Alexander Sasha Parkevich (1941-2016)

Today is 13 August and, as well as being my birthday, it is the fifth anniversary of the death of a great artist of Russian origin who travelled the globe, a true Artist of the World: Alexander Sasha Parkevich (Moscow, 1941 – Plain, 2016). In 2018 I was contacted by one of Sasha’s sisters, Natalia Codevilla, a fine artist herself now based in Milan, commissioning me to write a critical analysis of her late brother’s artistic poetics that would accompany a commemorative exhibition in Wisconsin, America. I accepted with enthusiasm because Sasha Parkevich’s works speak to the heart and trigger many thoughts and reflections. Today, in order to remember him and to make him known to those who have not yet had the opportunity to see his work, I present here the art criticism written in both English and Dutch.
Enjoy your reading.

Sasha Parkevich, the creator of Modern Divinities

Two years have already passed since the death of Alexander Sasha Parkevich (Moscow 1941 – Plain 2016), an eclectic artist of profound culture and modern Renaissance man. Sasha never wanted to confide his past history but, thanks to his many works (paintings, sculptures and graphics with sketches and comics) imbued with his distinct sensitivity, even those who were not fortunate enough to know him personally now have the opportunity to enter his transcendental, symbolic and spiritual world.

Sasha was a multi-faceted artist with multiple passions, as he himself said, ‘people need to have a passion for something’. Even from his youth, he was attracted to literature, languages, art history and cultures, architecture, gardening, nature and above all to ‘doing’ in the first person: already during his stay in Trieste, Italy (1951-1958), this philosophy of life soon led him to make his first reproductions of Italian Renaissance works of art, which he took up again later, as he came of age, as evidenced by the quick and incomplete sketch in his notebook representing The Madonna and Child, or Madonna of the Chair by Raphael Sanzio, 1513-1514 now in the Palatine Gallery of Palazzo Pitti in Florence.

His mastery and creativity were consolidated not only by his studies at the Fine Art Institute of Indianapolis in the early 1960s, but also by the numerous journeys he undertook between Chicago, San Francisco, Spain, Germany and Mexico between the 1960s and 1970s, during which he never stopped studying and observing the world around him. It was during this twenty-year period that the young artist produced a large number of rapid sketches of different subjects, transfiguring their souls and elaborating on the many artistic currents he observed during his pilgrimages. In his notebooks, one can see reclining nudes with a clear Symbolist and Expressionist quality reminiscent of Egon Schiele’s studies, but also more composed nudes with Matisse-like masks and Picasso-like African masks, such as Women with Chocolate Cookies. In other sketches, human presences can be found in highly detailed interior scenes such as American Gothic # II (homage to Mr and Mrs Grundenbacker) which pays homage to the American artist Grand Wood, or in everyday scenes such as Homage to Edward Hopper or, finally, in astronomical, symbolic, surreal and primordial landscapes rendered with shorthand mastery that closely resemble the works of Joan Mirò, such as the study for Menzonita Busches.

However, it was his stay in Greece between 1983 and 1985, first on the island of Santorini in the village of Oia and then on the island of Lesbos, that gave the artist his first strong impulse: here Sasha was able to concentrate uninterruptedly on his work, perfecting his painting technique and establishing his new philosophy. Looking at her quick sketches of the island’s stray dogs and her charcoal on paper with Two stray dogs, one can see how important these animals were for understanding Mother Nature: in these works, a new spirituality and Sasha’s transcendent soul are legitimised by the laws of Nature because, according to her philosophy, “we are here because Mother Nature wants us to be here. Our sense are her sense. Our hopes, aspirations, fantasies and loneliness are her also”. This does not mean that the artist has simply rendered the subjects in a passive and realistic manner; on the contrary, they have been reworked according to the emotional value of the experience lived in that instant, according to a markedly subjective vision, in the words of Sasha “my Santorini stay was the experiance of a lifetime. When I think of Santorini, there are so many good memories and so many great experiences”. Greece also played another important role for the artist: here he rediscovered his old love for iconographic art, which was so forbidden in Russia during the Stalin regime. In fact, Parkevich produced several icons on wood, in reduced format, of clear religious value, such as the reproduction of the 12th century Mother of God Eleousa, known as the Mother of Vladimir, now in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow: Sasha wanted to use the traditional Russian iconographic method with gold leaf and natural colours, ground by hand and added with an emulsion based on yolk and white wine, to give the two-dimensional images hieraticity and marked symbolism, thus uniting the sensory world with the trans-sensory and trans-temporal world. All this intense work earned him the title of Icon Painter.

His return to America at the end of the 1980s, more precisely to the small town of Plain in Wisconsin, gave Sasha his second artistic impulse: here he finally felt at home and built with his own hands his studio and private garden to exalt Mother Nature to the maximum. His analyses and studies did not end there, as he was constantly searching for something in his art and, as his sister Zora Tammer said, ‘he wanted to make something beautiful with his hands’. Looking at the artist’s production over the last thirty years, one can perceive an intense investigation into Nature, man and the deepest soul. Thanks to Francis Bacon, famous for his disturbing and disfigured portraits characterised by a violent expressionistic charge, by the first half of the 1990s Sasha grasped the soul and feelings of his subjects to transport them exclusively onto their faces, distorted and swollen, made by instinctive, automatic and almost casual brushstrokes. These transfigured works include oil paintings entitled Francis Bacon tribute and King Lear, mixed media oil-pastel paintings depicting the portrait of Dragan Parkevich and The Gambler portrait and, pastel works and sketches depicting Eight portrait sketches of Cardinals who almost became Pope, Six Historic Characters, Six Philosophers, and Nadezhda (Hope in Russian). Of the latter work, it is interesting to note what it conceals: during his childhood, the artist heard a tragic story of a young bride who was struck down by a mysterious illness that changed her external beauty and forced her to shut herself away in a monastery surrounded only by books, poetry and a small icon.

It is now clear how important Russian icons were in Sasha Parkevich’s background from an early age but, having made them his own, from 2000 until his death he decided to create new Cosmic Deities, new Icons, which he made naturally without effort and which, in his words, “I never worry if it is saying anything or does it make any sense”. By now he had completely broken out of the vicious circle of religions, instituted by men themselves in order to have no responsibility for their own actions: his modern Deities were exclusively spiritual and based on Mother Nature and her laws, leading him to take up anthropological, geological and astronomical sciences as well. Sasha defined his Deities primarily as objects of art and they were for him “portraits of our souls on the good days and on the bad days”: thus, for example, Galaxy salesman (oil on panel), Preistess from puma-Punka or Dark figure (both oil on canvas), Study of a Saint (oil on styrofoam) and Socrates on the edge of the circle (pastel on paper), represent deified human souls within blinding golden Almonds that stand out in the dark and silent cosmic space. Painted in a symbolic and expressionistic manner, with brushstrokes laden with thick matter that made them three-dimensional, Sasha’s Deities transcend the intent of the subject and become pure spirit, outside of raw and binding corporeal matter, in a Universe-Mother Nature that gives the possibility to create a new spiritual order , as can also be seen in Golden Diety # II (oil on canvas) in which the gold leaf and almond (a typical element of traditional icons) prevail over the entire space of the canvas, thus reaching the apex of the process of deification and complete detachment from matter.

In conclusion, it can be said that Alexander Sasha Parkevich has succeeded in fully achieving his goal: to make himself known only through his works of art.

                                                                                               Milan May 2018

Alexander Sasha Parkevich (1941-2016)

Vandaag is het 13 augustus en is het niet alleen mijn verjaardag, maar ook de vijfde sterfdag van een groot kunstenaar van Russische afkomst die de hele wereld over reisde, een echte Artist of the World: Alexander Sasha Parkevich (Moskou, 1941 – Plain, 2016). In 2018 werd ik benaderd door een van Sasha’s zussen, Natalia Codevilla, zelf beeldend kunstenaar en nu gevestigd in Milaan, met de opdracht een kritische analyse te schrijven van de artistieke poëtica van haar overleden broer, die bij een herdenkingstentoonstelling in Wisconsin, Amerika, zou worden gevoegd. Ik heb het met enthousiasme aanvaard omdat de werken van Sasha Parkevich tot het hart spreken en veel gedachten en overpeinzingen losmaken. Om hem te gedenken en om hem voor te stellen aan hen die nog niet de gelegenheid hebben gehad zijn werk te zien, geef ik hier vandaag de geschreven kunstkritiek weer.
Veel plezier bij het lezen.

Sasha Parkevich, de schepper van Modern Divinities

Twee jaar zijn reeds verstreken sinds het overlijden van Aleksandr Sasha Parkevitsj (Moskou 1941 – Plain 2016), een eclectisch kunstenaar van diepgaande cultuur en moderne Renaissanceman. Sasha heeft nooit zijn verleden willen toevertrouwen, maar dankzij zijn vele werken (schilderijen, beeldhouwwerken en grafiek met schetsen en strips) die doordrongen zijn van zijn uitgesproken gevoeligheid, hebben zelfs degenen die niet het geluk hadden hem persoonlijk te kennen, nu de gelegenheid zijn transcendente, symbolische en spirituele wereld binnen te treden.

