Martina Merlini | Julie Oppermann

30.03.2019 - 18.05.2019

MAGMA gallery is glad to present Afterimages, the double solo show of Martina Merlini (Bologna, 1986) and Julie Oppermann (San Francisco, 1982), from March 30 to May 18, 2019.

Through this exhibition continues the collaboration of MAGMA gallery with Martina Merlini, which started in 2016; at the same time, the works of Julie Oppermann will be exhibited for the first time in Italy. For both artists, the works produced for the exhibition represent an important turning point in their artistic research. Martina Merlini engages with new materials and methods. On the one hand she approaches three-dimensionality through poor materials such as rattan and straw, which tell the precious craftsmanship employed, while maintaining contact with the optical. From the other, she inserts further movements to her trajectories, modifying the outline of the work itself that becomes one with the lines drawn.

Julie Oppermann, on the other hand, for the first time deepens the oil technique, presenting a preview for MAGMA gallery of a new series of large and medium formats on board and canvas. Drawing on her background in neuroscience, perception, cognitive processes and the Theory of Colors, she creates paintings with vivid and sparkling colors that recall psychedelic, while maintaining a strong conceptual rigor. The systematic and regulated process is accompanied by the impulsive and intuitive approach, which creates subtle tensions within the composition of her work. The consistency of oil painting and the signs and variations of color, create interferences, breaking the illusion of depth and space within the work and bringing the eye back to the surface of the painting, 'the skin' that covers the flat canvas.

The works of both artists play with the limits of visual perception; sparkling effects, which emerge through the calculated stratification and overlapping of contrasting colors with patterns of repetitive lines, producing afterimages, an "optical flicker" and disorienting sensations of movement.

Martina and Julie's works are based on complex rules and systems of lines, colors, borders and motifs to create perceptive abstractions but, on closer inspection, instead, reveal a gestural and intuitive approach. Thick and symmetrical pictorial traits are unexpectedly disjointed by the drive of new thrusts that seem to follow instinctive and primordial impulses.


Martina Merlini (Bologna, 1986) lives and works in Milan. From illustration to geometric abstraction; a path that leads the artist to experiment and learn about herself through different expressive contexts such as, among others, street art and installations. She took part in numerous exhibitions, both in Europe and in America and Australia. Among the various international events and festivals in which she takes part are Living Walls, the first female street art festival held in Atlanta (USA) in 2012, and the prestigious Le Mur in Paris, in 2015. In 2017 she exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Grosseto in a group show with important names including Alighiero Boetti, Michael Johansson, Pennacchio Argentato, Luca Pozzi and many others. In 2018 she took part in exhibitions in Mexico, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Madrid.

Julie Oppermann (San Francisco, 1982) lives and works in Berlin. In 2018 she was among the protagonists of the Mediation Biennial 6 of Poznan in Poland. In 2017 she exhibited her works at the Marjorie Barrick Museum in Las Vegas along with ten other American artists who are redesigning the tradition of Process Art in a profound expression of the practice of the 21st century. There have been several personal exhibitions, such as at the Mark Moore Gallery in Los Angeles, at the Joshua Liner Gallery in New York, and at the Galerie Röpke both in Cologne and Madrid. Her works are included in numerous public and private collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, California.