Marie Ciosi: A visual artist of the Mediterranean chiaroscuro
Sarah Ben Ammar - 14/03/2009
At the term of the Algerian war, Marie Ciosi left the shores of the Mediterranean and moved to Paris. She was 13 at the time. Until today, she remains profoundly influenced by her country of birth but also by the frequent family holidays spent in Corsica. In Paris, her university studies in Italian and Plastic Arts expand her Mediterranean horizons as well as her numerous stays in Italy, Greece then Spain, Morocco and Egypt. For several years, Marie teaches Italian then, at the beginning of the eighties, she puts down her bags in Toulouse and starts painting: “When I started painting, the theme of the Mediterranean imposed itself on me, I didn’t need to think about it. I simply transcribed my sensations and impressions” specifies the artist. A coloured universe which paints a much darker reality than one could think: “the lively colours of my paintings stand out against the still and disquieted characters. It’s true that Mediterranean countries are marvellous and warm, but they are confronted with several problems, like nationalism for example” explains this artist who painted a seven metre long fresco exhibited under the explicit name of “Temps Lourd en Méditerranée” (Heavy Times in the Mediterranean).
An original and multifaceted work
Besides painting on canvas (oil or acrylic paint), this visual artist uses a vast palette of artistic supports: lino-engraving, drawings or paintings on paper… “I like to tackle very different techniques and to realise unusual works” says Marie Ciosi. However, the variety of supports presents an extraordinary uniqueness: Mediterranean characters are portrayed in their daily lives. The work of the artist also puts great emphasis on women: “My paintings are not elaborated and thought out. They’re based on what I know, what I’m familiar with.” In the last ten years, Marie Ciosi has also undertaken the activity of publishing illustrator and poster designer. And here again, the Mediterranean is never too far. She illustrated a book on the Trojan War, another one on Algerian cuisine and one on ancient Greece… Her last project, which she particularly feels is to realise a comics book on Algeria before its independence. “I came back there in 1979 and I was enthralled” she remembers. Through her creations, this artist stigmatises the nationalist tendencies and identity claims that are involving the Mediterranean countries. “I would rather conceive them as a big family” she concludes.