WORK 07 / THE SELF / PAINTINGS

PAINTINGS 01/12 Every month I execute a 50 by 50 centimeters abstract painting. For the purpose I use an illustration panel which I quickly sketch using a pencil. After usins crayons to associate each of the resulting shapes with a colour, I use a size 24 square cut brush to paint the panel using a palette of 24 acrylic colours. This palette comprises of all the primary and secondary colours as well as a lighter and darker version of each of them. In addition to these 18 resulting colours, I uses white, black, gray, silver, brown and gold thus resulting in a total of 24 colours. After being executed, each painting is photographed and the resulting image colourized using an image editor. The digital colourization was initially adopted with the intention of further simplify the colours so as to later embroider the resulting abstract pattern in tapestries. Each painting is, from left to right, the continuation of the former and the tapestries should have then being displayed in a horizontal fashion (Fig. Screenshot of a painting executed throughout a month. The After being executed the painting was photographed. The digital image was then cropped and ran through a filter that further reduces the amount of used colours. Unconsciously, to emphasize the left to right flow of the horizontal continuation of each painting I have been adopting a blue shape going across as some sort of liquid).

PAINTINGS 02/12 As a child I have been mostly drawing and colouring was always only a supplement of my figurative work. As a student in Italy I felt oppressed by the old fashion pedagogy and during classes I kept sketching and drawings in my and my classmates agendas. At the age of sixteen I was an exchange student in Fort Atkinson, a small American village in Wisconsin. I was traumatized by all the high level mathematics and Latin learning I had to submit to as a student in Italy and just decided to take art classes. Only then I was able to let go to my creativity and experiment with colours. I still kept doing figurative work, mostly copying from images I found in magazines. Nonetheless abstract patterns also emerged mostly in the colouring of backgrounds. On one occasion I pulled the high-school fire alarm on purpose and as an apology I offered to make an Inca inspired mural inside the school. I spent the summer of 1997 to do so and in background of this figurative work I began experimenting with more abstract patterns (Fig. Picture of on of the oil paintings I made while enrolled as a student in an American highschool. The painting reproduces an image of Demi Moore I found in a magazine. Despite the realistic subject already at this point I began experimenting with more abstract and curved spaces like the dress of the American actress and the grass on which she laid).

PAINTINGS 03/12 Back in Italy after my American adventure, from the age of 18 I started using my the study of my stepfather's father. The latter recently died and I kept company to his wife while making rather traditional oil reproductions of modern paintings such as Alberto Savinio's “L'Isola dei Giocattoli”. Soon however I broke free from using traditional techniques and began experimenting. Eventually my stepfahter's mother who still lived in the apartment where the study was located began experiencing nausea for the type of materials I experimented with. As a result of this I began painting in garages and later in whatever spaces I could find. In this early phase I would just go to hardware stores and buy whatever chemical product intrigued me. Not knowing what I was using I would simply mix it on canvas and await for the reaction. Lastly I mastered the use of polyurethane foam in combination with epoxy resins. Already in this stage I made a random sketch on a panel and later fill the resulting shapes with different materials and colours, creating some sort of out of space worlds (Fig. Picture taken by Etta Scotti, an Italian painter and art teacher. Seen my talent Scotti invited me to use a corner of her ancient villa to paint with her son. The latter however was a former drug addict and soon my parents prohibited me to keep working there).

PAINTINGS 04/12 After a few years experimenting with chemical materials I started to opt more and more to use natural elements such as pigments, eggs, bee-wax and tar. At this time also I begun to choose natural sites where to execute my paintings like on the rocks of my native highland, on a small beach by a river and on the hills. As painting became increasingly more ritualistic, I also began painting symmetrically with both hands. At this point also the filming of the process became more relevant. Upon moving to Vancouver to study, I did not have the space to pursue my painting carrier. As I anyway in my paintings was using a lot of natural material I began cooking instead. I would prepare bread or pasta and share it with others along with the documentation of the making. Eventually this sort of documentation lead me to document several aspects of my daily life. When digital technology came about this new art form got me thinking of my current project (Fig. Screenshot showing my set up to painting a large canvas symmetrically using both my hands. At this Maurizio Tobaldini, an industrialist was persuaded by his Polish wife to allow me to use one of their villas on the hills to paint. While expecting more traditional type of paintings I pursued my highly ritualistic style. Upon showing the results I eventually disappointed the industrialist who expected classic nudes).

