Italian artist Grazia Toderi (°1963) first gained critical attention as a result of her participation in Aperto ’93 at the 45th Venice Biennale. Her work shows a particular fascination for everyday life. Where in early work she often isolated objects and actions from their everyday environment using video images, her later work has focused on everyday images that speak to the sentiments of an entire generation, such as images of a television screen. Toderi has made several videos that use aerial images to recreate night time views of cities such as Rome, Florence and London. These works conceive the cities, thinking of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, as a mirror between the sky and the earth. With her images she transforms known places into magical and mysterious territories.
Grazia Toderi takes as her starting point the view at night from the tower of the Sint-Rombouts Cathedral in Mechelen. For her, this place is an imaginary vantage point from which Thomas More observed, studied and drew the Island of Utopia. She also makes reference to the legend of the drunkard who saw the reflection of the moon on the glass of the tower and thought the tower was burning. In her video, projected onto the ceiling of the rotunda of the Cultural Centre, the contours of Mechelen blur into a suspended luminous island, a rotating horizon, making Belgium appear as one large city. A recurring formal element in her videos, the rotation also suggests the movement of celestial spheres, transfiguring the physical lights of the city into a spiritual and existential dimension.