Screenshot from Daniela Baldelli’s Instagram feed, 2021.

This text reflects ‘non’ in the work of Italian visual artist Daniela Baldelli (born 1977 in Asmara, Ethiopia). It leaves off from interstices in perception, and traces along their fractures. It conceives ‘non’ within a snap of air, and revisits an invisible genealogy from past, present and possible futures. It is an expression of my friendship and appreciation for an artist who challenges the concept of art to direct our attention to the opulence that lies beyond the self-evident.

Gaikis, Lona. “-NON-”. Written in 2020 for Daniela Baldelli: Travail, non-Travail, Paris: Centre national des arts plastiques (CNAP). Unpublished catalog, waiting to come into the world. Download preprint on ResearchGate DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.20313.08801.


It is not mere observance, but action which constitutes the centre from which the human undertakes the spiritual organization of reality. It is here that a separation begins to take place between the spheres of the objective and subjective, between the world of the I and the world of things.

Ernst Cassirer


» […] In a world where everything tries to be art, and fewer things actually are art, that which is art now retreats to fleeting moments of passage as an alternative to the omnipresent battle for attention and significance. In as much as non sets art forth in subtle actions that trigger the imagination, it avoids the screaming of slogans and vulgar subjects. Its form follows the rhythm of breath and is of obscure presence, involving the most minimal interventions of scribbling, folding, falling, layering; spatial arrangements and their notation in a snap of air. Instantaneous movements carried out in places of transit: waiting rooms, train compartments or in a domestic context; the so-called cultural ‘periphery’. By pushing our experience to the very margin of what counts as aesthetic, Daniela does not let herself be deprived of agency in her process of minimal staging. In fact, this minimalism reveals the extent to which her touch reaches beyond her hands. The lens becomes an extension of feeling and mind, the photographic picture is the extension of art as a poesy of impossibilities. It is an affectionate gesture, a stream that I inhale from and even discover non in my own daily gestures. […] «