The theme at the heart of Laura Pugno's artistic experimentation has always been her relationship with the landscape.
For months the artist travelled high and low in Val di Susa, visiting different TAV construction sites and the venues of the 2006 winter Olympic games as they began to take shape. She was recording the lasting changes that were being carved into the territory before transferring and applying her 'stills' onto canvas, thus fixing these short-lived scenes to memory before they were immediately erased by the relentless pace of work.
Pugno then went on to explore Google Earth for her next series of work on dams and open cast mines, recording their precise planimetric positions in a sort of image catalogue that creeps slowly towards abstraction as she moves from one piece to the next. By taking possession of and reworking these images through the act of painting the emphasis in these pieces has shifted from a direct experience of the landscape to become virtual investigations of places the artists came into contact with.
Il tempo necessario (time needed) is the title of the first piece you see upon entering the gallery. The mirror-like qualities of a pane of glass leaning against a black wall conceal a realistic landscape drawing, whose hidden data seeks our attention in order to emerge.
How do we see landscape? And when did we begin to see the mountains? These questions regarding the intimate essence of looking have Pugno to wander the paths that circle Monviso. In this work the experience of trekking has been translated into a series of high-altitude drawings that were executed after hours of climbing, when the body has a heightened awareness of its movements and the act of drawing becomes a more essential practice. While on these walks Laura Pugno stopped to draw, not what she saw in front of her but the reflection of it on glass. Also here the artist's body has to find the right position - the angle of the glance and focalization - in order to be able to capture the reflected images and trace their outline with a felt pen. The reflection is an impression, not reality, an impression of the light that affords us views of distant landscapes. Through her drawings Pugno highlights how the artist, despite being surrounded by nature, actually looks not at reality but at its reflection.
In Percorrenze (distances covered) the artist creates a site where landscape can be explored in a more intimate level. In this series the landscape is no longer simply a two-dimensional space. It has become a boundary we can refer to when redefining and pushing pictorial languages and processes to new limits. Now her paintings inhabit a free spatial dimension where previous direct experiences and images of the landscape recalled from the memory are grafted onto each other in an endless search for chromatic and formal balance. By painting images that her mind is already familiar with Pugno gives her imagination free reign. The classical technique of layering paint has been replaced by stratification of layers of paper, coloured film and spray techniques. The glass and the wood of the frame are also enrolled in the creative process and take part in the work. For Pugno painting has become a tool with which to create a continual and never ending tension between observing and knowing.