saggio, a sensitive artist who often uses sophisticated artistic techniques, carefully researched the type of technology most suitable for embodying her ideas. Her encounter with Clay Paky, the leading Italian producer of professional show lighting, has led to a mutually enriching relationship of collaboration. This has been made possible thanks to the involvement of ALTAIR by Pietro Tondello, exclusive dealer of the Clay Paky products for the North East regions of Italy.

Clay Paky Display Line is a line of projectors built for precision projection of an image in a variety of modes, making them ideal for a great number of professional applications. The V.I.P. 300, the family archetype, consists of an illuminating body which uses a 300-watt metallic halide lamp. The two electrified guides connected to the illuminating body can be used to mount a vast range of static and dynamic effects, at times even in combination.

For the “Stellar Announcements” exhibit, Marisa Saggio used sixteen V.I.P. 300’s. Twelve of these outline the female figures on the dark walls, arranged in a spiral which leads the spectator into a vortex, at the center of which – on the floor – the twelve phases of the moon shine all together. In the background, at the edge of the spiral, three more V.I.P. 300’s project the phrase that the artist has chosen to epitomise the exhibit in three languages: Italian, Greek and Japanese, symbolising a contemporary, classic and exotic vision.

The artist proposes static light paintings as well: all of the V.I.P.’s used are equipped with a gobo carrier to allow projection of the image. The support on which the work of art is created – what we would call it the “canvas” of a painting – is actually a chromium gobo; a toughened glass filter on which the various layers of colors – obtained with metal vapors – are impressed. The parts of color which are not required are then removed and the desired image is obtained. In this case, the image is created by white strips which outline and define the female figures.

Marisa Saggio has this to say about her original artistic experience: “I’m very satisfied; by using light I’ve been able to explore new forms of expression, and to communicate them using a fresh narrative code. Clay Paky gave me the technical support necessary to best develop my ideas, explaining all the expressive and applicative options offered by Display Line. I believe that there are ample possibilities for expanding on the use of light in the field of art!”

Marisa Saggio’s “Stellar Announcements” exhibit was held in the splendid Villa Domenica at Lancenigo (TV), well known in the art world both for its outdoor sculpture collection as well as for its annual hosting of contemporary artists’ exhibits. In order to smoothly integrate the classic architecture of the environment with the requirements of contemporary art, Marisa Saggio worked in close collaboration with architect Teso, a great interior design expert who has always been aware of the importance of light in our culture. The light-shadow contrast was carefully calculated, dividing the space and creating a suitable distance between the projected images, taking into account the perspective vision produced by the spiral. An 85 mm. lens was chosen for mounting on the V.I.P. 300, in order to balance the projection distance with the size of the image.
“What I try to do is create imaginary worlds, which allow you to leave reality for a moment … and then to come back in!” continues Marisa Saggio. “I’ve been told that many people who’ve seen the “Stellar Announcements” exhibit, based on the cycle of the moon, have been inspired to take a look at the real moon. Form the artist’s point of view, I’d say that this is truly the most gratifying reward.”

The “Stellar Announcements” exhibit will be repeated in Padua this fall. Marisa Saggio is enthusiastic about re-proposing her lightworks, knowing that she can count on the strong impact that innovative contemporary art techniques have especially on the young generation, as well as on the continuing support of Clay Paky, always ready to welcome in and to promote new cultural initiatives.