The Sensorial room of Laddie John Dill

“My book is a painting” wrote Marcel Proust to Jean Cocteau, referring to the “Search” and its many relationships with color: an element that Proust included in almost every single image of his masterpiece. ...“I am a painter and my canvas is the room” declares Laddie John Dill, referring to his installations made from lights and sands and his “atmospheric works” which are, precisely, atmospheres of meaning in which the onlooker is completely absorbed, enveloped as if in a kind of sensorial placenta that makes him or her lose the feeling of time and, sometimes, of space.

A Proust who “paints” colored scenes: there is something paradoxical and unsettling about this, not to mention the idea of a sculptor who “paints” rooms, not with actual color but with “mental” color, a color created by visual sensorial perception, via a brain that re-elaborates it in terms of “environmental” perception, projected in a tout court metaphysical dimension.

This metaphysical dimension dissolves matter, transcending it through the light. Dill thus creates a poetic effect, which is the poetic of atmospheres: a light that is diffused in the space and if we look for a source of inspiration, we would find it in the warm and embracing, almost intangible light of Paolo Veronese, Vermeer or Piero della Francesca, rather than in the violent and sharp light of Caravaggio or Rembrandt.

The poetic quality of this light is transcendent, almost mystic, with a meditative mysticism.

When creating these luminous installations Dill has performed a role we may define as “tonal landscapist”; the artist has succeeded in distributing and irradiating the light almost uniformly in the environment. In “tonal” painting, a genre in which Venetian Sixteenth-painters as Bellini and Giorgione have few rivals, the chromatic tone shade is achieved by superimposing alternating coats of paint and varnish with very slight differences in tone, which are dispersed in the landscape.

The result is an environment charged with mystery, poetry and magic.

Working with hard material like “aluminum 6061” in artworks as “Light Traps”, the ones standing on the wall of this room, Dill true challenges the manipulation of these materials to such a point, and in such a manner, as to render them pliant; to subdue them and be subdued by the poetic charm he has been able to express through them. The material does not lose its identity in this process; the manipulation of aluminum does not change the structure of the material. Indeed, it remains what it is; but the great skill of the artist consists in “putting it on stage” in a poetic way, lending a poetic quality to its substance. The artist gives the material another possible existence.

We may define the works of Dill as vibrations of light because they, in their ethereal nature, seem to vibrate with a “visual sonic quality” where the light is modulated, merged, trapped and directed as if it in a symphony.

The very poetic nature of his works is attributable to the aesthetic effect created by light which is trapped inside the space, and which is then “released” so that it can flow towards the gaze of the viewer.

And inside this exhibition that talks about Light, Sky, and Earth, Dill creates a cohesive moment among the elements. He relates them in a total, full, complete relationship creating an immersive atmosphere in which the viewer is projected as in a state of doubt as to what one perceives; a visual instability in which the image becomes liquid, and the surroundings may even become unreal. A sort of altered reality, a dreamy, immersive and meditative environment; a whole world in which the viewer is projected and become submerged by sensations more than physical perception of real things.

Sky becomes Earth and viceversa: they are elements of a whole that cannot be divided or split in fragments or in sectors: they belong to Nature and Nature is THE only element as a total surrounding to be preserved, respected and loved.