Thursday, April 21, 2011

It's A Lovely Post War Italian Art World.

My mother Clotilde Scarpitta is holding the balloon with her friends, painter Piero Dorazio and his wife Virginia, and sculptor Pietro Consagra and his wife Sophia, in Rome 1962.

This is where I came from. Everything that comes from my head onto that canvas in front of me comes from this world.
A world of studios on beautiful streets like Via Margutta. That was our street. My family had a studio on that most lovely of Roman streets. Full of yelling, paint and the sublime European attitudes of the 50's and 60's. After their marriage finally and officially ended in 1958 (but really it was 1956 if one wants to be truthful) my mother and I moved to large and elegant apartment on Via Bocca di Leone, just a whisper away from the Spanish Steps. 
I have so many lovely memories of Rome during this time. My earliest is of my mother coming back from France when I was around two or three. I was in my playpen that I'm sure by it's construction would have strangled a lesser child. Darwinism is always at work...She brought with her a small toy camera. I can still remember her hand coming down at me holding this perfect little metal camera. My mother was always coming and going. She was a force of nature because when she appeared a whirlwind of conversation, yelling and her raw beauty took everyone by storm. This is no exaggeration. A world of men, important and not, were always trying to catch her eye. And women just wanted to be like her.
She was born a child of two eccentrics. Intelligence and anarchy ruled the family. She showed promise as a portraitist in elementary school painting Mussolini's portrait for the entrances of all the public schools in Rome. The principal knew he had a good thing going so he made her do portrait after portrait of Mussolini's mug until she made dozens and dozens of them. She must have seen his face in her sleep.
When that bit of exploitation was over, she ended up in the art conservatory in Rome called Belle Arti.
Belle Arti is where all the artists in the photo above went to. Just imagine going to a state art school in fascist Italy. Neither can I. But what a wonderful way to learn subversion. Art that impacts with thunderous meaning. Or not... The fascists loved the figure, the ideal. And what did these artists do when they were finally permitted to paint, sculpt and do just whatever they pleased?

I leave you today with these images, born from struggle, war, censorship and finally, invention.

Untitled, 1957
Piero Dorazio

Gli Scar, 1947
Giulio Turcato

Blue Concentric, 1947
Carla Accardi
Conversation with the Wind, 1962
Pietro Consagra
Artist's Shit, 1961
Piero Manzoni

Salvatore Scarpitta, 1959, Forager for Plankton

No comments:

Post a Comment