Selected Texts

“On the traces of ancient Celtic legends from the Valle d’Aosta, Giuliana Cunéaz has reconstructed a perfect itinerary through 24 locations that in the ancient times (but somehow still present) of the myths, were inhabited by mysterious powers. Let’s call them fairies. The experience that the artist is inviting us to take part in is a threshold experience, that enables us to glimpse, to perceive a difference, a distance. It is not, and in any event it could not be, a full awareness. Here we find ourselves faced with an allusion, the hint of a force, that is never, clearly, expressed in terms of power as if it were a real energy. The awareness we are invited to experience is a symbolic awareness. And the symbol, as Jung stated, is the best form of expression for that which has not yet emerged from the conscience. For something, therefore, that we catch a glimpse of, but that, in reality, remains beyond the threshold”.

Adriano Antolini, 1990 (from Il silenzio delle fate [The silence of the fairies], Pheljna, Edizione d’Arte e Suggestione, Aosta)

“Between linguistic characterisations and vast thematic areas lie the artists with the most explicit malleable works, with minimum emphasis, the frequent use of iron plates, of wood; explicit traces of neoconstructivist culture are also evident where relations with both architecture and also design interact. In this areas, it is still possible to perceive the results of projects and installations in space, in its reconstruction by traces of a subtle journey through literary and therefore psychologically absorbing overtones, as in the case of Giuliana Cunéaz”.

Andrea B. Del Guercio, 1991 (from Transalpina, edizione Regione Autonoma Valle d’Aosta)

“Let’s take the minimalist ethics of Donald Judd to the letter: a work of art is made up of objects that should be enough in themselves. It is therefore obvious that the cones created by Giuliana Cunéaz for the Archéopteryx installation do not have use relations. The real basis is the population of the stars, meteorites, galaxies. For an absolutely automatic process, the light of celestial bodies leaves its sign inside the terrestrial cone by means of a photosensitive material placed on the soil. The cone is nothing but a camera reduced to the bone, a slit to steal the fragments of infinity in silence without any practical action. Not even the sky knows that a fragment of its light is resting on the ground. Meanwhile the skin of the photograph gathers the information without being aware of such”.

Rosanna Albertini, 1991 (from Videoformes, Festival de la Creation Video, Clermont-Ferrand, Videoformes editeur)

“Giuliana Cunéaz has a profound and innate sensitivity to encounters and contamination with nature and things: an innate fondness for certain materials, constant attention on certain contrasts of matter, on certain locations…The artist has grasped the importance of the “real” and “live” representation of an event or of a bodily area provided with its rhythms, its functions, its “vital pulsations”; and this all from a much more participant and respectful perspective than those of many examples of Body Art (Gina Pane, Gunther Brus, Vito Acconci etc.) where corporeality was mangled, violated, vilified or shamelessly exhibited…Allow me to judge this work as a portent of a new and, in fair part, original realization of the future of today’s visual art, and perhaps of that of the near future”.

Gillo Dorfles, 1993 (from In Corporea Mente, edizione Regione Autonoma Valle d’Aosta)

“The subtlety of the play of cross-references, of the contrasts, of the superimpositions is guaranteed by Giuliana Cunéaz right to her utmost limits. Where we believe we are encountering nature, we find instead the artificial, and where we had the allusion of finding the artificial, we can still glimpse nature, its ghost or its mythical representation… The artist is once again forced to face the arduous dilemma proposed by Schiller: on one side the apparent innocence of nature; on the other the artificial complexity of the work of art. But innocence can never really be innocent  and always needs an artificial element to become poetry, and poetry, in its imaginary ramification, has to seek the most impenetrable and difficult paths to achieve an instinctive, no longer rational inspiration.  The innocent universe is always held up by an intricate and artificial mechanism”.

Janus, 1993 (from Une forêt, Videoformes, Festival de la Création Vidéo, Clermont-Ferrand, Videoformes editeur)

“By repeatedly violating that “physical domain” that each spectator tends to preserve in the presence of the installation, treating the screen of the monitor as a mirror of water that reflects and returns the most intimate effigy of he who looks into it, Giuliana Cunéaz establishes and imposes an “intimate distance” between the sculpture and the onlooker, eliminating the tiny protective sphere that each maintains between himself and the others … The artist carries the poetic reflection of life’s secrets and stimuli into a technological universe with an emotional capacity”.