Sasha was een veelzijdig kunstenaar met meerdere passies, zoals hij zelf zei: “mensen moeten ergens een passie voor hebben”. Reeds vanaf zijn jeugd werd hij aangetrokken door literatuur, talen, kunstgeschiedenis en culturen, architectuur, tuinieren, natuur en vooral door het “doen” in de eerste persoon: Reeds tijdens zijn verblijf in Triëst, Italië (1951-1958), bracht deze levensfilosofie hem ertoe zijn eerste reproducties te maken van Italiaanse renaissancekunstwerken, die hij later, toen hij volwassen was, weer oppakte, zoals blijkt uit de snelle en onvolledige schets in zijn notitieboekje voorstellende De Madonna met kind, of Madonna van de stoel van Rafaël Sanzio, 1513-1514 nu in de Palatijngalerij van Palazzo Pitti in Florence.

Zijn meesterschap en creativiteit werden niet alleen geconsolideerd door zijn studies aan het Fine Art Institute of Indianapolis in het begin van de jaren zestig, maar ook door de talrijke reizen die hij ondernam tussen Chicago, San Francisco, Spanje, Duitsland en Mexico tussen de jaren zestig en zeventig, gedurende welke hij nooit ophield de wereld om hem heen te bestuderen en te observeren. In deze periode van twintig jaar maakte de jonge kunstenaar een groot aantal snelle schetsen van verschillende onderwerpen, waarbij hij hun ziel veranderde en voortborduurde op de vele artistieke stromingen die hij tijdens zijn pelgrimstochten waarnam. In zijn notitieboekjes ziet men liggende naakten met een duidelijk symbolistisch en expressionistisch karakter, die doen denken aan de studies van Egon Schiele, maar ook meer gecomponeerde naakten met een Matisse-gehalte en Picasso-achtige Afrikaanse maskers, zoals Vrouwen met chocoladekoekjes. In andere schetsen is de menselijke aanwezigheid terug te vinden in zeer gedetailleerde interieurscènes zoals American Gothic # II (hommage aan Mr and Mrs Grundenbacker) dat een hommage brengt aan de Amerikaanse kunstenaar Grand Wood, of in alledaagse scènes zoals Hommage aan Edward Hopper of, tenslotte, in astronomische, symbolische, surrealistische en primordiale landschappen die met een stenografische beheersing zijn weergegeven en die sterk lijken op de werken van Joan Mirò, waarvan de studie voor Menzonita Busches een voorbeeld is.

Het was echter zijn verblijf in Griekenland tussen 1983 en 1985, eerst op het eiland Santorini in het dorp Oia en daarna op het eiland Lesbos, dat de kunstenaar zijn eerste sterke impuls gaf: hier kon Sasha zich ononderbroken op zijn werk concentreren, zijn schildertechniek perfectioneren en zijn nieuwe filosofie vestigen. Wie haar snelle schetsen van de zwerfhonden van het eiland en haar houtskool op papier met Twee zwerfhonden bekijkt, ziet hoe belangrijk deze dieren waren voor het begrijpen van Moeder Natuur: in deze werken worden een nieuwe spiritualiteit en Sasha’s transcendente ziel gelegitimeerd door de wetten van de natuur, want volgens haar filosofie “zijn wij hier omdat Moeder Natuur wil dat wij hier zijn. Ons gevoel is haar gevoel. Onze hoop, aspiraties, fantasieën en eenzaamheid zijn ook van haar”. Dit betekent niet dat de kunstenaar de onderwerpen eenvoudigweg op een passieve en realistische manier heeft weergegeven; integendeel, ze zijn bewerkt volgens de emotionele waarde van de ervaring die op dat moment werd beleefd, volgens een uitgesproken subjectieve visie, in de woorden van Sasha “mijn verblijf in Santorini was de ervaring van mijn leven”. Als ik aan Santorini denk, zijn er zoveel goede herinneringen en zoveel geweldige ervaringen”. Griekenland speelde ook een andere belangrijke rol voor de kunstenaar: hier herontdekte hij zijn oude liefde voor iconografische kunst, die in Rusland tijdens het Stalin-regime zo verboden was. Parkevitsj vervaardigde verschillende iconen op hout, in verkleind formaat, met een duidelijke religieuze waarde, zoals de reproductie van de 12e-eeuwse Moeder Gods Eleousa, bekend als de Moeder van Vladimir, die zich nu in de Tretjakov Galerij in Moskou bevindt: Sasha wilde de traditionele Russische iconografische methode gebruiken met bladgoud en natuurlijke kleuren, met de hand geslepen en toegevoegd met een emulsie op basis van dooier en witte wijn, om de tweedimensionale beelden hiërarchie en uitgesproken symboliek te geven en zo de zintuiglijke wereld te verenigen met de trans-zintuiglijke en trans-temporele wereld. Al dit intense werk leverde hem de titel van Icon Painter op.

Zijn terugkeer naar Amerika eind jaren tachtig, naar het stadje Plain in Wisconsin om precies te zijn, gaf Sasha zijn tweede artistieke impuls: hier voelde hij zich eindelijk thuis en bouwde hij met eigen handen zijn atelier en privétuin om Moeder Natuur maximaal te verheerlijken. Zijn analyses en studies hielden daar niet op, want hij was voortdurend op zoek naar iets in zijn kunst en, zoals zijn zus Zora Tammer zei, “hij wilde iets moois maken met zijn handen”. Wanneer men de produktie van de kunstenaar van de laatste dertig jaar bekijkt, kan men een intens onderzoek waarnemen naar de natuur, de mens en de diepste ziel. Dankzij Francis Bacon, beroemd om zijn verontrustende en misvormde portretten die gekenmerkt worden door een gewelddadige expressionistische lading, greep Sasha in de eerste helft van de jaren negentig naar de ziel en de gevoelens van zijn onderwerpen om die uitsluitend over te brengen op hun gezichten, vervormd en gezwollen, gemaakt met instinctieve, automatische en bijna terloopse penseelstreken. Deze getransfigureerde werken omvatten olieverfschilderijen getiteld Francis Bacon hommage en King Lear, gemengde olieverf-pastelschilderijen met het portret van Dragan Parkevitsj en het portret van De gokker, alsook werken en pastelschetsen met Acht portretschema’s van kardinalen die bijna Paus werden, Zes historische personages, Zes filosofen, en Nadezjda (Hoop in het Russisch). Van dit laatste werk is het interessant op te merken wat het verbergt: tijdens zijn jeugd hoorde de kunstenaar het tragische verhaal van een jonge bruid die werd getroffen door een mysterieuze ziekte die haar uiterlijke schoonheid veranderde en haar dwong zich op te sluiten in een klooster, slechts omringd door boeken, poëzie en een kleine icoon.

Het is nu duidelijk hoe belangrijk de Russische iconen van jongs af aan waren voor Sasha Parkevitsj, maar nadat hij ze zich eigen had gemaakt, besloot hij vanaf 2000 tot aan zijn dood nieuwe Kosmische Goden te creëren, nieuwe Iconen, die hij op natuurlijke wijze en zonder moeite maakte en die, in zijn woorden: “Ik maak me nooit zorgen of het wel iets zegt of zin heeft”. Hij had zich inmiddels volledig losgemaakt uit de vicieuze cirkel van religies, die door de mensen zelf waren ingesteld om geen verantwoordelijkheid te dragen voor hun eigen daden: zijn moderne godheden waren uitsluitend spiritueel en gebaseerd op Moeder Natuur en haar wetten, waardoor hij zich ook ging bezighouden met antropologische, geologische en astronomische wetenschappen. Sasha definieerde zijn godheden in de eerste plaats als kunstvoorwerpen en zij waren voor hem “portretten van onze zielen op de goede dagen en op de slechte dagen”: Zo stellen bijvoorbeeld Galaxy salesman (olieverf op paneel), Preistess van puma-Punka of Dark figure (beide olieverf op doek), Study of a Saint (olieverf op piepschuim) en Socrates aan de rand van de cirkel (pastel op papier), vergoddelijkte menselijke zielen voor binnen verblindend gouden amandelen die opvallen in de donkere en stille kosmische ruimte. Geschilderd op een symbolische en expressionistische manier, met penseelstreken beladen met dikke materie die hen driedimensionaal maakt, overstijgen Sasha’s godheden de intentie van het onderwerp en worden pure geest, buiten de rauwe en bindende stoffelijke materie, in een Universum-Moeder Natuur die de mogelijkheid biedt om een nieuwe spirituele orde te scheppen , zoals ook te zien is in Golden Diety # II (olieverf op doek) waarin het bladgoud en de amandel (een typisch element van traditionele iconen) de overhand hebben over de hele ruimte van het doek, en zo het toppunt bereiken van het proces van vergoddelijking en volledige onthechting van de materie.

