Facoltà di Scienze Politiche Catania 2007 – IMPRINTS L’ARTISTA Di Alessandra Famoso, relatore Alessandro Bertirotti
It is important to know who the artist is, his past, his resumé, what the critics think of him, how he is listed within the art market locally, nationally and internationally. The curator, in order to communicate the work of the artist and to organize art events that see him as the protagonist, must be clear about the strengths and weaknesses of his client. In the case of Claudio Arezzo di Trifiletti it is interesting to note that the strengths coincide with those weaknesses. The undersigned will present the artist through his words, his paintings and exhibitions. Claudio Arezzo di Trifiletti sends a message to his users through his work, it is not always possible to stem or mediate. His spontaneity, his explosive energy, his want to scream his message to the world are subjects that are easily misunderstood and trivializing. Finding the right channel to mediate his communication, without distorting the message by placing limits, is a delicate and not simple task. The path of Claudio Arezzo di Trifiletti starts off from far away.
The communication of Claudio started in 1993 while organizing a variety of events and in 1999 he became the owner of the Clone Zone, a night club in Catania, winning praise from various parts of Italy. In 2002, the Oriental myth leads him far away from the west, leaving behind this well-known Sicilian club. Since 2000, he has been painting, sculpting, creating installations, experimenting in a total reality beyond time giving free rein to his innermost thoughts. His soul follows the teachings of Eastern philosophy, but his body is that of a Westerner who expresses his craving for success. Tracing the distinctions made by HS Becker between the four modes of participation in the art world – complete professionals, rebels, folk artists and naive artists (Becker H. S., 2004:246) – the relationship of Claudio Arezzo di Trifiletti with the world of organized art is closer to the last category. The term “Naive” is a French word that corresponds to “primitive.” In art, the term Naive refers to an aesthetic-expressive attitude of the artist towards the work and often indicates a production that is not supported by a proper training school or otherwise. “The work of Naive Art is an expression of creativity that is not located within artistic currents of thought. The Naive artist follows his instincts without following the teachings of those that are technical or “philosophical” artistic expressions of the “moment”. So Naive painters paint for themselves, expressing an uncompromisingly realistic and poetic vision, fantasizing and accentuating shapes and reality. Naive painting is made up of elementary and simple execution and portrays such fabulous scenes of everyday life, with a rich combination of colors, usually used pure. For Naive artists the terms “instinctive”, “modern primitive”, “popular” or “painters from the Sacred Heart” have been used. The difficulty arises from the fact that Naive works are produced without any reference to the criteria of the world, except the personal experience of their creators. They work alone, free from the bonds of cooperation that carry a burden on the members of an artistic world, free to ignore the conventional categories of works of art and make things that do not fit into any established genre and can not be described as examples of any class(…) Naive artists form their own personal style and create unique and peculiar forms or genres, because they never acquired or internalized the usual ways of imagining and thinking that professional artists necessarily develop during their training (…) Not having received professional training and having no contact with the official world of art, Naive artists do not learn the formal vocabulary that serves to motivate and explain the work of the artist. (…) Many of these artists do not give any explanation, being apparently convinced that the things that they make concern only them, or their relationship with God. (…) When they try to explain, they do so in a subjective manner and without relying on a shared vocabulary of motives, so they give the impression of being extremely eccentric “(Becker H.S., 2004:278-79). The experiences of Claudio Arezzo di Trifiletti are reflected in his works and in his exhibitions. With regard to this, the writer has decided to bring back an interview with Claudio Arezzo di Trifiletti on the occasion of his second exhibition at the Norman castle of Acicastello. Painted Smiles.
What goals do you want to reach with this exhibition?
Through my paintings I would like to be able to stimulate the conscience of people, and push them to think more. Today we are no longer accustomed to sharing feelings and emotions. We live with a constant feeling of isolation and alienation. The simple gestures that convey emotions, like an embrace, are not appreciated or can even be misinterpreted. People are forgetting what love is because they identify with peace. In reality, they are two different things: peace of being can also be achieved in isolation, love presupposes the sharing of emotions and empathy.