Maurizio Sciaccaluga, 1995 (from Mito Moto Meta, Galleria Nadia Bassanese, Trieste)

“Giuliana Cunéaz proposes an evolving microcosm, whose nature appears to sway constantly between imagination and reality. Opposites combine under the sign of a poetic immersion/subversion, man is the central character…Where exactly to place human identity? The answer lies precisely in the re-creation of the man-world relationship, based on the symbiosis between things, on the desire to have body and mind exist together in an equilibrium such that it solicits an emotional power able to touch the peaks of an enchanted lyricism”.

Sabrina Zannier, 1996 (from Telo Angela/Il corpo dell’angelo, Obalne Galerije Piran)

“The collective enjoyment of Giuliana Cunéaz’s works triggers a sort of energetic circulation that involves the body and the mind, that touches the brain, the heart and the stomach, through sudden passages from one environment to another: emotional destabilisation and mysterious fascination thus open the doors to the possibilities of alchemy. The work of the artist develops along these same lines, and is not presented as summa of the integration of body-mind-soul but as the opportunity to perceive the oneness fully conscious of these single aspects. Before reaching the “psychic substance”, the artist first presents us with the image of physical blood which, only through the symbology evoked by the candour of the Perspex, does it metamorphose into “symbolic blood”. A blood that is energetic and emotional fluid, that in Biancaneve pulsates starting from the heart beat, in Corpus in fabula from the viscera it then appears to flow as vital lymph to the bloodless manikin-face and in Pneuma from the arteries and veins angel’s wings hover suggesting a further reference that will bring us back to the rose”.

Sabrina Zannier, 1996 (from Sub rosa, Galerja Anonimus, Lubiana)

“The expression of Giuliana Cunéaz’s Ninfee, just as the frequent use of video, present, first of all, a purely classic and almost dream-like discourse of the artist’s imagination as regards the destiny of man today, tomorrow and here. Abstracted to an arsenal of “biological” themes and motifs, this discourse is presented to the spectator with such authenticity that it is fully comprehensible and no doubt provoking”.

Milan Zinaic, 1996 (from Sub rosa, Galerja Anonimus, Lubiana)

“Giuliana Cunéaz reclaims the living body by projecting the poles of rationality and emotionality, of physicalness and transcendence, against one another; The artist acts on a perceptive level regaining possession of the organic sphere through an approach that stems from an aesthetic and moral awareness … it is an operation where art penetrates into the unexplored territory, seizing life in its original component according to a utopian desire for absolute truth…All of Giuliana Cunéaz’s work is an attempt to regain the state of consciousness/unconsciousness based on a continual relationship between Ghenos and Thanatos, between origins and death … the artist analyses the creative process identifying the individual as a thought population … she draws inspiration from the chaos of the mind and works on the perceptive and psychological level associating scientific, mathematic and artistic elements in a unitariness of intent that recalls Leonardo’s principles”.

Alberto Fiz, 2000 (from Il cervello nella vasca, Galleria B&D, Milan)

“After having focused her efforts on the completeness of the work, Giuliana Cunéaz felt the need to disseminate it in space, to extend its scope beyond objective limits. This all coincides with a sort of reflection on her own identity, increasingly seen from a perspective of complexity and change … this desire is then compounded by the only apparently antinomian need to rationalise the irrational, to develop, basically, the emotional afflatus in the form of a project, or better of a process of scientific worth; not to restrict normally chaotic things and extraordinary events in the paradigm of order, but to demonstrate the process of creative research. And so the formative process of the work of art and that relative to an individual’s identity, in this case that of the artist, face each other in a sort of parallelism”.

Sabrina Zannier, 2000 (from Il cervello nella vasca, Galleria B&D, Milan)

“Giuliana Cunéaz transforms the organic functionality of the body into an expressive code, the efficiency of the microcosm inside us, into expressive poetry, the scientific rule that governs our body, into possible aesthetic figures. Her work is transformed into a magnificent vital explosion that cross-breeds the natural with the artificial, life with technology”.

Roberta Ridolfi, 2000 (from Cre-Azione. FermoArteGiovane, edizione Comune di Fermo)

“Giuliana Cunéaz is one of those artists that does not make concessions. They express everything through their artistic research. In Officine Pastello, the artist’s studio, the artist completes her analysis of human nature by examining that relationship that the individual has with himself, like his relationship with the environment. All things considered, the artist analyses the concept of groups and examines those codes that can transform, alter one’s perception and above all produce emotional states which, although at times transitory, ask the eternal question of identity”.