Samenvattend kan men zeggen dat Aleksandr Sasha Parkevitsj er volledig in geslaagd is zijn doel te bereiken: zichzelf alleen bekend maken door middel van zijn kunstwerken.

                                                                                                Milaan Mei 2018

NATALIA CODEVILLA E LA RICERCA DEL COLORE ATMOSFERICO

A grande richiesta riposto una critica d’arte che avevo scritto tempo fa: la poetica artistica di Natalia Codevilla, pittrice di talento di origini russe ma in stanza a Milano, evoca forti emozioni e per questo motivo piace molto agli appassionati d’arte. Oltre che in italiano, ripropongo lo scritto più sotto anche in inglese ed in olandese.

By popular demand, I am re-posting an art criticism I wrote some time ago: the artistic poetics of Natalia Codevilla, a talented painter of Russian origin but based in Milan, evokes strong emotions and is therefore very popular with art lovers. As well as in Italian, I am also proposing the article below in English and Dutch.

Op veler verzoek plaats ik opnieuw een kunstkritiek die ik enige tijd geleden schreef: de artistieke poëtica van Natalia Codevilla, een getalenteerde schilderes van Russische afkomst maar gevestigd in Milaan, roept sterke emoties op en is daarom zeer geliefd bij kunstliefhebbers. Behalve in het Italiaans, stel ik het onderstaande artikel ook voor in het Engels en het Nederlands.

Pur essendo un’artista poliedrica interessata a diverse tecniche, la parte più consistente della produzione artistica di Natalia Codevilla è stata eseguita a partire dall’inizio del XXI secolo con innumerevoli paesaggi naturalistici di valore impressionistico e dipinti floreali di chiaro carattere decorativo e simbolico.

L’artista milanese di origini russe abbandona definitivamente il disegno preparatorio per poter ricreare la realtà che la circonda attraverso il suo talento e le sue emozioni, la sua memoria storica e le immagini a lei care (come diceva Charles Baudelaire nel 1859 “qualsiasi luogo naturale non ha valore se non per la sensazione attuale che l’artista sa introdurre”), senza per questo rinunciare a un volume di forme dato dal colore stesso, proprio come nelle opere di Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) e Camille Pisarro (1830-1903 ), i due massimi esponenti del movimento impressionista del XIX secolo. È il colore che rende la profondità atmosferica dell’aria e dei soggetti presi in esame: grazie a una stesura rapida e precisa, ed in alcuni casi con l’uso di sottili velature, il colore si imprime sulla tela con tratti materici pulsanti e vivi, brevi e brillanti, che recuperano il senso dell’immediato e della realtà.

Nei suoi paesaggi russi e siberiani, mediterranei, americani, africani, cinesi e giapponesi, Natalia Codevilla riesce a ricreare il realismo e la verità ottica della natura con l’impressione della realtà, come si può vedere in Winter-Spring, melting snow del 2002 dove l’artista evoca chiaramente la tecnica di Claude Monet (1840-1926) ed in particolare la sua Impression: Soleil levant (1872, oggi al Musée Marmottan di Parigi): nella pittura della pittrice c’è la visione di un fenomeno naturale nato nei suoi aspetti impalpabili; il mondo reale viene così smaterializzato in una luminosità evanescente che lo rende più evocato che descritto.

Grazie alla sua esperienza e a tutto ciò che ha visto ed amato, direttamente e indirettamente, l’artista estrapola la memoria e la imprime sulla tela con un gesto rapido, quasi a macchia, che ricorda molto da vicino la tecnica della corrente dei Macchiaioli (seconda metà dell’Ottocento). Ne sono un esempio le tele con Paesaggio russo sul fiume Volga del 2005, Strada nel bosco, Autunno del 2012, Ruscello nel bosco del 2012, Paesaggio italiano con fiume del 2015, Paesaggio russo con prato di betulle del 2017, ed infine Sardegna, Mare in tempesta con barca a vela Liberty del 2018, in cui il fruscio delle fronde degli alberi e la potenza dell’acqua sono resi da piccole pennellate di materia macchiata.

Infine, in altre opere paesaggistiche, come nel Passo dello Stelvio del 2005, nei Giardini pubblici di Milano del 2008, nel Lago Hanghzou della primavera 2014 e nel Paesaggio russo con betulle e ninfee del 2015, Natalia Codevilla va oltre: per rendere al meglio i riflessi dell’acqua, l’evanescenza del cielo e la profondità delle montagne, l’artista procede attraverso velature leggere, sfumate e omogenee di ascendenza leonardesca, prendendo così in considerazione sia la prospettiva aerea che quella cromatica.

La produzione della pittrice milanese è anche ricca di dipinti che hanno come soggetto i fiori, non più considerati come un semplice accessorio, un’arte minore, al servizio dell’arte maggiore come abbiamo assistito con l’evoluzione della storia dell’arte, ma come un genere con un proprio chiaro valore decorativo e simbolico. Nate dalla vita e dalla bellezza femminile, le opere di Natalia Codevilla non possono quindi essere definite nature morte o Vanitas, ma veri e propri esempi di riproduzione impressionista della natura che gioca con forme, volumi e colori. Come si può vedere in Fucsia al vento del 2008 (che ricorda l’impianto compositivo e cromatico dell’Altalena del 1767 di Jean-Honoré Fragonard e oggi alla Wallace Collection di Londra), in Girasoli grandi del 2008, in Rosa del Roseto di Monza del 2012, in Rose gialle Joy del 2018 e in Vaso blu con iris bianco del 2018, le pennellate cremose impresse sulla tela con tocchi guizzanti ricordano da vicino le composizioni floreali di Claude Monet e Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), senza però dimenticare il ritmo e la proporzione, l’equilibrio e l’armonia che sono il biglietto da visita di Natalia Codevilla.

NATALIA CODEVILLA AND THE SEARCH FOR ATMOSPHERIC COLOUR

Although she is a multifaceted artist interested in various techniques, the bulk of Natalia Codevilla’s artistic production has been carried out since the beginning of the 21st century with countless naturalistic landscapes of impressionistic value and floral paintings of a clearly decorative and symbolic nature.
The Milanese artist of Russian origin definitively abandoned the preparatory drawing in order to recreate the reality that surrounds her through her talent and her emotions, her historical memory and the images she holds dear (as Charles Baudelaire said in 1859 “any natural place has no value except for the current sensation that the artist knows how to introduce”), without renouncing the volume of form provided by the colour itself, just as in the works of Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) and Camille Pisarro (1830-1903 ), the two greatest exponents of the 19th century Impressionist movement. It is the colour that renders the atmospheric depth of the air and of the subjects examined: thanks to a rapid and precise application, and in some cases with the use of subtle glazing, the colour is impressed on the canvas with pulsating, vivid, short and brilliant strokes that recapture the sense of the immediate and of reality.
In her Russian and Siberian, Mediterranean, American, African, Chinese and Japanese landscapes, Natalia Codevilla succeeds in recreating the realism and optical truth of nature with the impression of reality, as can be seen in Winter-Spring, melting snow of 2002 where the artist clearly evokes the technique of Claude Monet (1840-1926) and in particular his Impression: Soleil levant (1872, now at the Musée Marmottan in Paris): in the painter’s painting there is a vision of a natural phenomenon born in its impalpable aspects; the real world is thus dematerialised in an evanescent luminosity that makes it more evoked than described.
Thanks to his experience and to all that he has seen and loved, directly and indirectly, the artist extrapolates memory and impresses it on the canvas with a rapid, almost blotchy gesture that closely resembles the technique of the Macchiaioli movement (second half of the 19th century). Examples of this are the canvases Russian Landscape on the Volga River from 2005, Road in the Woods, Autumn from 2012, Stream in the Woods from 2012, Italian Landscape with River from 2015, Russian Landscape with Birch Meadow from 2017, and finally Sardinia, Stormy Sea with Liberty Sailboat from 2018, in which the rustling of the tree branches and the power of the water are rendered by small brushstrokes of stained material.
Finally, in other landscape works, such as Stelvio Pass in 2005, Milan Public Gardens in 2008, Hanghzou Lake in spring 2014 and Russian Landscape with Birch Trees and Water Lilies in 2015, Natalia Codevilla goes further: in order to best render the reflections of the water, the evanescence of the sky and the depth of the mountains, the artist proceeds with light, shaded and homogeneous veils of Leonardo’s influence, thus taking into account both the aerial and chromatic perspective.
The production of the Milanese painter is also rich in paintings with flowers as their subject, no longer considered as a simple accessory, a minor art, at the service of major art as we have witnessed with the evolution of art history, but as a genre with its own clear decorative and symbolic value. Born of life and female beauty, Natalia Codevilla’s works cannot therefore be defined as still lifes or Vanitas, but as true examples of impressionist reproduction of nature playing with shapes, volumes and colours. As can be seen in Fuchsia in the Wind of 2008 (reminiscent of the compositional and chromatic layout of Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s Swing of 1767, now in the Wallace Collection in London), in Large Sunflowers of 2008, in Rose of the Monza Rose Garden of 2012, in Yellow Roses Joy of 2018 and in Blue Vase with White Iris of 2018, the creamy brushstrokes imprinted on the canvas with darting touches are closely reminiscent of the floral compositions of Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), but without forgetting the rhythm and proportion, balance and harmony that are Natalia Codevilla’s calling card.

