One may be surprised to find among the submissions for the Journey issue artwork dedicated to architecture. We’re so used to thinking of a journey as a process that we forget it actually has a destination. And Anna Belleforte reminds us of that.
The very concept of journey is connected with movement and dynamism. Overused by coaches of all sorts (“life is a journey”), it became almost an equivalent of flow and fluidity. It isn’t easy to think of something more opposite to this notion than the solidity and stasis of architecture. Anna suggests a different view, perceiving architecture as a means to “reach” (that is where some travelling metaphors are showing up) the image of the desired world.
The “paper architecture” resonates the most with the idea of (re)constructing the inner dimensions of our personalities and the cultural contexts in which we live. “Paper architecture” is the term coined for visionary, idealistic building projects, the improbability of which limits their existence only to sketches and designs. Anna uses the overpainted paper strips from old maps and books as the material for her pieces, making this wordplay even more pointful. The coherency of images disintegrates as we approach them closer and start to see the collage surfaces of the compositions.
The architectural subject and patchwork-like technique fuse the creative approaches of two artists. Firstly, Christopher Pratt, with his attention to a place in the fullness of its ordinary existence, and secondly, Chuck Close, with his optical tricks.
Anna creates an equal balance between literal and surreal, with a notably isolated atmosphere. This secluded feel is no surprise since she made these pieces in response to the realities of social distancing during COVID. Indeed, it was when, restricted in our possibility of moving around, we all had to limit our social connections with those already entangled in the places we lived. And though travel restrictions have been loosened, the pandemic has only amplified the tendency that defines the contemporary mode of life as we set off on lone virtual journeys.
Anna Belleforte is a visual artist based in Soest, the Netherlands. She received her BA in Art History and Fine Art from the University of Western Ontario, Canada. After that, she continued her training in Architectural History at Queen’s University, Canada, and Architectural Conservation and Heritage Planning at the University of York, England. This educational background has largely shaped her artistic practice. Anna devotes most of her attention to architectural forms and how they can convey stories of human culture and individual psychological impulses. She has exhibited internationally since 2013, with her works on display at shows in Canada, the USA, the Netherlands, Germany, and Hungary.
Anna Belleforte is the Bronze Artist of the ArtAscent Journey call for artists. To see the full body of work and profile, get a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Journey issue.