When did you realize you had an artistic streak?
When I was a little boy I already felt a strong need to express myself. Both at school and at home my mind was absent. I took refuge in an inner dimension that would allow me to become estranged from the real environment and live in a world of my own, alternative, richer than the real one. I’ve always been a keen observer of the world and of people. I believe in reincarnation. A magician once told me that in a past life I was a hermit … in this life, on the contrary, I decided to also express and share my inner dimension. I started to externalize my desire for expression and interaction with the world, devoting myself to activities that allowed me to stay in close contact with people. At the time I was a dreamer: I opened a nightclub in order to create a dimension outside of reality, a kind of oasis, an island where people are able to be themselves, putting appearances aside. Having penetrated into that world has allowed me to understand many things: first, constant contact with people has honed my ability to understand people, I realized that those who were around me were not happy and that I enriched myself by cultivating the vices and the misery of others. I made compromises with a type of society (Western, consumerist) that does not give you rules of life, but rather standard goals. Thanks to this experience, however, I had an epiphany: there’s always a silver lining. The evils will arise in the course of life to enable you to know and understand life itself, to teach you what life is. Tired of that kind of life, I decided to go and live for a while in India in search of new stimuli. So I embarked on a path of spiritual growth that has allowed me to come to the realization that I have today. I understand that it is possible and it is nice to build something important not with money, but with creativity. I started to give way to my creativity, investing and channeling my energy through a process that does not affect my ideals, my principles, my values. I decided to devote myself entirely to art! Initially I did not want to exhibit my works … then I was convinced to do it: so I returned to belong to the world!
What does art represent in your life’s journey?
Art is what I live for. I received attractive job offers outside of Sicily and Italy, but I gave up, choosing to follow a reverse path than the standard one. In Sicily, carrying out ambitious projects, becoming known, gaining visibility, and spreading a message through art, is particularly difficult. Many people, discouraged by difficulties, leave, give up the fight to exploit the many resources that our country possesses. I think it’s right to remain here in order to express something, to give input, to bequeath stimuli to future generations so that they are encouraged to stay. This would avoid that the best resources go away leaving behind the mediocre ones.
What is your vision of art in relation to reality?
Today all forms of artistic events are flat, static, standard. Instead I want what I do to go beyond the standards and rules, to be something original that expresses the richness and variety of my inner dimension. Society seeks to isolate, to flatten the differences. I think, instead, that we need to enhance the infinite depth of the individuality of the human being. For me, art is not a precise and faithful reproduction of external reality, but an expression of the inner dimension of man.
Who is Claudio?
He is a researcher! A researcher who seeks to understand and explain to others the irrationality and the energy that human beings possess and that an ordinary person might define as insanity. I believe that art is also a religion, a philosophy, a way of life. Through art, we express those thoughts and also those follies that enrich reality. On an economic level, my business does not give me much. I dedicate myself to art for another purpose: to leave mankind a number of works of art that are so great for me to be remembered in time.
Which of the art forms you do gives you more satisfaction?
My dream is that someone (definitely someone out of the ordinary, with a remarkable inner strength), proposes to me to redesign a square, perhaps that of a peripheral and socially degraded area. Given the opportunity, I would fill this square with green spaces, ponds, small waterfalls, special trees, and would create an underground with portholes from which we could “spy” the world from the bottom. I would write poems on the ground, I would give to those people who came the opportunity to practice chromotherapy … I would give life to a place capable of giving emotions, designed and built to be suitable for children. I do not agree with our world as it is. This dream is to build a different world in which to live. A project that I’m actually trying to achieve regards the building where I live: I want to completely redecorate it.
In your opinion, why was your exhibition from last year reconfirmed and proposed once more to the public?
Surely because the municipality has given me awards and because I could count on important collaborators.