NATALIA CODEVILLA EN DE ZOEKTOCHT NAAR ATMOSFERISCHE KLEUR

Hoewel zij een veelzijdig kunstenares is met belangstelling voor verschillende technieken, wordt het grootste deel van Natalia Codevilla’s artistieke productie sinds het begin van de 21e eeuw gerealiseerd met talloze naturalistische landschappen van impressionistische waarde en bloemschilderijen met een duidelijk decoratief en symbolisch karakter.
De Milanese kunstenares van Russische afkomst heeft de voorbereidende tekening definitief achter zich gelaten om de haar omringende werkelijkheid te herscheppen door middel van haar talent en haar emoties, haar historisch geheugen en de beelden die haar dierbaar zijn (zoals Charles Baudelaire in 1859 zei: “elke natuurlijke plaats heeft geen waarde behalve de actuele sensatie die de kunstenaar weet in te voeren”), zonder afstand te doen van het vormvolume dat de kleur zelf biedt, zoals in het werk van Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) en Camille Pisarro (1830-1903 ), de twee grootste exponenten van de 19e-eeuwse impressionistische beweging. Het is de kleur die de atmosferische diepte van de lucht en van de onderzochte onderwerpen weergeeft: dankzij een snelle en precieze toepassing, en in sommige gevallen met gebruikmaking van subtiele glacis, wordt de kleur op het doek gedrukt met pulserende, levendige, korte en briljante streken die het gevoel van het onmiddellijke en van de werkelijkheid terugbrengen.
In haar Russische en Siberische, mediterrane, Amerikaanse, Afrikaanse, Chinese en Japanse landschappen slaagt Natalia Codevilla erin het realisme en de optische waarheid van de natuur te herscheppen met de indruk van de werkelijkheid, zoals te zien is in Winter-Spring, smeltende sneeuw uit 2002 waar de kunstenares duidelijk de techniek van Claude Monet (1840-1926) oproept en in het bijzonder diens Impressie: Soleil levant (1872, nu in het Musée Marmottan in Parijs): in het schilderij van de schilder is er een visioen van een natuurverschijnsel geboren in zijn ontastbare aspecten; de echte wereld wordt zo gedematerialiseerd in een vluchtige helderheid die haar meer evocerend dan beschreven maakt.
Dankzij zijn ervaring en alles wat hij heeft gezien en liefgehad, direct en indirect, extrapoleert de kunstenaar het geheugen en drukt het op het doek met een snel, bijna vlekkerig gebaar dat sterk lijkt op de techniek van de Macchiaioli beweging (tweede helft 19e eeuw). Voorbeelden hiervan zijn de doeken Russisch landschap aan de rivier de Wolga uit 2005, Weg in het bos, Herfst uit 2012, Beek in het bos uit 2012, Italiaans landschap met rivier uit 2015, Russisch landschap met berkenweide uit 2017 en tot slot Sardinië, Stormy Sea with Liberty Sailboat uit 2018, waarin het ruisen van de boomtakken en de kracht van het water zijn weergegeven door kleine penseelstreken van gebeitst materiaal.
In andere landschapswerken, zoals Stelvio Pass in 2005, Milan Public Gardens in 2008, Hanghzou Lake in de lente van 2014 en Russian Landscape with Birch Trees and Water Lilies in 2015, gaat Natalia Codevilla verder: om de weerspiegelingen van het water, de vluchtigheid van de lucht en de diepte van de bergen zo goed mogelijk weer te geven, gaat de kunstenares te werk met lichte, schaduwrijke en homogene sluiers van Leonardo’s invloed, en houdt ze dus rekening met zowel het luchtperspectief als het chromatische perspectief.
De produktie van de Milanese schilder is ook rijk aan schilderijen met bloemen als onderwerp, niet langer beschouwd als een eenvoudig accessoire, een minder belangrijke kunst, ten dienste van de grote kunst zoals we hebben gezien met de evolutie van de kunstgeschiedenis, maar als een genre met een eigen duidelijke decoratieve en symbolische waarde. De werken van Natalia Codevilla zijn geboren uit het leven en de vrouwelijke schoonheid en kunnen daarom niet worden omschreven als stillevens of Vanitas, maar als ware voorbeelden van impressionistische weergave van de natuur, spelend met vormen, volumes en kleuren. Zoals te zien is in Fuchsia in de wind uit 2008 (die doet denken aan de compositorische en chromatische indeling van Jean-Honoré Fragonards Swing uit 1767, nu in de Wallace Collection in Londen), in Grote zonnebloemen uit 2008, in Roos van de rozentuin van Monza uit 2012, in Gele rozenvreugde uit 2018 en in Blauwe vaas met witte irissen uit 2018, de romige penseelstreken die met penseelstreken op het doek zijn aangebracht, doen sterk denken aan de florale composities van Claude Monet en Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), maar zonder het ritme en de verhoudingen, het evenwicht en de harmonie te vergeten die Natalia Codevilla’s visitekaartje zijn.

Domanda all’artista: Ilaria Sperotto

Siamo ormai giunti all’ultima intervista in programma per la rubrica Domanda all’artista che, da dicembre 2020, ha voluto indagare e fare conoscere meglio i quindici artisti che partecipano al progetto Arte Italiana Contemporanea in Olanda, supportato dalla neo Manzoni Kunst Galerie di Oosterwolde: Artisti provenienti da tutta Italia, Artisti con stili, tecniche, soggetti e percorsi artistici molto differenti tra di loro proprio a dimostrazione di quanto l’Arte sia versatile, complessa e multi-sfaccettata.

Oggi abbiamo come ospite la giovane visual artist Ilaria Sperotto da Vicenza, conosciuta tramite amicizie artistiche in comune e per la quale nutro grande stima per le opere d’arte che realizza in cui si indaga a fondo l’essenza del proprio spirito e del proprio inconscio: le tele sono il traguardo di una poetica artistica espressivo-astratta istintiva in cui il colore e le pennellate date di getto danno la sensazione di essere catapultati nella dimensione psichica primordiale delle emozioni.

Già conosciuta in Italia, in Svizzera, in Austria, in Francia e in Belgio, oggi Ilaria Sperotto è presente sul territorio olandese con sei pregevoli opere di piccolo formato dai prezzi “affordable”.

Passiamo finalmente la parola ad Ilaria Sperotto:

Sicuramente te l’hanno chiesto in tanti ma il pubblico olandese non conosce come l’artista Ilaria Sperotto abbia vissuto e vive tutt’ora questo periodo storico che entrerà sicuramente nei manuali di storia: l’arte ti ha aiutata? Ci sono progetti futuri o è ancora troppo nebuloso per programmare concretamente qualcosa?

Nel 2020 quando è iniziata la pandemia per me è stato un momento di freno, inizialmente molto difficile, surreale, ero molto spaventata. Poi un giorno ho deciso che dovevo riprendermi, dovevo riprendere il mio sogno per vivere una vita normale. La pittura in questo caso è stata fondamentale, liberatoria! Attraverso il colore ho liberato le mie emozioni e ho riiniziato a sentirmi viva, a sognare! Il 2021 è un anno particolare, un continuo working progress. Attualmente sto partecipando al “Padiglione Birmania”, progetto internazionale di arte postale presso Palazzo Zanardi Landi a Guardamiglio Lodi (Italia). Mentre a settembre 2021 esporrò una trentina di quadri ad olio nel centro storico di Vicenza: farò parte dei protagonisti del VIOFF “A GOLDEN JOURNEY”, la nuova edizione del Fuori Fiera di Vicenzaoro. Sto progettando il 2022, ma preferisco non parlarne per ora.

Dipingi sempre en plein air come un’impressionista contemporanea oppure hai momenti di rielaborazione personale nello studio? Raccontaci il percorso del tuo processo creativo…

Con la pandemia e il lockdown ho dovuto adattarmi alla nuova situazione, nel passato dipingevo esclusivamente en plein air, osservando e reinterpretando il paesaggio, ora dipingo prevalentemente in studio. I miei quadri nascono dalla mia immaginazione, dal mio inconscio, successivamente li trasferisco su tela. Sono visioni, paesaggi che non esistono.