Gabriel Soucheyre, 2000 (from Turbulence vidéo, Videoformes editeur)

“After having focused her efforts on the completeness of the work, Giuliana Cunéaz felt the need to disseminate it in space, to extend its scope beyond objective limits. This all coincides with a sort of reflection on her own identity, increasingly seen from a perspective of complexity and change. Giuliana Cunéaz presents her images and video projections to us in the form of a documentary, able to capture states of alteration that she projects in close-ups, that almost feel stuck to one’s face”.

Antonio Arévalo, 2001 (from Officine Pastello, edizione Regione Autonoma Valle d’Aosta)

“Giuliana Cunéaz’s experimentation ventures, through images, videos and photographs, as far as grasping those extreme states of consciousness in which an individual lives in a different reality, that is nothing but the nucleus of the reality in which we usually close our tenuous experience, extenuated, minimised, sectioned. The artist therefore enters into contact with all of those disciplines (hypnosis, shamanism, ESP, etc.) that induce phenomena of trances, of fainting, of dreaming. But she doesn’t linger on the most showy aspects of the various ceremonies, but prefers to examine the subtle expressive changes and the unfathomable emotional tensions that are displayed by subjects in an “altered state”. In other words, she is interested in actually capturing the dimension of trance, of passage, of transition, namely when the individual is out of himself, without knowing where he is. And so she uses a video camera to “document” the crossing of the boundary that opens towards “the possible”, using an almost participatory technique, or better, with a roving eye, where every discursive nexus opens out and overlaps, where every shape is transformed and multiplies. Even though, as the artist herself confesses, “the conscious does not return to tell us almost anything”.

Luigi Meneghelli, 2001 (from Details, Galleria La Giarina, Verona)

“Giuliana Cunéaz has been reflecting on the mysterious dualism of a body mass for years, on one hand the latter is less material and organic and on the other it knows how to generate thoughts, desires, dreams. Continuing to work with lucidity in corporea mente, the artist considers individual physical volumes as control centres for social relations. Another way for the body to come out of itself: ideally if not literally”.

Ferruccio Giromini, 2001 (from Corpi & Corpi, Editoriale Sometti, Mantova)

“Giuliana Cunéaz’s poetics tend to consider technology as a human prosthesis, as an extension of sensorial attitudes, of the desire to prevail over the external world. In her works, we witness a poetics poised between a journey back into human DNA that is expressed and is sublimed into the most advanced forms of technology where, in a soft gradual way, it is man himself that becomes a machine”.

Edoardo Di Mauro, 2002 (from Una Babele postmoderna, Edizioni Mazzota, Milan)

“Only the punkabbestia, portrayed in a lyrical and emotional way by Giuliana Cunéaz, appear to maintain the old sentiment of exclusion from the world and their non-acceptance of any compromise, does not make them dangerous or subversive but, rather irremediably lonely”.

Luca Beatrice, 2004 (from XIV Quadriennale Anteprima Torino 2004, De Luca editore, Rome)

“Giuliana Cunéaz has a preference for video language and the parallel photographic support with an ability to create embracing projects that use projection in an installation. The aim is empathetically linked to the contents of her work: research into altered emotional states, on the different hypotheses in which the conscience loses its vigilant fixedness. Examples range from shamanism to the western rave culture, using a visual narration that seeks the emotional impact on the spectator, recreating the tangible sensation of a experience. To do this, the artist uses electronic technologies with the awareness of the sensorial design, a sort of catalytic principle that guides towards its hypnotic flow, obsessively slow, almost an invisible geometry that drags the others inside its multifocal prism”.

Gianluca Marziani, 2005 (from Regionevolmente, Centro Fieristico, Viterbo)

“Giuliana Cunéaz works essentially with the video, a medium characterised for its immediacy and speed of communication through the image. The artist confirms that video enables us to dialogue with time, to discover the different types/typologies of an instant, to extend the range of receptors or senses. It is a sort of journey inside a microcosm in which we find the most normal aspects and the most unusual aspect at the same time … The video of Domina Ludi, the Lady of the Game, Diana, Hectate, Herodias or Isi or Bona Dea according to the definition, can be placed on a journey that winds through unexpressed places that knowledge appears unable to reach”.

