Marina Profumo was born in 1960 at Ceranesi, near Genova, where she still lives.
Despite her natural gift for artistic subjects, her studies and then her work are far from them. Yet her bent and eagerness to express herself, to show her feelings, to portray her anxieties, to materialise themes dealing with human nature instinctively lead her to paint.
Her first oil paintings go back to 1978. They are very introspective and intense works. For example, the paintings titled "Verso il futuro" ("Towards the Future") and "Tempesta" ("Storm") belong to that period. She tirelessly keeps painting aloof from everyone. In fact, it is only in 1998 that she decides to organise her first exhibitions. A broader audience can finally admire her works, such as "La Via" ("The Way") or "Resistere" ("Hold On"), where the hard and difficult aspect of our life shines through, "Dualità" ("Duality"), with the eternal attraction/repulsion, coexistence/separation of good and evil, "Supplica Sterile" ("Useless Plea"), the weak’s prayer to the powerful to stop abuses, as well as "Il Dono" ("The Gift") or "Gli Innamorati" ("Lovers"), where wonder and sweetness tenderly surround the onlooker.
They are surrealistic images, which indeed do not draw inspiration from any current in that it is painting coming from an introverted isolation and the fruit of Marina’s personal inspiration. As she often says, they are paintings to read carefully.
Lately, her love for colour and impressions, as well as her need to try new, different, and less explicit ways to express her emotions, has caused Marina to become extremely essential. Around 2003, new works are painted. The intricacy of her subjects changes, images get easier and are reduced to the minimum: colour, movement, depth, and, above all, light. Light is not merely an optical effect, but enlightenment of the mind, heat of the heart, a mirage of fullness and happiness. Before these canvases, our eye and soul move freely and fluctuate, hypnotically attracting each other. They are dragged into the paintings and we are forced to meditate.
From introspection to meditation, and then to the analysis of the world around us: the artist slowly changes her perspective focusing her interest on modern man's behaviour and its effects. Starting from 2006 topical issues recur: one has works on global politics, such as "Political Meddling" and "White Arrogance", and on women, such as "Free" and "Soar". The material used to paint becomes thicker. Before actually working on it, the canvas is prepared by spreading oil and thicker and thicker acrylic paste, and even sand. At a certain point, though, too realistic subjects appear in the artist's mind to be painted. They are subjects that need to have their own body, their own real shape.
Thus, in 2007, the sculptural phase starts. Marina assembles concrete, ropes, paper, wire netting, printed plastic sheets and paint. Anthropomorphic sculptures have a wire netting head with a nose and a mouth, but no eyes or ears, which, like the senses of hearing and seeing, are assimilated to the ability to understand, to realise, and therefore have to be omitted in this context just because her works' focus is to point out man's inability to behave sensibly. Manufactured in paper, wire netting and rope, these sculptures are stories of everyday human folly, such as pollution, religions, the obsession of aesthetics, hatred. Even in the sculptures where the "grid head" is not present, such as in "Tsunami Brain", "Imprisoned Brain" or "Out of Place", the protagonist is always man and his being foolish and a prisoner of himself; man who, as a result of his wrong behaviour, is heading towards self-destruction.
The works are very original and peculiar. Despite the seriousness of the themes they deal with, irony – quite pungent at times -- makes them odd and funny. For example: "Waaaaait for me!!", which deals with our self-imposed frenzied pace, and "Lethal Parasites", which depicts our beautiful country destroyed by bad politics, are made up of uncommon shoes containing a likewise unusual brain. Or "Finance Prison", which forms part of the series "Prison Brain", where our small-mindedness is displayed lightly thanks to a pleasantly chromatic and neat structure.
In 2012 started an in-depth study of the environmental crime against our planet with the creation of new sculptures in concrete and iron belonging to the series: "Can Man Take the Place of Nature?" and "Human Nonsense". These sculptures are made of absurd trees, i.e., ruins whereby the artist projects us into the future when somebody will discover these finds, vestiges of a time when man wanted to take the place of nature by creating untenable nonsense.
Since 2014, the photos of concrete trees have become the basis of new works of digital art starting a new series of "Prison Brain".
From photographs taken of leaves and plants, the "Nature Prison" works are born, where nature is imprisoned. In other works, however, it is the missing space that creates the idea of imprisonment, as happens in Gramsci Street, where a heap of motorcycles that becomes a veritable whirl and attracts the viewer into a labyrinth with no escape. There is still longing for space in "Between Sea and Sky" ("Tra mare e cielo"), foreshortened views of Ligurian coloured houses between the sea and the sky where for a change compression has a poetic touch. It is in "Last Breath" ("Ultimo Respiro"), a mass of noses where the need for survival of mankind, which is trapped into its own progress – a lost war – emerges.
Marina's investigation continues constantly, photographing, breaking down and reassembling images, creating new visions and points of view to always give new food for thought. In 2017 the "Free" series is born, an optimistic look at the places we live in. The imprisoning network disappears and intriguing and unique views of the cities remain, such as "Milan Free" or "San Lorenzo".
In 2019 the artist wants to launch messages in another form and creates his own personalized alphabet, using graphic thecnique. Each letter is inserted in a circle and colored, creating a particular chromatic effect. These little spheres are her "talking dots". Polka dots are used to write very short senteces. One version involves a real tresure hunt as the sentences is in the center of the work, the first line reads from left to right and the following from right to left. Above and below are the letters that make up the sentence, inserted in random order creating confusion. Another version instead provides for the sentence to be written in an orderly manner, starting from the first line at the top, reading from left to right and the next from right to left and so on. Thus were born works such as "Freedom Always", "Were Are We going?" (formely the title of previous sculptures), "Take care".
This mix of colors and shapes attract the eye and curiosity takes over immediately afterwards to try to read the short sentence. A few words to start deeper considerations.