On Knowing and Making
On Knowing and Making
The key element lies in the union of two different natures meeting, and often fighting, within me. On the one hand, the necessity, at times to become obsessive, to observe, know, understand… On the other, an impatient istinct to create, build and represent all that I realize, or think I know.
I have a great passion for philosophy, ancient history, mythology, the sciences in general, and all those branches of knowledge that somehow give me the feeling that I can give meaning to my life, to life more generally, to death and to all that is known or unknown. To know, elaborate, realize, identify myself as much as possible with someone else… To manipulate… To play with time, space and the awareness of it all… Art (the act of making with one’s hands, and through the medium of matter) comes as a consequence of this. It is the instinctive and natural means to give shape and an apparent logic to what I have devised in my mind, or to what I haven’t devised at all but which is nevertheless there and makes itself felt. I would never be able to write, or tell such things in words… I am far too impatient for that… I need to ‘fix’ what I have in my mind through matter and stroke, and I certainly do so… I tie it, I paste it, I nail it and show it to others. I need to have witnesses… Not in order to explain or teach… Nor in order to share… It is merely the illusion, or the unmistakable proof of having captured what is obsessing me.
On Matter and Painting
The tecnique, style and pictorial research in my works are a consequence of all this… They are a means, a go-between… A frenzied weapon of both creation and destruction at the same time. At the very moment that I start a work, I use everything I have at my disposal, I almost never keep at hand a list of the instruments I need. That is why to me, matter and materials come even before painting itself. First I must build, tie and compose… No blank canvas in front of me, for the principle inherent in my whole work is not that of the void. The principle is chaos… The undetermined… Creation, on the other hand, is determination, it is a backward journey undertaken in order to grasp the mold. Principle and mold… Chaos and harmony… The starting point and the ends… A motionless journey. The ship lying still, stuck into matter. It is not the art of recycling, nor is it ‘Arte Povera’… It is the art of frenzy, of struggle. Painting comes after matter, I said, for painting, differently from mere matter, pushes you into entering another dimension… its purpose is to give depth… it is the key that opens a door, so as to persuade one to enter what the humble creator has created, or re-created. By contrast mere matter, just as is the case with sculpture, represents elements that actually enter the dimension and spaces of those who are observing them.
I have the presumption to open myself up and open up a world, too. Even when I am only employing the stroke, such as in drawings or in less matter-oriented works, I feel the necessity to dig a groove on paper or wood… Always hard surfaces, all of them… Pencils or brushes that dig, enter and hurt… And hurt me, too. It is always a small battle, anyway. The sensation of having completed a work never, or almost never comes from an aesthetic, visual or conceptual point of view… But from the knowledge of having been the winner in a painful duel that has deeply scarred me.
On Masters, Heroes and Imitation
It is not by chance that my own, once unknowing cultural education features few painters, sculptors or specific artistic movements.
I have always chased madmen and visionaries… Warriors, philosophers, poets, scientists… Myths, explorations and events that satisfy my hunger for knowledge through the destruction of dogmas and the search for the unknown. A gnostic, intuitive kind of knowledge… No theorem or equation. No idealism… The awareness of intuition and the re-evaluation of a certainty that has been revealed and proved… Just a small and presumptuous catalyst paying tribute to the Heroes of the time, destroyers of time. An artisan who is in a hurry to reveal to himself, too, that he has understood, realized and captured… That he, in his own way and through the use of matter, has put time and space into perspective within a small perimeter. The mind that is hungry for knowledge… The hands that are eager to do.
Technique, style… there are so many artists I esteem and chase! I don’t even know the name of some of them… Another kind of masters, to me… From them I have stolen and still steal through my hands, enriching myself by a small loot, a little treasure. Technique… no illusion of creating or re-creating anything new, no claim to any likeness or unlikeness. What is indeed there is the presumption to use them as my instruments for making… Instruments which are useful to figuration and composition, as are the symbols that often recur in my works… Ladders, knots, rags, fishes, nudes, masks, Pinocchio noses, unintelligible writings, boats that lie abandoned or tied to the pier, all of them lying still… Kiefer, De Dominicis, Vedova, Bacon, Rohtko and who knows how many others... Instruments. Extremely esteemed instruments for making and representing.