virna mulino

A review from Ayca Szapora
Student-Assistant, Cognitive Psychology 
Cognitive Neuroscience Research Master student 
Leiden University
Faculty of Social Sciences / Cognitive Psychology Unit

  • Your work as study material for Cognitive Psychology and Consciousness.‏

This is a TedTalk given by Daniell Dennett about consciousness. I've come across almost all of the examples he gives during my cognitive psychology bachelor in classes like "Consciousness" or "Attention". Now during my cognitive neuroscience research master we use some of these paradigms to make measurements of certain  processes to assess the influence of different factors on our cognition.

Read the rest AFTER you've seen the video:

I could use almost any of your paintings to replace the Canaletto in Denett's example, especially the landscape ones. A mere visual perception of one of your paintings triggers a whole set of cognitive processes in the brain -as does any visual perception- however in this case it is remarkable that you seem to manage to give the eye exactly the right amount of minimal information (blobs of a color that does not reflect the "real" color of the same object in "real life") in order for our human brain to take the suggestion and reconstruct the image in such a way that it PERFECTLY reflects how it is in the real world. 

In the first landscape painting on your website with the yellows: If you look from afar, my brain gives me impecable detail of even the leaves of the trees, and the yellows and the pinks are utterly plausible in my mind.

In the "Awakening"  I even see a sea which isn't there. That may be a more common phenomena among succesful paintings - which obviously doesn't make it less noteworthy- but what is even more remarkable is that I even think I know what there is  beyond the painting, outside the frame to the left and to the right. The suggestion is so present within the frame that it doesn't stop within the frame, I seem to think I can almost "see" the dark mountains outside the frame on the right, or even "see" where I must be standing on to be confronted with this view. That is utterly amazing! 

Your work doesn't just reflect an image, but makes some of the unconscious conscious by triggering the brain to do its trick and construct its own reality.  It's not only the voluntary and conscious visual perception of your work that may be subjectively amazing, but the fact that that very perception unveils the bag of tricks our brain uses at an unconscious level to create a human experience.  Basically being exposed to your work is a simulation of life itself. It makes you complete your own reality.

Your work triggers the brain at an unconscious level to take suggestions about what that image looks like; in some way the brain fills it in by creating what is not there making us see what it has constructed. Your work generates an expectation of a quite certain image while it's literally not there at all. In this sense, I feel that your work mimics "the human experience itself": a mind made to believe that it sees and experiences a certain thing. 

 From a total non-artistic point of view you are truly gifted in giving shape and form to a default bridge that connects the dots between what is, and whatwe think it is. This is how any kind of perception works, but that you've single handedly -and possibly unintentionally- managed to capture this concept is phenomenal.


Portrait Contest - Honorable Mention

MC Art Studio and Gallery Group Art Show