PAINTINGS 05/12 On one hand I retain a ritualistic element to my paintings linking it to the shamanic-like art of Paul Jackson Pollock and Joseph Beuys. The most important feature of this work is however that I execute my painting acting as a medium, an approach already experimented by Hilma af Klint. I thus freely paint with the only objective in mind to create a full palette of colours and shapes, in line with early abstract painting theories such as those of Wassily Kandinsky. Generally speaking I am quite ashamed of my paintings and as far as for what I gather from other people viewing my project, this work is one of the least favourite. In this respect I am more appreciated for my drawings while my colour combinations are often found to be childish and rather hazardous. In the Renaissance discussion between Roman artists putting their emphasis on drawing and the Venetian artists putting their emphasis on colours, I would have probably sided with the former group despite being myself born in the former Venetian Republic. Either way I pursue my painting most systematically and simply with the intention of also manifesting this side of myself without much prejudice nor without any vanity driven attempt to try to make something beautiful for others to tell me how good of an artist I am (Fig. Screenshot showing me painting in my one room Swedish apartment).

PAINTINGS 06/12 After photographing a painting, I use Photoshp 6.0, a several decade old image editing software to crop the resulting image and place it within a square template of 52 by 52 centimeters. To do so I distort the image in order to make it fit in the actual template set to 52 pixels per centimeters resolution. Later I spend some time digitally polishing the imperfections that shows in the image. I especially clean the corners and edges were the paper tape I used to hold the panel up while I was painting it. Also I digitally erase all possible pencil traces using the rudimentary cloning tool of the software. At this point I might consider adjusting the contrast of the image based on the lighting available when the picture was taken. This feature is particularly important since the painting are mostly executed in the dark attic of my girlfriend's house in the Netherlands. Lastly I use the “Save for Web” old function which was used in the old days to make images more suitable for the slow internet of the 1990s. Here I apply a perceptual, no dither scheme of 108 colours to obtain a .gif image that is later converted into a .pdf file (Fig. Screenshot of the software interface I use to edit the photographed painting. The screenshot shows the image at the moment in which it is freely transformed in order to fit the square template where I will clean prior applying the old digital filter).

PAINTINGS 07/12 Initially I used to make the preliminary sketch of each painting with a brush. Later I began using a pencil to scribble in a more or less powerful manner the painting, always holding the previous painting up on the left side to see how to continue it on the right. Use a pencil I ma then more dynamic and the process is similar to that I was adopting as a young painter. In addition I also began sketching using a red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple crayon. These crayons allow me to identify the colours I wish to use to fill the shapes I have created as a result of my pencil scribble. Spaces can also be joined using the same colour in accordance with the colours of the previous painting. The overall idea is that of creating a three dimensional world with shapes overlapping one another as in a groove that keeps entangling itself from one painting to another. Having identified the shapes and the colours I wish to associate to them, I spend several days painting. To obtain a good result on the white glossy surface of the illustration panel I use, I apply several layers of colours (Fig. Picture showing a painting after being sketched. Notice how the panel themselves are rectangular and ought to be reshaped to a square after painting them. Also notice the six pieces of paper masking tape I use to keep the painting attached to the wall. When finished I remove the painting using a cutter).

PAINTINGS 08/12 After a painting is photographed and the resulting image is successfully edited I proceed to archive it. In order to do so at first I began cutting the painting in four parts. Later a 1 centimeter strip had to be further cut out of these parts so as to fit within the A4 format box I use as part of my physical archive. More recently, to speed up the process I simply fold the painting horizontally and just cut them using a guillotine. For each painting then I make four cuts and the pieces are later stored in a bigger box. The box is transported at the beginning of the summer from my Dutch study to my barn in the Italian alps where the pieces of the paintings together with other archival material are placed in the smaller boxes of my physical archive. Potentially by retrieving all the archival boxes and rearranging all the cut pieces, one is likely to obtain a 216 meters long continuous painting I made throughout the 36 years course of the project. At times the paintings I produced had to take a much longer journey not only from Sweden where they were originally stored but also from the United States where I also lived (Fig. Picture showing the guillotine I use in my Dutch study to cut each painted panel so as to fit within the archival boxes of the physical archive I keep in my Italian alps property. The white margin that is not archived and is instead used for taking notes and sketch.).

