This short dialogue between Susanna Andreini and me is a extract
showing something in the work of the artist. Let´s assume therefore
in this text that it is not things that she produces but characters.
What interests us first of all is the character, not the form.
You recognize Susanna Andreini through her figures, you find her
in her figures - not because she resembles them outwardly but
because they show us how she sees people. This is how she offers an
insight into our worlds.
Susanna Andreini loves her creatures in the way she most probably
loves people – she has a personal intimate relationship with the
figures. This is hard for some to imagine and yet, this is intrinsic
in practically every biography with childhood memories. The bear or
the doll were never merely bear or doll but highly individual
characters in or childlike world order. But here we are grown up
beyond the world of childlike games and the figures become a surface
for reflecting on self.
As we converse, Susanna Andreini quickly, almost
self-consciously, draws a semi-transparent curtain across the large
mirror in the rehearsal studio. She does not like to see herself as
she talks – and yet she surprises and discovers herself again and
again as a reflection in her own figure creations.
Nevertheless, each one of her creations is the attempt to take an
unbiased look at the world – and at oneself - which can certainly be
considered the more difficult exercise. "I aim to reflect something
from (human) life".
The figures are often funny, strange, sad, scary but they stand
before us with dignity and honour. With her figure design and
presentation, Susanna Andreini offers us the option of a lovable
approach in dealing with human characteristics which seem hardly
loveable to us at first. She does this, not in a naive way, yet
innocently, in the best sense of the word, beyond cuteness.
Playfully and often with humour, "moments taken from the life of
a person" are transformed by Susanna Andreini into figuration. When
the shape evokes emotion, she says: "The figure is functioning".
There´s the Happy Moneyman, for instance – who is at peace with
himself, likes money and uses it to give delight, the Poet Waterman
– who writes poems, loves and enlivens water through poetry, the
Butcher´s Daughter, who cultivates hidden character traits.
Besides their unique presence, the figures all have a story,
reflecting something of their (human) life, but leaving enough space
moreover for the individual stories of the viewers.
This orchestra of characters challenges the viewer to a
non-verbal dialogue. Look at us. Look at people to their face.
The figures are made up of a head – a face – with eyes, which
look at us – that is the first thing we notice. The second part of
their character, their body, is constituted of consciously chosen
they are "all dress", cocktail glass, flowerpot, only hand and
foot or an egg, sewn up taut in pinstripe. Every detail becomes a
cryptic bearer of meaning, significantly legible.
In the formation, these things, materials and accessories are
fused, brought together within the creation process rather often by
intuition to become – a figure. They are tried on and thrown off and
complement, in the end with concern for every detail, the
multi-layered meaning of the figure. That is how the body is
abstracted, separated from its actual outlines, transformed into
symbolic information. That is how the figures are devoid of cliché.
It is in the dialogue with the viewer that en-live-ns them,
although they co-exist even before then in the texts which tell
something of their (life)stories. The figures can also be
mechanically animated. Quite minimalistic movement options are used
by Susanna Andreini to awaken them. The result is a magical moment
when the figures stir to life through the spoken text and the
acted-out scene. A visual-figural opus develops from the theatrical
production. The artist loves the dialogue on stage, the interaction
with her figures and the viewers. This is how figures, text,
recitation and animation together result in precious theatrical