“My paintings would like to create an apparently monochrome world, where mysterious forms fit in, traces, clues that dialogue with the sculptures, and start creating a unique route between static and dynamism, between tension and metamorphosis.”
Interview by Simek Shropshire
Your practice is rooted in the ecological and biological, in the physical and the metaphysical. What inspired you to explore these themes through the mediums of painting, drawing, and sculpture?
My actual research is the meeting point between the intuitive method and the systematic one and investigates new personal perspectives of development around the theme of nature and landscape, in an environment and a historical moment where technology, environmental urgencies and social issues, are redefining our parameters and the way we look at the world.
My practice arises from a series of questions translated inside a single, common denominator: looking further than the human biological project (the more evolved and complex of the universe indeed) can we find other primitive forms of life able to modify the environment they live in? And if they exist, until what point will they evolve?
The seed has enclosed the concentration of life for the past 360 millions years. The seed is an ovule of origin, it contains all the nutritive substances needed to give life to a new plant, it is the link between past and future; the seed learns from the place it’s in and knows how to relate to its environment.
What interests me is to face this theme without a hierarchy of visual mediums, so that the change of the language could, in return, give an identity to the artwork opening up a place for different dialogues.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? Where did you study?
I was born and bred in Catania, I started my studies in Architecture and Conservation of Architectural and environmental assets at the University of Mediterraneo in Reggio Calabria, then I studied in Venice at the faculty of Art and Design. After having finishing both degrees, I started to work in the academic enviroment at the University of Architecture of Cesena, entitled to Aldo Rossi one of the most important exponent of the Italian Architecture.
Since several of your sculptures are comprised of scraps of plants, trees and floral materials, would you describe these works as being archaeological?
I think ruins give off a sense of magic and seduction linked to time and memory where one systematically comes across different species of plants. These creatures, with the mystery of their existence, create real moments of epiphany; layers where origins accumulate as chains that bring back everything up to the start of life. The beginning of life is energy, it’s definite, direct light, it’s dark, it’s particles we weren’t able to see before. My artwork is influenced by this atmosphere, they are a memory buried underneath the principle of the visible and invisible, of appearance and disappearance, to then be named archaelogical.
Does the monochromatic, yet rich visuality of your works parallel your intention to have them exist in a balance between "the authentic and hypothetical, in cohabitation with the concept of doubt"? In what ways does the "concept of doubt" figure in your art?
I would like to remark a theme important to me, as the mistery of existence reveals itself in the presence of the doubt. Only through this concept we can open the way to seeing things differently, we can question deeply and we can think about new landscapes where the authentic and the hypothetical meet one other. To get the chance to question everything, to not have any prejudice, as painting is like walking in the unknow and dealing with a never ending experience. My opinion remains an evaluation among others.
My paintings would like to create an apparently monochrome world, where mysterious forms fit in, traces, clues that dialogue with the sculptures, and start creating a unique route between static and dynamism, between tension and metamorphosis. Two levels (the physical and metaphysical) which coexist and that I hope will keep interesting me as they do now.
What artwork have you seen recently that has resonated with you?
Venice 2019, I wander around the LucTuymans show, observing his fascinating frames that look like figuration is fading out abstraction. Those are artworks that train the gaze and that, leaving out the public’s genre, education or sensibility, require commitment and attention, that introductory comparison of good painting. They talk about "skin", an approach at least found in the shows title, which makes us think of the analogy and so to learning.
The analogy comes from the interaction of two moments: transgression and control, victory and failure, until the three fundamental functions according to Harald Høffding, a Danish philosopher, evocative, synthetic, heuristic.
These notes, according to my opinion, seem familiar as they are inside the dialectical relation with my own paintings, where the value of time, at least in theory annulls itself, whilst in the practical, the opposite occurs. When I act I think I’m able to choose what I should do, then when I choose, I’m never able to do everything I thought I would.
How do you go about naming your work?
I think I can silently answer with imagined sentences, with paradoxes, as the ones of a liar for istance. I've tried to reply to your question, but except what I' ve told you previously during our conversation, I find it hard to name it inside an enclosed space, as I think the beauty of a theorem or a paradox, in artwork, is just to be clear enough at the beginning, but just after an accurate study it all becomes very fascinating.
Is there anything new and exciting in the pipeline you would like to tell us about?
I have been working on a project of book for the past two years, which deepened my idea of a journey inside a doubtful garden. The work offers suggestions that, starting from a fantastic imaginary story, is populated by " stone-plants" "living fossils" and "animated cristals", they give a visual experience of a mysterious reality, where one can keep small but meaningful fragments and impalpable leftovers.
The surreal existence of these forms ideally take place in the mithological time of Creation, seven days during which everything is still possible because " in power" and biology takes takes through unlikely routes . The book is composed of seven chapters. Each chapter is made up by images and a text.
Besides this, there’s another project of a solo show that should take place within 2020.
All images are courtesy of the artist
Publish date: 21/08/19