Guardando i vecchi lavori ad olio di stampo impressionista e mettendoli a confronto con le opere più recenti di stampo metafisico – astratto c’è stato un grande salto stilistico. Cosa ha scatenato questo cambio stilistico?

Con il lockdown è accaduto un “click” inaspettato, in passato con la pittura ad olio non mi sono mai sentita totalmente libera, mi sentivo incatenata e ancorata alle influenze dei miei maestri. Adoravo e adoro la pittura impressionista, ma non l’ho mai sentita totalmente mia. La pandemia mi ha permesso di esplorarmi dentro, ascoltarmi. I miei ultimi lavori ne sono il risultato.

Sei un’artista a tutto tondo: parliamo delle tue ceramiche simboliste. A cosa ti ispiri?

Le ceramiche sono un mondo a sé, sono estremamente affascinata dalla terra, dalla sua plasticità e adoro sperimentarmi e sperimentare. Da diversi anni mi ispiro principalmente al tema delle città, ai miei viaggi, ai miei studi. Una delle cose che mi hanno insegnato alla Facoltà di Architettura è guardare, osservare il contesto, il paesaggio, il territorio. Esplorare con lo sguardo, per immaginare ciò che non c’è più o non ancora. Anche l’Architettura, del resto come l’Arte, scaturisce dall’immaginazione. L’Urbanistica stessa è prima di tutto una previsione. Ed ecco che allora provo ad annebbiare la vista, offuscare lo sguardo per vedere oltre la visione.

Sei sempre alla ricerca dell’emozione pura: cosa vuoi trasmettere a chi si sofferma davanti alle tue opere?

Nei miei lavori, la pittura come la ceramica è istintiva, carica di emozioni e stati d’animo che ognuno, nel proprio intimo può leggere ed interpretare. Ciò che voglio trasmettere è un’emozione empatica e intuitiva. Un’essenza che non va individuata nella materia fuori di noi o al di là dalla realtà percepibile con i sensi, ma dentro di noi e dentro il mondo interiore in cui viviamo, imparando a guardare al di là dell’apparenza, oltre il visibile, attraverso l’emozione che alberga nella mente.

Ringrazio di cuore Ilaria Sperotto per il tempo che ci ha dedicato e ricordo ai lettori che potranno visionare on-line le opere d’arte della giovane artista sul sito www.criticoarte.org/galleria-gallery/ilaria-sperotto/ oppure venire in galleria ed osservare di persona la qualità esecutiva degli olii proposti.

Ask the artist: Bianca Beghin

We have now reached the third-to-last appointment with the column “Question to the artist” and today we have the pleasure of getting to know the painter Bianca Beghin, an artist from Padua who enhances in her large canvases the emotions derived from direct contact with Nature. The painter’s artistic poetics are in fact based on the sensations perceived during complete immersion in nature (particularly in the woods), which becomes a means of releasing tension and recovering inner peace. Interaction with Nature gives rise to canvases of great emotional impact, made precious by the use of mixed media, developed over years of experimentation, and by the skilful use of symbolic colour applied in an expressionist manner, reminiscent of the French Fauves movement. It can be argued that if Nature is an enigmatic poem, as the Frenchman Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) maintained, Bianca Beghin has found the right key to its interpretation and interpretation. Already present in Italian, German and American collections, Bianca Beghin is now present in Holland with the Contemporary Italian Art in the Netherlands project supported by the neo-Manzoni Kunst Galerie in Oosterwolde, which aims to bring the best of the Italian art scene to the attention of Dutch collectors.

Let’s finally have a chat with Bianca Beghin:

Your works can be defined as expressionistic and release the emotion of the moment experienced in direct contact with Nature. Can you tell our readers how your canvases are created in detail?

If we consider Expressionism, the tendency to maximise the emotional side of reality over the objectively perceptible one, my works are certainly Expressionistic. In my works, I represent the emotions I feel not only in contact with nature, but also in my relationship with people. I love walking in the woods and in the mountains, where silence surrounds me and the soul is forced to stop and reflect. Every tree, every leaf transmits a harmonious and sweet fluid that heals my heart and mind and regenerates me. Getting close to nature helps me to harmonise my energy by creating a right harmony between my spiritual being and my physical body. I try to fix certain moments in images, I photograph trees that arouse particular emotions in me, which I try to bring back to the canvas. I don’t care if the tree is not objectively real, what I want is to capture emotional moments, explore feelings, represent places of the soul: wonder, regret, liberation, elevation, beauty…

Let’s talk about the subject that you represent in an expressionistic, almost abstract way: why did you choose trees, and in particular trunks?

The tree is a metaphor for life. Like every person, it is born, grows, develops, fully experiences adulthood, and dies; and it is always a companion, a confidant, a friend who follows me in the transformations of my life. Man lives in Nature and should appreciate it and strive for it to remain as a common value; he should be able to feel the Harmony of Nature and grasp its inner drives. Furthermore, I chose the tree because it is the symbol of femininity and motherhood. It is mother sensitive and delicate, courageous and magnetic. The soul of every tree vibrates and is full of trepidations, joys, defeats, resilience. Taking refuge in a tree is like taking refuge in a mother’s womb, always ready to welcome and encourage. That’s why my favourite subjects are trees and especially trunks, anchored to the earth, tangible, strong, like the emotions we physically experience.

Regarding your favourite technique: how do you manage to make the trees you represent speak?

I focus a lot on the colour, which must “speak” and be able to convey emotions, a colour that is never pure, but always obtained from various mixtures, and laid on the canvas, which is first prepared to receive it. Sometimes, I apply a coat of chalk to create a more material background, others, I start directly from the grisaille, which is a monochromatic sketch, suitable for identifying the areas of light and shade and modelling the volumes. I then proceed by glazing and applying the colour, which thus becomes more intense, deeper, ready to narrate emotions. Even the titles convey particular sensations, they are never chosen at random, but designed and studied to enhance and highlight my feelings and those of every woman: Tenderness, Tears of love, Madness in the air, Embrace, Illusion, Enchantment, Seeking, Impetus…

Artists always have a special gift, namely a great and marked sensitivity that leads them to see beyond what is perceived in the first instance. According to the painter Bianca Beghin, where does true Beauty lie?

Beauty? It is the harmony of different, forms and colours; the artist’s task is to make this harmony visible. It is not an inherent property of the work, but a subjective datum of perception of pleasure, independent of the existence of the represented subject. And this harmony is capable of provoking reflections on one’s own existence in relation to the natural world.

You are not an academic, but that does not mean you are not an excellent artist. How have your humanistic studies influenced your artistic poetics?

Being self-taught does not mean being without artistic knowledge. It can be obtained with a lot of study, through individual paths or by taking courses with recognised masters. I believe that my humanistic education has definitely influenced my art, especially because it has taught me the value of knowledge, study and research. Studying literature, history and philosophy has helped me to better understand the world around me, to appreciate contact with nature and to have greater sensitivity when it comes to conveying emotions and feelings on canvas.

I would like to thank Bianca Beghin for the time she has kindly given us and for giving us the opportunity to enter more into her personal artistic vision which brings us closer to Nature and to the emotional soul of each of us. I would like to remind readers that you can view the page dedicated to her on http://www.criticoarte.org/galleria-gallery/bianca-beghinwww.criticoarte.org/galleria-gallery/bianca-beghin/.

Domanda all’artista: Bianca Beghin

Siamo arrivati al terzultimo appuntamento con la rubrica Domanda all’artista ed oggi avremo il piacere di conoscere la pittrice Bianca Beghin, artista padovana che esalta nelle sue tele di grandi dimensioni le emozioni derivate dal contatto diretto con la Natura. La poetica artistica della pittrice si fonda di fatto sulle sensazioni percepite durante l’immersione completa nella natura (in particolare nei boschi) che diviene il mezzo per scaricare le tensioni e recuperare la pace interiore. Dall’interazione con la Natura nascono tele di grande impatto emotivo rese preziose dall’uso della tecnica mista, elaborata in anni di sperimentazioni, e dal sapiente uso del colore simbolico steso in maniera espressionista, che ricorda i tratti del movimento francese dei Fauves. Si può sostenere che, se la Natura è una poesia enigmatica come sostenne il francese Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), Bianca Beghin ha trovato la giusta chiave di lettura e di interpretazione. Già presente in collezioni italiane, tedesche ed americane, Bianca Beghin è ora presente in Olanda con il progetto Arte Italiana Contemporanea in Olanda sostenuto dalla neo-Manzoni Kunst Galerie di Oosterwolde che ha lo scopo di portare a conoscenza dei collezionisti olandesi il meglio del panorama artistico italiano.

Passiamo finalmente alla chiacchierata con Bianca Beghin:

I tuoi lavori possono essere definiti espressionistici e liberano l’emozione del momento vissuta a contatto diretto con la Natura. Racconti ai lettori come nascono in dettaglio le tue tele?

