To meet Malgosia Levittoux ( Margherita for Italian friends) is to meet an art medium , able to put you in touch with the beauty that surrounds us and that too often finds us distracted. It happened to me. And that attendance has not stopped anymore. It all started in the Viterbo Tuscia.
A few years ago, in Bolsena
I pass in front of an exhibition space of the Municipality by bicycle and catch some suggestive images with my eyes. I still do a hundred meters, then I go back. I get off the bike and go inside.
Some are images of the Lake of Bolsena: intense watercolors that tend to summarize the whole lake in an emotion that changes from time to time, solar or frowning, but with a gust, always, of magic and mystery.
Then there are the oil paintings: colors now ringing of a lush and triumphant land, now more mellow, intense, compact, in landscapes of severe and mountainous charm. And also portraits of a Nordic expressionism softened by compassion, in the literal sense : an intense and supportive participation. And scattered woodcuts, in black and white, in which the canons that refer to Die Brücke are evident.
No, definitely not the exhibition of a willing local painter, as you often see them in the municipal galleries in the summer. There is the hand of an integral artist: a blonde woman with light eyes, dressed in the same green as the pictures and, on him, the smell of earth, aromas and vegetables. It can not be that she is the author, she is that painting. She is Margherita Levittoux. We introduce ourselves; I have little time for pleasantries because I’m leaving. I invest it with my enthusiasm for what I saw, I tell you to leave me “that mountainous landscape” (of the Pyrenees) and “that watercolor” (of the Lake of Bolsena); “In a month I will come to collect them”. I exchange contacts with Margherita, I do not know if she is more happy or more perplexed by this singular lightning bout. And I’m leaving, because I’m guilty of being late.
A few days ago, in Sorano
Italy has many places of great beauty. Someone even enchanted, in the sense that there is a kind of metaphysical suspension. The Orsini fortress in Sorano is one of these. When you cross it and you head towards the terrace, where a small hotel de charme nestles (Hotel della Fortezza), a Sorano is revealed, seen from above and glimpsed: a village drowned in greenery.
In this context of enveloping and generous nature, until October 2 , Margherita exhibits (in the upper part of the Fortress) an anthological one. In the exhibition the paintings painted in Italy prevail, because this Polish wanderer of French origin (as the surname denounces), after passing through London, Paris and a long stay in the French Pyrenees, decides to go down to Italy to understand what is there Florence and Rome. And, arrived in the Etruscan area, the light that surrounds it and the atmosphere that “hears” the enthusiasm, indeed the erotizzare to such an extent to induce it to stop and take root: in the Municipality of Acquapendente, locality Falconero. Here and in the surroundings will be born the paintings that give the name to the exhibition: “Paintings by Falconero” .
Painting must be cultivated. Literally
“If you have a vegetable garden next to the library, you do not miss anything,” said Cicero. Margherita is an extraordinary garden-gardener and has what it takes to paint: she does not lack anything, to paraphrase Marco Tullio. She does not lack anything to be a medium between us and the nature she paints, between us and those human landscapes that she carries on the canvas , unveiling them: how much life there is in the face without reticence of this woman, how much erotic tenderness in these rocky and together tender lovers.
His canvases are full of energy: overflowing and solar with yellow radiating or inner and restless with visceral greens. A painting built with simple elements that then dig deep. It takes inspiration from the daily life of the garden, from the harmony of the garden, from a casual encounter, from the contrasts of light and shadows, from the magic of the Lake Mezzano landscape that makes every element light (water, sky, earth), to send us the amazement of life around and solicit the practice, now neglected, of reflection.
In this, Margherita reminds me of her great fellow countryman: the poet Wislawa Szymborska who, starting from even the slightest events of everyday life, leads to a different point of view, widens the cognitive horizons and surprises you with new unexpected awareness. Like the poetry of Szymborska, at every rereading, offer more in-depth interpretative keys, the paintings of Levittoux surprise with a perspective that had previously escaped, with a detail that was not such, with the cry or whisper of a color that had previously been dominated by other inspirations.
Sometimes his painting seems to become more liquid, then almost evaporate, evolving towards some form of abstractionism in which the figurative begins to lose its contours; but then the decisive and almost aggressive color swords still testify to the need for Expressionist echoes, happily contaminated with Mediterranean light.
Margherita, Tuscia and harmony
If you have not had the chance or time to go to Sorano for the show, nothing is lost. Sorano stands there, clinging to its tuff rocks and waiting for you to give you the charm. Margherita you can discover it in her country-home-studio in Falconero, moving to Acquapendente, the northernmost village of the Tuscia viterbese: you will discover a surprising place where the artistic production is not only made up of paintings, but also vegetables, flowers, smells , green harmoniously arranged by Margherita around the house but also inside it. In the bedroom a composition of pumpkin, aubergines, cucumbers in a basket, enhanced by the chiaroscuro of a blade of light, is never a coincidence. Like the paintings between the pots and the pots between the paintings: it is creatively organized disorder because the beauty must be around, before finding a place on the canvas.
Margherita feels she owes much to this land and this gratitude unites her to Luciano Nucci , president of the Sorano Dairy, who sponsored the exhibition “Paintings by Falconero”, because he feels indebted to his territory; territory that wants to contribute to promoting even promoting those who, like Margherita, the spirit of the places has metabolized it and knows how to interpret it and propose it again in an organoleptic narrative that awakens and engages all our senses.
Because Margherita does not actually paint; she, in painting, lives there.