You were one of the artists exhibiting at the Venice Biennale last year, how was this experience?
The experience at the Biennale is always dazzling. It allows you to exhibit your latest research and to meet artists from all over the world. This makes you understand the real result of a research and the difficulty of doing something new in a context such as that of contemporary art where everything was already discovered. Another positive note is the series that I brought to the Biennale, which has a universal iconography. For this reason, the appreciation from both the critics and the public was transversal, on top of the recognition obtained. The Biennial was also an educational experience because it gave me the opportunity to compare myself with multiple visual languages.
You recently returned to Italy by taking part in major exhibitions in your hometown (Videoinsight Collection, Ricordi Futuri 3.0). We know that you are planning two new major monographic events. Can you anticipate something?
I was invited to these two big events that deal with two very significant topics to me: the dreamlike and therapeutic vision of art in the Videoinsight Collection exhibition, held at the Riso museum and the International Holocaust Remembrance Day (Shoah) in Ricordi Futuri 3.0 at the Fondazione Sant’ Elia. In recent times, in addition to these events, I have been abroad but this could not distract me from the events I am working on in Italy. They are two monograph exhibitions: one by Francesco Poli and the other by Claudio Strinati and Giosué Allegrini. I am very committed to these two projects because they will bring to light both my path in its integrity and the concept brought to the last Venice Biennale. In both cases what remains outside will be the union between the theory of art and the form that contains it, or the figure that contextualizes it in the world.
Looking closely at large canvases exhibited in your studio, we can see a face painted on one of them and evanescent landscape on another one. Are these the worlds (man, nature) that represent your language?
Exactly, what I’m looking for is to draw out the pivotal points of existence through a wide use of poetics, that is, man responsible for every historical event that concerns us and nature as the sole event not generated by man’s hand. Nature can only be reproduced by man by enhancing its value.
You are internationally known and for this reason you travels a lot. I assume that every city influences an artist’s palette. Recently we have seen a series of your works titled “Aesthetica Bianca” at the Italian Embassy in London. How important is it to an artist to define himself through colors? Burri is identified with red, Ives Klein with the famous blue etc.
For an artist the colors are a bit “like the trademark”. Every artist has a palette where the range of colors become his identity card. What I can say is that an artist does not choose his color range: these appear gradually thus becoming part of his work. The Stoics of the art make attributions through color identifying it as the artist’s signature.
You conduct an almost anthropological study of the face. On your painted faces there are not only common facial expressions, but also the “physical manifestations” of human feeling. This is important to communicate something that is deeper in us.
The study I make serves to clarify that, in addition to facial expressions, there is something else to express joy for example. A subject painted by me does not necessarily have to laugh or smile but can also take on an apparently relaxed expression that is equally rejoicing. This is because the face has micro features that say much more. To make these micro-features visible, we need to make a careful study that touches both the psychology and the concept of empathy, between our neighbour and us. All of this subsequently becomes painting.
Painting often comes from painting itself. In your works a complex harmonic construction is shown. Even in the paintings where we only see a subject, we notice that the equilibrium of the same surrounding space is characterized by some incursions of color that balance the whole.
Is the preparation phase equipped with an initiatic design or does it all come about by chance?
Obviously the equilibrium is one of the main factors that influence the construction of a work of art by studying the theory of perception and the psychology of the form. It is a fact that those who admire a work of art are confronted with a visual language that will determine the output. I often make an indicative sketch of the final result before I get to painting. If I want to create something light, I compose volumes that cannot be separated from the elevation project, while if I want to paint something harder, my design will be reinforced even before I get to the colour. Years ago, I decided to be able to draw by just a few lines, “a breath”. When I realized this, I convinced myself that through the design you can represent everything, something that, once painted, can become a vehicle of each type of perception, also of things difficult to perceive such as feelings and physical actions that are often not recorded by human eye.