Se consideriamo l’Espressionismo, la propensione ad esaltare al massimo il lato emotivo della realtà rispetto a quello percepibile oggettivamente, i miei lavori sono senz’altro espressionistici. Nelle mie opere, rappresento le emozioni che provo non solo a contatto con la Natura, ma anche nel rapporto con le persone. Amo camminare nei boschi ed in montagna, dove il silenzio mi circonda e l’anima è costretta a fermarsi e a riflettere. Ogni albero, ogni foglia trasmettono un fluido armonico e dolce che risana cuore e mente che mi rigenera. Accostarmi alla Natura, mi aiuta ad armonizzare la mia energia creando una giusta sintonia tra il mio essere spirituale e il mio corpo fisico. Cerco di fissare in immagini certi momenti, fotografo alberi che mi suscitano particolari emozioni che cerco di riportare sulla tela. Non mi interessa se l’albero non è oggettivamente reale, quello che voglio, è catturare degli istanti emotivi, esplorare i sentimenti, rappresentare i luoghi dell’anima: stupore, rimpianto, liberazione, elevazione, bellezza…

Parliamo del soggetto che rappresenti in modo espressionistico, quasi astratto: come mai la scelta è ricaduta sugli alberi ed in modo particolare sui tronchi?

L’albero è la metafora della vita. Come ogni persona nasce, cresce, si sviluppa, vive in pienezza l’età adulta, muore; ed è sempre un compagno, un confidente, un amico che mi segue nelle trasformazioni del mio vivere. L’uomo vive nella Natura e dovrebbe apprezzarla e impegnarsi affinché rimanga come valore comune, dovrebbe essere capace di sentire l’Armonia della Natura e coglierne le pulsioni interne. Inoltre, ho scelto l’albero perché è il simbolo della femminilità e della maternità. È madre sensibile e delicata, coraggiosa e magnetica. L’anima di ogni albero vibra ed è carica di trepidazioni, gioie, sconfitte, resilienza. Rifugiarsi nell’albero è come rifugiarsi nel grembo materno, sempre pronto ad accogliere e a rincuorare. Ecco perché i miei soggetti preferiti sono alberi e in particolar modo i tronchi, ancorati alla terra, tangibili, forti, come le emozioni che viviamo fisicamente.

Per quanto riguarda la tecnica che prediligi: come riesci a fare parlare gli alberi che rappresenti?

Punto molto sul colore che deve “parlare” ed essere capace di trasmettere emozioni, un colore che non è mai puro, ma sempre ottenuto da mescolanze varie, e adagiato sulla tela che viene prima preparata a riceverlo. Alcune volte, stendo una mano di gesso per creare uno sfondo più materico, altre, parto direttamente dalla grisaglia, che è un abbozzo monocromatico, adatto a individuare le zone di luce e ombra e modellarne i volumi. Procedo poi per velature e stendo il colore che così diventa più intenso, più profondo, pronto a raccontare emozioni. Anche i titoli trasmettono particolari sensazioni, non sono mai scelti a caso, ma pensati e studiati per valorizzare ed evidenziare sentimenti miei e riconducibili anche a ogni donna: Tenerezza, Strappi d’amore, Follia nell’aria, Abbraccio Illusione, Incantamento, Cercarsi, Impeto…

Gli artisti hanno sempre un dono speciale, ossia una grande e spiccata sensibilità che li porta a vedere al di là che si percepisce in prima istanza. Secondo la pittrice Bianca Beghin dove risiede la vera Bellezza?

La Bellezza? È l’armonia dei diversi, forme e colori; compito dell’artista è rendere visibile questa armonia. Non è una proprietà inerente all’opera, ma un dato soggettivo di percezione di piacere, indipendente dall’esistenza del soggetto rappresentato. E questa Armonia è in grado di suscitare riflessioni sulla propria esistenza in rapporto al mondo naturale.

Non sei un’accademica ma ciò non vuole dire assolutamente non essere un’ottima artista. I tuoi percorsi di studi umanistici come hanno influenzato la tua poetica artistica?

Essere autodidatta non significa essere priva di conoscenze artistiche. Queste si possono ottenere con molto studio, attraverso percorsi individuali o seguendo corsi con maestri riconosciuti. Ritengo che la mia formazione umanistica abbia sicuramente influenzato la mia arte, soprattutto perché mi ha insegnato il valore della conoscenza, dello studio, della ricerca. Studiare letteratura, storia, filosofia mi ha aiutato a capire meglio il mondo che mi circonda, ad apprezzare il contatto con la natura e ad avere una sensibilità maggiore quando si deve trasmettere sulla tela emozioni e sentimenti.

Ringrazio Bianca Beghin per il tempo che ci ha gentilmente concesso e per averci dato modo di entrare maggiormente nella sua visione artistica personale che ci avvicina di più alla Natura e all’animo emotivo di ognuno di noi. Ricordo ai lettori che potrete visionare la pagina a lei dedicata su www.criticoarte.org/galleria-gallery/bianca-beghin/

Ask the artist: Marina De Carlo

It is almost summer and, going over the months that have passed since the start of our chats with artists thanks to this column, we have got to know very different personalities and poetics to give the public a chance to discover the Italian art scene now present in Holland with the project Contemporary Italian Art in Holland, supported by the neo-Manzoni Kunst Galerie in Oosterwolde. Today we will discover the vision of the young artist from Terracina Marina De Carlo, whom we met through a mutual friendship, and who I am proud to present in northern Europe precisely because of the freshness, authenticity, genius and philosophical depth of what she achieves. An aerial art for the perspectives used, a conceptual art full of symbolism that teaches respect for Creation, a material, living and tactile art to allow everyone to enjoy it: an art that is able to transmit inner peace and wonder.

But now let us move on to the interview with Marina De Carlo:

Your artistic production is based on the use of a very particular and interesting mixed technique that is tactile and alive at the same time: would you like to explain what it consists of and if it is difficult to maintain for those who wish to become your collectors?

My islands follow the lines of real ones, I try to reproduce them as close to reality as possible. They are made of concrete and I carve them by hand. To recreate the typical nature of the islands, after a long research, I have included stabilised live moss to bring my works to life. The stabilised live moss comes from various parts of the world: Finland, Chile, Siberia, Provence; it is hand-picked and subjected to a stabilisation process that makes it unchanged over time. The musks I use for my islands are therefore able to maintain their characteristics of softness, colour and structure. They do not need water, soil or light, but only feed on the humidity of the environment. Stabilised moss also retains a light forest scent. The only thing I recommend is to place the work away from heat sources.

Let’s talk about the subject you love so much and which is present at the Manzoni Kunst Galerie in Oosterwolde in Holland: the sea and islands. Why did you choose this theme and how do you represent it?

I was very inspired by the place where I live: I can see the sea from the windows of my house and the sense of freedom that the sea, even if only by sight, expresses, has filled many of my sorrows. I like to be able to travel on my canvases, to imagine myself elsewhere. Art is an escape for me, and being able to ‘fly’ over the sea is the ultimate expression of freedom.

In your artistic production, however, there are not only seas, but also works dedicated to space and extremely conceptual works closely linked to the Holy Scriptures: would you describe them to us?

I have recently started “flying” in space. Since I was a child, I have always been fascinated by NASA photos: I loved feeling infinitely small in the infinitely large. For my “space” canvases, I use resin, which I colour black with natural pigments, and alcoholic inks, which make up the heart of the work. With the inks, I try to reproduce the explosions and bright colours typical of Nebulae. I also love to reproduce the planets, the stars and everything that arouses a sense of wonder and amazement in my eyes. The last (for now) cycle is dedicated to the focus of my life: God and the Holy Scriptures. Putting God first in my life has been my greatest victory, giving meaning to my whole existence. For these works I use epoxy resins as a background, while the letters that make up the sentences are made of cement. The play of light and shadow under the letters is, in my understanding of art, the pinnacle of perfection.

To sum up, your art can be defined as aerial, symbolic and conceptual: what is the profound message that the artist Marina De Carlo wants to communicate?

The message I would like to communicate with my art is one of Freedom: there are no limits! My imagination has taken me very far, while remaining still. I have managed to break down many barriers and create art that is not only visual, but also tactile, that can be not necessarily only “seen” but also “touched” for the blind.

Plans for 2021? Besides being present at the Art Explosion in Assen on 3 July and at the Nationale Kunst Dagen in November in Nieuwegein, do you have other events on your agenda? Covid permitting.

It is a very difficult period for exhibitions and events, but in July I will participate in the Biennale di Genova with Satura Arte, and in September I will be present in the exhibition in Crema for the 750th anniversary of the birth of Dante Alighieri. On 5 June, one of my works was selected to participate in an exhibition event in Catania to celebrate the 160th Anniversary of the Unification of Italy.