PAINTINGS 09/12 A close examination of the paintings can highlight an involuntary language that has developed over time. Within the overall sequence of paintings executed throughout several decades one is in fact able to identify micro sequences in which certain elements come to repeat themselves until they might get lost and in the end may reappear again. In a way one could utilized an abstract theory of paintings such as that developed by Kandinsky to be able to read such shapes and positions and colours which in turn might in fact, in all their apparent naivety come to represent my actual psychological status. Many factors might in fact come to play with the execution of a painting, factors that I filter through my own persona but can relate to outside events such as gray winter days, unemployment and screaming kids and pressure from my girlfriend to go back to work in the study we share at different intervals of the day (Fig. Screenshot of a month production. Notice how, aside from the abstract elements per se, the way the various layers appear and disappear also create some sort of three dimensional space with a certain depth. Beyond that however most colour arrangements are based on attempting to give in one painting a full and balanced distribution of primary colours).

PAINTINGS 10/12 A quantitative study I have conducted in the summer of 2016 as part of my doctorate thesis as shown how pretty much all the interviewees have been enjoying one or the other work presented inside a barn. On the question what they disliked everyone answered the abstract paintings. There was only a single exception, an homosexual young man who, unaware of this, was most excited about them. On the one hand then paintings is what it is expected from an artist. I do them not because I am labeling myself as a an artist but because I find them yet another medium to investigate my personal sphere. They are the worst received of my works. This is however also due to my attitude not to paint to create something for the audience to be pleased with but to paint only as a way to manifest another existential aspect. I therefore keep the embellishing act of painting rather brutal as brutal is the way I cut the paintings in pieces once it is time to archive them. In other words the paintings are just x-rays of of a flow that I am trying to capture in its many instances. They are by no means a final destination or something to contemplate as such. They are the liquid matter or the organic glue in which all my other works are being placed (Fig. Screenshot showing an interviewee examining the painting as part of the quantitative study I have conducted in my doctorate research).

PAINTINGS 11/12 The paintings were conceived as the actual curtains of the corridor of an ideal installation. In this respect the digital painting would have only served as a base for an embroilment that was actually a meter by a meter long and should have only make use of a limited amount of colours such as the hypothesized initial 24. Conceiving this project then, I was inspired by classic tapestry although the only few attempts that I made to print my paintings used basic pigments on canvas. These tapestries could have then acted as the thick curtains of an opera theater, curtains that cannot be really observed from within the corridors being them too dark to do so. However these curtains can been opened and closed and some pattern can be also observed sticking the head out from the corridor among the tapestries (Fig. Screenshot of a virtual rendering of the ideal presentation of the project showing approximately the turn out of the actual tapestries. From the inside of the dark corridors the only light is provided by the screens displaying my drawings and acting as sort of emergency lights. From the outside the tapestries can only be seen from afar with also the benches themselves distancing the viewers from them. In this respect the paintings might not look as awful as they do when observed to close but a more abstract pattern can be contemplated).

PAINTINGS 12/12 In an ideal exhibition the tapestries resulting from each of the painting should be placed as curtains of the 12 corridors surrounding the main hall. Given that there are 12 columns cutting perpendicularly the resulting outline, the tapestries would in the end be placed in 72 different segments of 6 units where the left to right continuation between the paintings can be appreciated. The horizontal movement of the paintings is here also emphasized by the LED screens standing right below it. The screens display my fables and to some extent dictates the way in which the eye of the viewer might also move through the painting in a left to right fashion. The chronological disposition of the tapestry should begin from the bottom left corridor going to the bottom right corridor and making its way to the upper corridors. The flow of the paintings surrounding in such fashion the exhibition, turns the space into a vessel, the underwater hull of an ark pushed by this abstract stream of colours through an old reality, the one depicted in the other works, into a new dimension (Fig. Rendering of the ideal exhibition comprising of all the works. In this exhibition the paintings would contribute to the perspective movement of the actual space to the altar-like end construction but also to the movement of the whole into an unknown metaphysical destination).