Tiziana Conti, 2005 (from  Le parole disperse, Gagliardi Art System Gallery, Turin)

“In principle, Giuliana Cunéaz had taken us to an enchanted world…Even there, however, clear to see, alongside the anthrological aspect, the themes of the memory, of infanthood and fairytales, the focus was placed on the why and the how these dreams are generated, on the processes of formation of the imaginary … The work of Giuliana Cunéaz has, in fact, right from the initial relations with the world of science, relations that there reinforced … From 2000 the work on groups began and that on the creative processes and the mechanisms of visual thought … The artist has always been interested in the departure from the conscious world and the passage to other dimensions … just as emerges from the video I Mangiatori di Patate [The Potato Eaters] in 2005, we have to get used to seeing things cross-eyed, partly normally, partly by extrapolating the invisible whole. It means making two worlds coexist, two worlds that already coexist, even though we are not able to recognise the world that we can’t see. The secret of life is the space between the particles”.

Laura Cherubini, 2005 (from I Mangiatori di Patate, Gagliardi Art System Gallery, Turin)

"In creating her works, Giuliana Cunéaz employs what we could describe as  “scientific method”, in that she works with projects.
A project includes a series of works, each linked to the other in a sort of process whose end is to test the possibility of the project itself (of the hypothesized image).
Such a method is, therefore, scientific and, at the same time, philosophical according to the above-mentioned definition, taken from Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Researches.
The video Quantum Vacuum (2005) by Giuliana Cunéaz is part of a project the artist herself termed “Quantum Fluctuations”.
In the video, and in the project, the artist uses images and forms taken from the world of nanotechnologies.
The molecular landscape, translated and elaborated into 3d images, turns the painting’s space into a phenomenological space. The hypothesis Giuliana Cunéaz wants to suggest is not so much a merely virtual world as a more realistic possible world.
Complex geometries and volumes offer themselves for what they are. The most you can do is to simply indulge in marvel or amazement – and that is something.
What we see is, in a way, a substitution of the notion of infra-mince that was theorized, and only hinted at by Marcel Duchamp, during the Thirties (decades ahead of Benoit Mandelbrot’s “fractals”) with an ultra-deep that is revealed, but not completely archived, by technology.
The last project by Giuliana Cunéaz, in a chronological order, is entitled “Naturae occulta”.
This definition, of course along with the 3D animations that make up the project, is immediately connected to one of the most original and critical (meaning “crisis” or “critical situation”) aspects of XX century art, i.e. the relationship between natural and artistic processes.
Although she comes close to Klee’s “naturalistic” research, Giuliana Cunéaz also clearly differs from it because the processual phase here is replaced by the great repertory of ready-to-use images and “scientific” forms and... of course by a technology unknown to the great Swiss artist.
Right from the title, Giuliana Cunéaz’s last project seems to capture and grasp this upsetting aspect, which is peculiar to both the artistic and the scientific-technological experience.
Its “occult nature” makes no reference at all to initiatory or philosophical practices.
The occult, in this case, coincides with something hidden and, until recently, not immediately visible – it has to be read more like an “instrument” rather than a condition.
An instrument that allows us to unchain the disquieting familiarity that is peculiar to all conscious artistic practices and is, at the same time, the end and finalization of all scientific research.
The careful consideration, and clever combination, of the prerogatives of art and the purposes of technology is what makes Giuliana Cunéaz’s work absolutely original".

Giovanni Iovane (from Giuliana Cunéaz, Silvana Editoriale, Milan 2008) 

"When the documentary film ‘Journey through the Secret Life of Plants’ was first released back in 1973, its innovative use of time-lapse photography showing plants spurting into growth and flowers blooming in seconds was totally captivating. Giuliana Cunéaz’s new series of 3D animations of realistic yet fantastical botanical structures evoke a similar sense of wonder. These are presented on plasma monitors that she calls ‘screen paintings’ together with related works on canvas using a combination of digital printing and acrylic paint. Her work is linked to the increasing tendency among contemporary artists to seek creative inspiration from the latest scientific research and approach it with a technologically informed sense of curiosity. By turning to science, artists tend to force a human perspective into its otherwise more disorientating and rational mindset. Giuliana Cunéaz is used to recognizing that pictures have depth, layers and multiple meanings because conceptual thinking plays as much, or more, of a part in her perception as simple visualizing. Biological science continues to be the most visual scientific discipline and she has been inspired by the potential of the latest developments in understanding the changing patterns of living systems in the field of nanotechnology. Drawing more on imaginative intuition than received knowledge, Giuliana Cunéaz has been engaged by the new scientific ways of seeing and seeks to investigate the essence of nature’s forms with a sculptural sensibility.
Giuliana Cunéaz believes that the shape of a tree or a coral is linked to the fractal nature of its growth. Her modeling process involves ‘painting’ with spirals and fractals to emulate the geometry of natural forms, and provides a processes of random mutation enhanced with simulation and virtual reality. Following the principle of evolution, a myriad of complex genetic variations can be generated starting from just a simple structure.
The inspiration for Cuneaz’s new body of work relates to nanotechnology, a fascinating new field of applied science that refers to the manipulation of  matter on a micro scale - one nanometre is equivalent to one billionth of a metre! It is at this scale that the fundamental principals of the biological world operate. Materials of this size display unusual physical and chemical properties and there is the potential in the field of biological engineering to manipulate the individual atoms and molecules. There is much speculation about how nanotechnology will revolutionize the future of scientific research and human life itself.
Her use of the current techniques of digital imagery, combined with an awareness of the biology of consciousness is part of a significant and growing new artistic genre. The real and virtual, the natural and fictional, coexist in Cuneaz’s work, as she enables us to view an otherwise hidden, submicroscopic world with its own secret life of plants".