I would like to thank Marina De Carlo very much for her time. I am sure that her works of art will certainly be appreciated here in Holland; in the meantime, I invite you to take a look at the page dedicated to her: www.criticoarte.org/galleria-gallery/marina-de-carlo/

From the Islands cycle

Domanda all’artista: Marina De Carlo

È quasi estate e, ripercorrendo i mesi trascorsi dall’inizio delle nostre chiacchierate con gli artisti grazie a questa rubrica, abbiamo conosciuto personalità e poetiche molto differenti tra loro per dare modo al pubblico di scoprire il panorama artistico italiano presente ora in Olanda con il progetto Arte Italiana contemporanea in Olanda, sostenuto dalla neo-Manzoni Kunst Galerie di Oosterwolde. Oggi scopriremo la visione della giovane artista da Terracina Marina De Carlo, conosciuta tramite un’amicizia in comune, che sono fiera di presentare nel nord Europa proprio per la freschezza, la genuinità, la genialità e la profondità filosofica di ciò che realizza. Un’arte aerea per le prospettive utilizzate, un’arte concettuale carica di simbolismi che insegna il rispetto del Creato, un’arte materiale, viva e tattile per dare modo a tutti di goderne: un’arte che è in grado di trasmettere pace interiore e meraviglia.

Ma passiamo ora all’intervista a Marina De Carlo:

La tua produzione artistica si fonda sull’uso di una tecnica mista molto particolare ed interessante che è tattile e viva al tempo stesso: vorresti spiegare in cosa consiste e se è di difficile manutenzione per chi desira diventare tuo collezionista?

Le mie isole seguono le linee di quelle reali, cerco di riprodurle il più possibile simili alla realtà. Sono di cemento e le intaglio a mano. Per ricreare la natura tipica delle isole, dopo una lunga ricerca, ho inserito il muschio vivo stabilizzato, per dare vita ai miei lavori. Il muschio vivo stabilizzato proviene da varie parti del mondo: Finlandia, Cile, Siberia, Provenza; viene raccolto a mano e sottoposto ad un processo di stabilizzazione che lo rende immutato nel tempo. I muschi che uso per le mie isole sono in grado, quindi, di mantenere inalterate le caratteristiche di morbidezza, colorazione e struttura. Non hanno bisogno di acqua, terra o luce, ma si nutrono solo dell’umidità dell’ambiente. Il muschio stabilizzato inoltre, mantiene un leggero profumo di bosco. L’ unica accortezza che consiglio è di posizionare l’opera lontano da fonti di calore.

Parliamo del soggetto che tanto ami e che è presente presso la Manzoni Kunst Galerie di Oosterwolde in Olanda: il mare e le isole. Come mai la scelta di questo tema e come lo rappresenti?

Sona stata molto ispirata dal luogo in cui vivo: vedo il mare dalle finestre di casa e il senso di libertà, che il mare, anche solo alla vista, esprime, ha colmato molti miei dolori. Mi piace poter viaggiare sulle mie tele, immaginarmi altrove. L’arte per me è evasione e, poter ” Volare ” sul mare, per me, è la massima espressione di libertà.

Nella tua produzione artistica non ci sono però solo mari, ma anche opere dedicate allo spazio ed opere estremamente concettuali strettamente collegate alle Sacre Scritture: ce le descriveresti?

Recentemente ho iniziato a “volare” anche nello Spazio. Sono sempre stata affascinata, fin da piccola, dalle foto della NASA: adoravo sentirmi infinitamente piccola nell’infinitamente grande. Utilizzo per le mie tele “spaziali” la resina che coloro di nero con pigmenti naturali, e gli inchiostri alcolici che invece compongono il cuore dell’opera. Con gli inchiostri cerco di riprodurre le esplosioni ed i colori vivaci tipici delle Nebulose. Adoro riprodurre anche i pianeti, le stelle e tutto ciò che ai miei occhi suscita un senso di stupore e meraviglia. L’ultimo (per adesso) ciclo è dedicato al fulcro della mia vita: Dio e le Sacre Scritture. Mettere Dio al primo posto nella mia vita è stata la mia più grande vittoria, che ha dato un senso a tutta la mia esistenza. Per queste opere utilizzo come sfondo le resine epossidiche, mentre le lettere che compongono le frasi sono di cemento. Il gioco di luce e ombra che si crea sotto le lettere rappresenta, per il mio modo di concepire l’arte, l’apice della perfezione.

Riassumendo la tua arte può essere definita aerea, simbolica e concettuale: qual è il messaggio profondo che l’artista Marina De Carlo vuole comunicare?

Il messaggio che vorrei comunicare con la mia arte è un messaggio di Libertà: non esistono limiti! La mia immaginazione mi ha portato lontanissimo, pur rimanendo ferma. Sono riuscita ad abbattere tante barriere e a creare un’arte non solo visiva, ma anche tattile, che possa essere non necessariamente solo “vista” ma anche “toccata” per i non vedenti.

Programmi per il 2021? Oltre ad essere presente all’Art Explosion di Assen il 3 Luglio e al Nationale Kunst Dagen a novembre a Nieuwegein, hai in agenda altri eventi? Covid permettendo…

È un periodo molto difficile per mostre ed eventi, a luglio comunque parteciperò alla Biennale di Genova con Satura Arte, a settembre sarò presente nella mostra a Crema in occasione del 750º anno dalla nascita di Dante Alighieri. Dal 5 giugno una mia opera è stata selezionata per partecipare ad una mostra evento a Catania per celebrare il 160esimo Anniversario dell’Unità d’Italia.

Ringrazio di cuore Marina De Carlo per il tempo che ci ha dedicato. Sono sicura che le opere d’arte da lei realizzate saranno sicuramente apprezzate qui in Olanda; nel frattempo invito a prendere visione della pagina a lei dedicata: www.criticoarte.org/galleria-gallery/marina-de-carlo/ 

Dal Ciclo Isole

Vraag aan de kunstenaar: Giulio Pettinato

Voor de rubriek “Vraag aan de kunstenaar” hebben we vandaag de gelegenheid om te praten met de meester Giulio Pettinato, geboren in Calabrië maar nu permanent overgeplaatst naar Castel Gandolfo in Rome. Als scenograaf, schilder, ontwerper en grafisch ontwerper gebruikt de kunstenaar verschillende kunstvormen zoals installaties, schilder- en beeldhouwkunst, waarbij hij de meest ongelijksoortige materialen zoals stof, plastic, piepschuim, zand, hout, marmer en LED-lampen gebruikt om licht en kleur nieuw leven in te blazen. Zijn kunstwerken zijn eclectisch, ze onderzoeken de natuur op 360°, en creëren een moderne scenografische visie op de werkelijkheid: dankzij het voortdurende expressieve onderzoek, vrij van academische canons, is Giulio Pettinato nu zowel in Italië als in het buitenland bekend met zijn maritieme sculpturale schilderijen en LightArt werken.
Naast de zestig persoonlijke tentoonstellingen is het interessant te wijzen op de aanwezigheid van Giulio Pettinato in drie edities van het Festival dei due Mondi in Spoleto en op het Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, waar zijn werken de scenografie vormden van Connessioni Mediterranee, een werk van de Griekse componist Niko Filathos, uitgevoerd door het Microcosmos Ensemble. De kunstenaar heeft ook de decors ontworpen voor I cantori di Brema van Gaetano Panariello in het Teatro Rendano in Cosenza en voor La luce del mondo van Mauro Piacenza, een werk dat door de Fondazione per i beni e le attività artistiche della Chiesa in Vaticano is vervaardigd. Tenslotte heeft hij zich jarenlang gewijd aan de scenografie van de Geboorte-scène in de Crypte van de Pauselijke Kerk van San Tommaso da Villanova in Castel Gandolfo.

We gaan nu over tot de inhoud van het interview:

Uw artistieke productie is gevarieerd en varieert van LightArt tot mixed media-schilderijen met de zee als onderwerp: waarom deze verschillende artistieke keuzes en vooral, heeft u een kunstvorm die uw voorkeur heeft? Waar haal je inspiratie uit? Is er een kunstenaar uit het verleden die u meer in overeenstemming vindt met uw stijlonderzoek?

Lichtkunst is een vorm van beeldende kunst waarbij het medium van uitdrukking, het doel van het werk, licht is. De inspiratie komt van mijn ervaring als decorontwerper, die ik in dit genre goed kan gebruiken door te blijven creëren met verschillende materialen, die elkaar overlappen waardoor de gewenste driedimensionaliteit ontstaat. De zee is de spiegel van mijn ziel, de plaats waar ik geboren ben; ik bewaar nog steeds mentaal de kleuren, de bron van mijn inspiratie. Om terug te komen op uw oorspronkelijke vraag: mijn keuzes zijn slechts “schijnbaar” verschillend, in werkelijkheid zijn ze altijd verbonden door een rode draad: het decorontwerp.

Wanneer, hoe en waarom is jullie Lichtkunst ontstaan? Leg ons uit hoe uw werken tot stand komen, waarbij licht het middel is om uw installaties te beeldhouwen die, voor het grootste deel, vrouwelijke silhouetten als onderwerp hebben.

