Once in a while I get questions about the meanings behind my paintings.
When I began doing experimental works with abstract marks merging with realistic figures, I did it first for my passion for both ways of expression, and second for the sheer excitement of experimentation and discovery. There was also a concept, a philosophical search. The combination of both languages meant, to me, the perfect point of contact between matter and spirit, when the known forms of physicality meet the shapeless, unlimited, pregnant of possibilities realm of the invisible. I enjoyed to see the figures dissolving into what made them exist in the bi-dimensional reality of the painting surface, as a reminder that the form, as we know it, is but a beautiful illusion that will sooner or later merge into the cosmic cauldron of material probabilities.
It took me a while to realize that, what I was actually searching for, was a symbolic way to free myself. From the limitations of materiality, from pain, from bad remembrances and toxic emotions. From the sometimes overwhelming difficulty of simply being. What I was searching for was transcendence. Standing beyond a reality that was no longer attractive or promising.
I was searching for a way to die.
That became more apparent by the things I looked for in my subjects. I wanted to paint faces and bodies that seemed somewhat trapped in one-second eternities, in longing, in loss. Bodies suspended in the static of dreams. Faces that told stories of isolation, loneliness, and desire to be somewhere beyond a reality they did not feel welcome. As I paint, I keep asking questions in my head about those existences trapped in the canvases. What they are looking at, what pain is hidden behind their gaze. Are their lips hiding a smile? In which time and place are their memories stored?
How many times did they have to die and be reborn?
I realized the faces I was painting were mine. My studio was now a hall of mirrors. And in each painting, in each story I elaborated in my head while the brushes danced, there was a path toward self-understanding and transformation.
Now, like them, and once more in my life, I am searching for a way to be reborn.
I’ve been deliberately working on almost finished figures, just to ravage them with rambling paint markings and sandpaper. I want to disfigure them, to mask them with veils of titanium white secrecy. And then redo them, as much times as necessary in order for me to recognize them no longer as the mythical, distant creatures I once idealized, but as human beings that share my very secrets, my triumphs, my tears.
We are in the same dimension now, we are kin. I don’t want to try to imprison their beauty any longer, like in a Pre-Raphaelite tale; their beauty is also mine. Beauty is not tame. It is a wild thing, and has many forms, and perhaps its highest name is imperfection. It’s the imperfection of a wabi-sabi vase, which design becomes more fascinating after being broken.
I don’t know what the future holds for my works, as I grow older and many things become naturally futile or unimportant. Perhaps I find the purity of transcendence I aim to, after the Fool’s journey and its triumphs and delusions. At this point in life, all I want is to distill the humanity in me and extract the gold.