About Antonio Papasso
Antonio Papasso (painter-engraver) was born in Florence (Italy) on 11 July 1932. His interest in art developed slowly as in the tradition of the works of great painters. A careful observer of the various art exhibitions held in Italy, he regularly visited the Uffizi and Pitti museums. It was only in 1970 that he started to discover himself while concentrating on figurative art. He felt restless and unsatisfied and decided to move, after having bought a chalcographic press, to a farmhouse in the Pisa countryside.In 1983 he moved to the outskirts of Rome, in Anguillara where he lives and works.
When he moved to Pisa he bought his first calcographic press.
In that retreat he faced up to the challenge of wanting to know more, at times in bitter solitude. He was often to be found in the library of the Normale School of Pisa where he tried to fathom and venture into philosophic and anthropological problems. There, he discovered the literary journal ?Il Verri? and established a friendship with Sanguineti, Giuliani and others. He experimented with shapes and colours with a freedom that derived from having made a saying of Picasso his own: ?I?ve never seen colours fight each other?. He applied this principle to figurative pictures putting in clashing and contrasting colours, making small works that he kept in a drawer and have since been lost. With time he realised that those colours that seemed so hostile towards each other, had calmed down and transformed themselves into a new harmony. Papasso did not abandon this experience. He took it up again later on applying it to his engravings and prints, and to new country and waterside landscapes which he signed with his pseudonym Antigone.
The longing for freedom and the necessity to change drove him to conclude these latter experiences, summarising them in a collection of engravings of the title GENEALOGIA, which he then published in 1976 presented by Aldo Cairola. It is exactly that secret experience of Antigone and the first trial engravings and prints that revealed a new language to him, through the use of soft tissue, his own personal expression. The first papiers froisscame into being and were exhibited in 1979 in Milan, at the Zarathustra gallery, presented by Roberto Sanesi.
In 1981 at the same gallery he once again exhibited his works, this time presented by Gillo Dorfles, who described his papiers froissas ?a special technique that the artist invented some years ago and has made his own?, concluding with "Does it represent a new way to get out of the impenetrable shutness of his ego, a way to break the "egg's shell" or the walls within which the embryo floats immersed in its amniotic fluid? Or not rather an opening a road towards the exterior, towards light, towards a new and different- and maybe more dangerous but more advantageous- communication with the fellow creatures, with society, with the world?.
The same year Antonio Papasso created Canta (Collection: Staedelijk Museum, Amsterdam), in 1982 Re/spira and in 1983 Forma Naturae, three collections of original colour prints accompanied by texts by Gillo Dorfles, Edoardo Sanguineti and Giulio Carlo Argan respectively.
In 1982 a collection of seven original colour prints entitled ?Re/spira? was completed and accompanied by a triple acrostic by Edoardo Sanguineti. The work became part of the MoMA collection and of the BNF collection:
"?It was accepted at our Acquisitions Meeting on May 25th. The members of the Committee were unanimously enthusiastic about your etchings (...) it broadens our knowledge of contemporary Italian print making..."
(The Museum of Modern Art, New York 6-06-1983)
" ...les votre petite album si subtil e si dcat et nous sommes trheureux de l'accepter dans les collections de la Bibliothe Nationale..."
(Bibliothe Nationale de France, Parigi 6 juin 1984).
The following are his most important exhibitions.
1975, Galleria "Il Salotto", Como.
1976, "Scuole Comunali", Vecchiano (Pisa).
1977, Galleria "Metastasio", Prato (Firenze).
1978, Galleria "9 Colonne", Trento.
1979, Galleria "Zarathustra", Milano.
1980, Galleria "Greminger", Genova.
1981, "Comune di Montignoso", Massa Carrara e "Museo alternativo Remo Brindisi", Spina (Ferrara).
1982, Galleria "Zarathustra", Milano.
1984, "Triennale Europea dell'Incisione", Grado (Venezia).
1985, "Biennale Internazionale dell'Incisione", Lubiana. 1988, Galleria "Forum", Hamburg; Galleria "VigadBudapest.
1989, Galleria "Charlton", Roma.
1992, "Toninelli Arte Moderna"; FIAC, Gran Palais, Parigi.
1993, "Toninelli Arte Moderna", Roma; SAGA Gran Palais, Parigi.
1994, "Palais des Festivals", Cannes.