Light Art is in 2014 ontstaan uit de behoefte om mijn scenografisch onderzoek te verfijnen, uit te breiden. Deze werken, zoals Bonsoir madame en Nude radici, zijn mijn authentieke creaties, het zijn de werken waarin ik het licht bestudeer via de schoonheid van het vrouwelijk lichaam. Het licht is het middel om te genieten van een elegant schilderij, in harmonie met de driedimensionaliteit van het vrouwenlichaam. ((4) LIGHT ART | Facebook)

Wat de werken in gemengde techniek betreft die op een informeel materiaal lijken: welke materialen gebruikt u het liefst om de zee na te bootsen, en waarom? Hoe geef je tact aan je werken? Welke sensaties geven deze materialen u en wat stelt u zich voor dat de toeschouwer zal voelen wanneer hij de kans krijgt uw werken te bestuderen?

Ik gebruik bijna altijd bij voorkeur natuurlijke materialen en heb altijd een zakje zand uit zee bij me, dat ik vakkundig op mijn doeken probeer over te brengen. Ik stel me vaak voor dat de toeschouwer alles waarneemt wat ik via mijn werken uitzend.

Naast Artistiek Directeur van het Kunstcentrum van Castel Gandolfo in Rome, richtte u in april de Oltremare International Group op, een internationale kunstgroep die alle kunsten omvat: vertel ons over uw idee, uw doelen en toekomstige projecten.

Het Castel Gandolfo Art Centre is in april 2013 ontstaan uit het idee om de kunsten in één omgeving onder te brengen, waar ideeën kunnen worden uitgewisseld. De Club Bluoltremare daarentegen is ontstaan op een bijzonder moment in onze geschiedenis. Omdat wij ons plotseling en gedwongen gesloten voelden, hebben wij ons opengesteld voor andere soorten realiteit, waardoor ons “merk” een internationale dimensie kreeg. Vandaag de dag kan Club Bluoltremare bogen op prestigieuze samenwerkingen met artiesten van over de hele wereld. (Als u geïnteresseerd bent om lid te worden van de Club Bluoltremare hier is de link: (4) club BLUOLTREMARE | Facebook ; terwijl als je het Art Center Castel Gandolfo wilde volgen: (5) Centro ARTE | Facebook )

Wat heeft dit laatste verschrikkelijke jaar voor u en uw kunst betekend, waarin alle zekerheden van perspectief en visie zijn veranderd?

2020 is echt een verschrikkelijk jaar geweest. Het heeft onze tentoonstellingen, onze contacten, onze energie weggevaagd… maar ik ben ervan overtuigd dat het nog steeds de moeite waard is om iets positiefs voor de kunst te proberen. Ondanks alles, althans in mijn ervaring, wanneer je gedwongen bent je contacten te beperken, wanneer alles lijkt te stagneren en depressie om de hoek ligt, komt er altijd iets creatiefs naar boven, met zijn vitale kracht.

In dit zeer delicate historische moment vol onzekerheden zou ik de aandacht willen vestigen op het briljante idee van Giulio Pettinato die, omdat hij de internationale collectieve tentoonstelling Pigmenti (15-22 december 2020 in Sala Nagasawa in het Appia Antica park in Rome) niet kon inwijden vanwege de beperkingen die waren ingesteld om de Covid-19 in bedwang te houden, heeft besloten om deze tentoonstelling toch in een micro-versie in de kleinste galerie ter wereld (150×45 cm.) te houden. Sinds januari 2021 worden in de microgalerie verschillende solotentoonstellingen gehouden van kunstenaars uit de hele wereld: voor meer informatie en om deel te nemen aan de evenementen in de microgalerie schrijf me op elisavosmanzoni@gmail.com , artecastelgandolfo@libero.it.

Giulio Pettinato dankend voor de kostbare tijd die hij aan ons heeft gewijd, herinner ik eraan dat zijn werken in Nederland te koop zijn en dat u ze op de website kunt zien: Giulio Pettinato – Italian art by ELisa Manzoni (criticoarte.org)

Ask the artist: Giulio Pettinato

For the “Ask the artist” column, today we have the opportunity to chat with Giulio Pettinato, born in Calabria but now permanently based in Castel Gandolfo in Rome. Scenographer, painter, designer and graphic artist, the artist uses different art forms such as installations, painting and sculpture, using the most disparate materials such as fabric, plastic, polystyrene, sand, wood, marble and LED lamps to give new life to light and colour. His artworks are eclectic, investigate nature at 360°, and create a modern scenographic vision of reality: thanks to his continuous expressive research free from academic canons, Giulio Pettinato is now known both in Italy and abroad with his marine sculptural paintings and LightArt works.
In addition to the sixty solo exhibitions, it is interesting to highlight Giulio Pettinato’s presence at three editions of the Festival dei due Mondi in Spoleto and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where his works were the set design for Connessioni Mediterranee, a work by the Greek composer Niko Filathos, performed by the Microcosmos Ensemble. The artist has also designed the sets for I cantori di Brema by Gaetano Panariello at the Teatro Rendano in Cosenza and La luce del mondo by Mauro Piacenza, a work produced by the Foundation for the artistic heritage and activities of the Church in the Vatican. Finally, he has been working for years on the set design for the Nativity Scene in the Crypt of the Pontifical Church of St. Thomas of Villanova in Castel Gandolfo.

et us now turn to the body of the interview:

Your artistic production is varied and ranges from LightArt to mixed media painting with the sea as a subject: why these different artistic choices and, above all, do you have a preferred art form? What is your inspiration? Is there any artist from the past that you find more in line with your stylistic research?

Light Art is a form of visual art in which the medium of expression, the purpose of the work, is light. The inspiration comes from my experience as a set designer, which I put to good use in this genre by continuing to create with various materials, which overlap to create the desired three-dimensionality. The sea is the mirror of my soul, the place where I was born; I still mentally preserve the colours, the source of my inspiration. Returning to your initial question, my choices are only “apparently” different, in reality they are always linked by a common thread: set design.

When, how and why was your LightArt created? Tell us how you create your works in which light is the medium for sculpting your installations, most of which have female silhouettes as their subject.

Light Art was born in 2014 out of the need to refine, to expand, my scenographic research. These works, such as Bonsoir madame and Nude radici, are my authentic creations, they are the ones in which I study light through the beauty of the female body. Light is the means to enjoy an elegant painting, in tune with the three-dimensionality of the female body. ((4) LIGHT ART | Facebook)

As for your mixed media works that are reminiscent of an informal material: what materials do you prefer to use to recreate the sea, and why? How do you give tactility to your works? What sensations do these materials give you and what do you imagine the observer will feel when he studies your works?

I almost always prefer to use natural materials, always carrying a bag of sand from my sea, which I try to transfer skilfully onto my canvases. I often imagine that the observer perceives everything that I convey through my work.

As well as being Artistic Director of the Castel Gandolfo Art Centre in Rome, in April you founded the Oltremare International Group, an international art group embracing all the arts: tell us about your idea, your goals, and future plans.

The Castel Gandolfo Art Centre was born in April 2013 from the idea of spreading the arts in a single environment, where ideas could be shared. Club Bluoltremare, on the other hand, was born in a particular moment of our history. Finding ourselves suddenly and forcibly closed, we opened up to other types of reality, bringing our ‘brand’ to an international dimension. Today Club Bluoltremare boasts prestigious collaborations with artists from all over the world. (If you are interested in joining Club Bluoltremare, here is the link: (4) club BLUOLTREMARE | Facebook ; the Castel Gandolfo Art Centre: (5) Centro ARTE | Facebook )

What has this last terrible year represented for you and your art, where all certainties have changed perspectives and visions?

2020 was a really terrible year. It wiped out our exhibitions, our contacts, our energy … but I am convinced that it is still worth trying to do something positive for art. In spite of everything, at least in my experience, when you are forced to limit your contacts, when everything seems to stagnate and depression is around the corner, something creative always emerges, with its vital force.

In this very delicate moment in history, full of uncertainties, I would like to highlight the brilliant idea of Giulio Pettinato who, unable to inaugurate the international group exhibition Pigmenti (15-22 December 2020 at the Sala Nagasawa in the Appia Antica park in Rome) due to the restrictions established to contain the Covid-19, has decided to stage it anyway in a micro version in the smallest gallery in the world (150×45 cm.). Since January 2021, the micro-gallery has been hosting several solo shows by artists from all over the world: for more information and to participate in events in the micro-gallery, write to me at elisavosmanzoni@gmail.com or artecastelgandolfo@libero.it.

With heartfelt thanks to Giulio Pettinato for his precious time, I would like to remind you that his works are on sale in the Netherlands and you can see them on the website: Giulio Pettinato – Italian art by ELisa Manzoni (criticoarte.org)