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Blue Thought, 2002
Blue ballpoint pen, scketch-paper
Cm 180x290 - 72"x116"
Installation view at Massimo Audiello Gallery, New York

Private collection, Milano


BM In your work, blue is the recurrent color: your "drawing", be it on paper or porcelain or papier-mâché, is always blue. How did you come to this choice? And is there a relationship with an imagined nature? Are there any cultural references?

LR Blue appeared in my work in 2000 when I moved to New York and I started thinking about drawing as a form of writing. I noticed that the blue biro was for some reason the most commonly used for writing - it was everywhere - and wherever I was I could make a drawing and throw down a thought. The pen is, moreover, very sensitive to pressure, and it is indelible, so the sign remains on paper, a witness of something past. Only time will fade everything, because another charming quality of the pen is that after many years, it changes and disappears.
There has been an experience in my twenty years, that only recently I connect with my way of working. It may be that I have unconsciously borrowed from here, because, however, the theory of a relationship between psyche and line is for me fascinating and inspirational.
More or less in 1994 I was involved in redoing some blue pictures by Alighiero Boetti which, as you know, are disappearing over time. In the 1970s, the plates had been drawn by his assistants, men and women: each of them filled the surface of the paper, line after line, every which way. Finding myself having to fill an entire sheet of blue on my own, the result was surprisingly flat because my line was always the same. I then tried to approach the work differently trying to sense different moods and be more or less aggressive, light, nervous, exhilarated, calm, every time I drew to get different signs and pressure. Only in this way could I get that surface, so rich and alive, of the original plates.

In 2002, when I designed Blue Thought, the skies on black ink of the previous years became blue and the sensitivity of the ballpoint pen allowed me to record different pressures on the paper for a period of about eight months. The line, sometimes light, sometimes dark, changed with the moods, reflecting changes of moods that were mine. but which, with the finished work, mights be anyone's.

In blue, I discovered a suspended, extended time. In the papier-mâché sculptures, in particular, I find that the blue freezes a moment and extends in time. Since it is a color that does not exist in nature, it brings the work into an abstract dimension and circumscribes the figures in their own mental reality. Despite the fact that the papier-mâché sculptures are often figurative, the blue-colored figure does not fit into this word, but, in my opinion, can be approached only on a mental plane. What interests me in these works is imagining what happens in the mind of the figures I depict. Only in some cases are the drawings not blue, but when the work focuses on mental states I always use blue. Brown or sanguine, for example, are physical colors that bring attention to the belly, our second "brain".

From the conversation between Beatrice Merz and Luisa Rabbia, published in Luisa Rabbia: Traveling Under the Same Sky, Hopefulmonster, Torino, June 2010, (Italian/English) page133,134