James Putnam (from Giuliana Cunéaz, Silvana editoriale, Milan 2008)

"The tight relationship between art and science unfolds within this domain, on the basis – maybe – of a shared attraction to the innermost and mysterious things, to vagueness and exactness, to complexity, chaos and order, to the unfathomable, to the basic models, the forms that were established at the beginning of natural evolution. With only a subtle but decisive difference – while science requires answers and tries to reproduce the secret models of the origin of life and the structures of reality for utilitarian purposes, art, on the other hand, cannot stop asking questions and, through the emotion of form, conveys an answer that remains hidden. Giuliana Cunéaz’s works are born from this love for the form of nature, be it evident or secret - from a sort of amazement and curiosity, which seems to have contaminated countless artists in the modern age and before.
This prolonged birth of the object (nature) and of the subject (the perceptive self) is structured into a medium (art), which contains the indissoluble phenomenal and formal convertibility of three life forms (in the words of Wittgenstein). This seems to be the core of the research carried out by Giuliana Cunéaz, who, right from the start, has tried to push her language, practice, and technique towards a ‘mediumistic’ point of contact between art, nature and science, in order to become herself part of this prolonged birth of the visible, the ineffable and the immeasurable.
According to Merleau-Ponty, art establishes a possible experience of the external world along with the experience of its own being-in-the-world, in that it establishes and guarantees the possibility to perceive and see with the body. Now Giuliana Cunéaz seems interested in this boundary between body and nature, which is also the boundary between visibility and invisibility, and, by extension, of what is perceptible and reproducible, i.e. language and technology. It is in this boundary that her practice is rooted, in the double meaning of the word – because the word has its foundation precisely in that obscure universe where she drowns with her physical body, while at the same time making use of the language of art and of scientific technology in order to open herself a new gateway within reality.
Giuliana Cunéaz has followed the evolution of scientific thought, taking a special interest in genetics and astronomy. After more than a decade of work she has closed at least one circle around the generating nucleus of her research – her recent works actually link back to the earliest, so that a red thread ties Archeopteyx (1990) to Occulta Naturae (2006). Back then, the artist observed macrocosm, the infinitely distant in terms of astronomy – now, instead, she faces the immensely small dimension of atomic nature, the nanoworld. Today, however, like yesterday, she works with the same contemplative, amazed attitude".

Sergio Risaliti (from Giuliana Cunéaz, Silvana editoriale, Milan 2008)

The work that first pushed Giuliana to deepen her knowledge of nanotechnology and the formal aspects of this universe was Quantum Vacuum, in 2005. Here begins the path that led her to the creation of I The Potato Eaters, Occulta Naturae, and the more recent The Growing Garden, The God Particle, Nanocluster and Matter Waves.
Like Paul Klee did almost a century ago, Giuliana Cunéaz views observation as a study of functions and processes. Her works never depict a definite, immutable form, but rather its evolution in time, its cyclical processes of growth, development and death. Movement begets action, action generates memory. Thus the opposing pair dynamic/static becomes both visible and mimetic at the same time, by operating creatively on two levels - video 3D animation and screen painting.

Stefano Raimondi (Inside Matter in Giuliana Cunéaz, Galleria Vernon, Praga, 2009)

Giuliana Cunéaz has been working for years with studies dealing with the relationship between art, science, nature and new technologies. She pioneered 3D anination art creations for plasma screens (screen painting), exploring au unusual art form through digital technology. Animation and the dynamic nature of shapes is an essential feature of her works, always represented in 3D with the appearance of solids, fluids, or gases via the solid modelling technique.

Chiara Canali (in Arteractive. Arte, interattività e reti sociali, Art Company, Milano, 2011)