Pour parler

Pour parler

novelle_vaghe

by Marco Fantini

My name is Marco Fantini, I’m an artist, and from now on until my eternity I will keep this column that I consciously decided to entitle “Vague short stories”. It is a series of short stories about art and artists. Now, pro vobis I will introduce myself.

I am often accused of talking for the sake of talking. Maundering and talking to the four winds is something that does not touch me. If I was told that I talk to the Fantastic Four or to the four-cheese pizza I could not care less, either. Because every word, even the darkest, conceives in itself its mysterious role of being a fundamental part of the language and this to me among all the inventions of man is the most miraculous one. All this to introduce a very simple concept: words, I love them all. For me they represent precious jewels to be preserved and carefully stored after each single use. I respect all of them as if they were ancient priestly jewellery; fragmentary remains of a speech that never ceases to amaze me. Namely, the speech of subjectivism and its staging in the sand, in cave walls, in parchment paper as well as in the printed one. The sweaty word is still alive, in spite of all the most sophisticated computer technology, obeying a grammar that seems immune to changing semblances of progress. A few thousand years from its appearance, writing still needs words to be defined as such. It is not a trivial matter, I believe, in these trendy times.

Writing, in parallel to painting, sculpture, drawing, tennis, boxing, dinners, cocktails, chatting with friends, cinema and cigarettes, is an important fact of my life. Going back with memory I recall I have always written as a child, I had to, school themes, topic themes and free themes, summaries of the after outing and detailed chronicles of my life as a son, brother and person of society. As a boy I wrote for an emulation desire, later to better know myself. Today, I write to give a sense to idleness, so out of necessity.

I find it rather curious that an indisputably obligatory school boasts of educating young people to the development of a free critical awareness. When I attended elementary school I did not even deserve a pass under the subject “volition”, thus I have always thought it was strange to associate a vote to the category of desires. What did the teacher know of my real desires? What vote deserved my fondness for tales of adventure that stole all my time to learning multiplication tables? What vote deserved my love for the mountains and skiing? And what about my daydreaming? Apparently, the obligation to create a free critical awareness foresaw that this freedom should be exercised within a pre-packaged list of desires, while being placed outside meant being an outlaw. To be fair to be flunked in school was a big hassle. So I adapted and, like everyone else, I have worked hard to develop a serious and disciplined critical conscience: not to be rejected, to be able to continue to read my favourite books, not to incur in penalties, punishments, deprivations. And to dedicate myself in total secrecy to the worship of my heroes, lonely men as a rule, those that in second-class western movies came to save the village from the brutes to then depart without a penny in the pocket or a love in the sock. I’ve gotten so without shame or praise, and so I do today, with the inevitable aftermath of a vague feeling of inadequacy and still alive, the feeling of being an outlaw, or even worse, an impostor.

Nietzsche wrote: “The human maturity, is to find the child’s seriousness while playing”. I discovered this phrase by myself, by chance and I still believe it exceeds for immediacy and poetic force most of the essays dedicated to him. Even Picasso, whom I studied in high school and college, was a solitary and belated discovery. It happened a few years ago, at the Bayeler foundation in Basle, on the occasion of a major exhibition on Giacometti. Giacometti has always been one of my personal heroes, a solitary and independent art cowboy, a genius. I remember I did not like the curatorship of his Anthological in Basel, thus bored by the too repetitive sequence of his wayfarers, I decided to turn in the direction of the permanent collection. It so happened that I suddenly found myself in front of a painting by Picasso that I did not know. It seemed that it was there waiting for me, staring at me. I could not look the other way. That canvas had one eye and that one eye was fathoming me, measuring me and pushing me, moment by moment, to the back wall. The eye of Picasso, from within the work had placed me in the right observation distance and neither I nor my free critical consciousness could make anything about it. An unknown force had transformed me from mere paying spectator into the object of vision. No other artist has ever managed to provoke a similar feeling in me, and my judgment on Picasso will always be influenced by the effects of this experience. On my return I have not felt any need to describe my feelings into a fair copy. I kept them inside, as incommunicable emotions and yet so perfect, in their unspeakable form. And who cares of Analytical Cubism, the blue period, the legacy of Cezanne, his misogyny, his women and his narcissism. Paintings and artists can not be summed, and the works are not only there to be looked at, not for me, at least.

And all this panegyric to justify the title of a column? Yes, but not only. I developed a naïve tendency in my work, which is the natural consequence of an undisciplined attitude, being in itself the natural consequence of years and years of catastrophic school consequences. The final result, the one that groups them all, is in my opinion a sort of comic cosmic modesty that leads me to the joke (boutade), the infamous talking for the sake of talking (parler pour parler). My best ideas (if I ever had any) have always arisen as well, at random, in the hostility of a trivial conversation, or maybe driving in rush hour traffic, in the wake of a song played on the radio. I do not like the appointment with the opera as well as I do not like rehearsals, the calculated mise-en-scene of the privileged artist’s condition. I love instead moving in an atmosphere of carefree frivolity so I may then emancipate. For the same reason I love spending hours sitting in the open air bar, watching people walk by. It is there, away from school desks, classrooms and teaching posts that I feel alive. And art, whatever people may say, is about life. Just for the sake of talking, it goes without saying (pour parler, .. ça va sans dire).

 

Marco Fantini

Coi Nor, 2016, courtesy Riccardo Costantini Contemporary. view of the exhibition

 

Marco Fantini

Coi Nor, 2016, courtesy Riccardo Costantini Contemporary. view of the exhibition

 

Marco Fantini

Holly in the hole, 2014, mixed media on canvas, 130x150cm

Marco Fantini

autoreferenziale, 2015, 120x120cm, mixed media on canvas

Marco Fantini

  Holly in the hole, 2014, mixed media on canvas, 130x150cm

Marco Fantini

11 pablo ruiz, 2014, 30x50cm. mixed media on paper on iron

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