1995, "Arte Jonction", Cannes. 1996/2002, "Telemarket", Italia.
1999, "Palazzo Comunale", Bracciano (Roma).
2006, Museo d?Arte Contemporanea (MLAC) dell?UniversitLa Sapienza?, Roma.
2006, Museo Storico dell'Aeronautica Militare, Roma: "Elogio del leggero"(IN PRAISE OF LIGHTNESS)
STRAY THOUGHTS OF ANTONIO PAPASSO (March 2007)
For years I have sought to draw on the great spring inside me, peering down into the primordial part of my being and of my opposite (which is the female universe) to draw out forms from it that have tried to capture a fleeting moment of beauty from the infinite riches of the flow of life.
Ive wanted to communicate to others the spark of our immortality and the wonder that I feel at the miracle of existence. My works do not describe me, their creator; but they can speak to everyone about himself, his being and his soul. So far they have done this, setting off a deafening echo of silence, and in that quiet revealing to one and all their mysteries. This has never happened unexpectedly, but has gradually emerged in a more or less long period of gestation.
I like to feel Im a farm-worker, and for the echoes my works set off I like to use the image of the sower who scatters the seed that sinks into the earth and nothing more is heard of it. Its author is, as it were, dispossessed of this process, until one day, an ordinary and unexpected day, he is present at its birth.
So far. So far, at this point in history, after laboriously taking over the great heritage of art and culture, only to abandon it, cancel everything and find only in myself the right way to myself, which put back together in an external harmony the claims of the mind, the forces of the instincts, the tensions of the soul and the feelings of the heart.
So far. So far. And now?
Now, as I listen to apocalyptic voices announcing destruction, the universal flood and catastrophes, I wonder, what does it matter? What do the delicacy and care of these creatures of mine matter, that took shape, substance, visibility and language from the dark night of my inner world? When we live in the expectation of everything being carried away, overturned and smothered; will it be of some use to utter cries of alarm, spread fear and make people run, one and all, for protection in some convenient shelter?
AN ART FILM
Text by RICCARDO BARLETTA
The power of the human eye can make out clearly defined forms and figures that people the vastness of the world. In his work, Antonio Papasso points exclusively to signs, imprints and wrinkles. Why? His vision is tactile, only tactile, and shifts our perception from the inferno of reality to the paradise of pure sensibility. For the Greeks the soul indicated the vital breath, mos. And Papasso goes straight to the soul, where he lives out his split seconds of ecstatic illumination.
There are some wonderful words of Leonardo da Vinci: ?Among all the great things that are to be found among us, the existence of nothingness is truly great?. The existence of nothingness is the rare neutrino ? magically produced by and ?in? the human psyche ? that Papasso seeks out and bears witness to. So small and sensitive and so fleeting that it is close to nothingness. To Leonardo?s ?truly great nothingness?. And he, Antonio Papasso ? this monk on the Mount Athos of perception ? patiently extracts it. Poor means, delicate colours, thin voices, humble and touching transparencies.
Brittle marginalia, like sighs and breaths. Papasso?s activity seems weak and understated, but what meaning does it have in the end? First of all, let?s give it a name: In praise of lightness. To explain its content better, let?s add a sub-title: In search of the tactile unconscious. And only then let?s analyse it, entering into its hidden meanings. The operation may seem banal to the superficial, but its half-light illuminates important things.
The Italian word for ?light? derives from Vulgar Latin. Weighing little, imperceptible, and so anything that is delicate. But the Latin levis means ?lighten?. The word still remains in Italian in the term for a midwife ? levatrice ? the person who lightens the mother of the new-born baby. Turning to the paintings, this praise of lightness is made up of works that are a mixture of etching and collage. If we think about it, they lighten those who look at them.
One after another, Papasso?s icons are an exercise in penetration. As we look at them we leave the shop-soiled world of things and are gradually lightened of the weight of daily life and its repeated density. And just as the midwife delivers something living, the etchings and collages deliver one emotion after another in us.
Let?s start here. And then what happens? The psychoanalyst Ignacio Matte Blanco pointed out a little-known truth of the psyche on this. He claimed that ?emotion is the mother of thought?. In concrete, it is only under the pressure of emotion that something arises in us, and a vibration is born that lifts us up and carries us aloft. Today it is easy to fly, with a plane, a helicopter, a glider or a hot-air balloon. But man has a