Who is your audience? What do you think about it?
I do not care that my exhibitions are attended by rich or important people. I care that there are souls. In fact, I can not say that I already have an audience: I am not yet very well known as an artist. I think that people who visit my exhibitions, in general, are simple people who experience little art and know about it only through books and television. A lack of knowledge of art often prompts people to make superficial associations between artists. In the past I happened to be compared to Munch. Actually, I do not like confrontation … every work of art is a unique masterpiece because it is the expression of the individuality of the person who created it.
Are there any peculiar details, regarding your exhibitions, that you want to tell us about?
Despite the significant help of collaborators, I always try to do the most possible alone, especially as regards to the construction of the interior in which the exhibits are realized. For example, for me, it is very important to use incense (I consider it a reminder of the angels) and candles (they burn what’s bad that’s in the air and represent a means of communication with the afterlife). Once in Paris, due to technical problems, for the preparation of an exhibition, I decided to cover the entire floor with dried leaves (picked by me) to cover the floor.
What is the meaning behind “Painted smiles” ?
It comes down to smiles as a “facade”, made with the face, but not with the heart … they are the smiles of people who want to look happy, but in reality they are not … they are the smiles of those who hide their individuality behind the conformism of a society of appearance … they are the symbol of the hypocrisy of a world that hinders the expression of our inner selves. “Painted smiles,” exhibited at my shows, in fact, are images that cover pre-existing paintings done by me in the past that were full of anguish. With my paintings I want to spread a message that can reach people … people would never have enjoyed the paintings “hidden beneath the smiles” because they are too full of negative feelings. In addition, filling pre-existing forms with splashes of color, confers a new meaning to the paintings … this is a technique that enhances the imperfection of the color stain.
What do you expect from the inauguration of the exhibition?
When an external stimulus impresses us, this leaves something: I want my paintings to be striking and arouse emotions in people, making the same thoughts that I had while I was creating the work emerge in them.
What colors do you prefer?
Every color has a specific meaning because it arouses precise emotions. Surely I could never give up white, red and black. I particularly like purple for the sense of mystique it transmits. Orange makes me think about the sunset and then at the end of something and the beginning of a new day, while blue gives me the sense of infinity (because it is the color of the sky), and so on.
Any projects for the future?
After reaching my goals in Sicily, I want to pursue the national target (I’ve already planned exhibitions for next winter in: Ferrara, Rome, Milan and Bologna) and the international one. I want my home, with all the works of art it contains, to remain open to the public after my departure.
Have you ever dedicated paintings to anyone?
I always do. In all my works I insert some element linked to the world and people around me. Any external stimulus that leaves a mark, is in some way represented in my works.
Today the critic curator has replaced the negative critic. What is good and what is bad? For contemporary artists, the criticism and articles that relate to their work and their exhibitions increase the reputation they have within the art market. Below the writer shows the reviews that have been written about Claudio Arezzo di Trifiletti.
The paintings of Claudio Arezzo di Trifiletti are undoubtedly original. He reflects his inner world, full of affection, of experience and emotions, represented with lines, masses of values and tones, which make up a whole, which achieves a significant effect of expression in the works, a balance and a sense of rhythm that allow the viewer to enter the beauty and meaning. Painting is an art that dates back to the Quaternary, in which the figure is reproduced in a realistic way for a narrative purpose, while in present times it is characterized by stylized forms and has an ornamental function above all. Art is therefore a system of symbolic communication and the works through which it is expressed reflect the feelings of those who create them, the deepeest trends, universal values, issues and interests that cross the world in different historical periods. Ultimately, the intimate subjectivity of the artist, who interprets the reality in which he lives, is revealed in his creations. Claudio has achieved this result, being able to instil in his paintings emotions and beauty of creation.
Iolanda Scelfo, national councilor of the Italian Federation of Clubs and Centers UNESCO
Claudio is an ascetic who loves the crowds. His meditation goes from things, colors, people. He waits in the rain with his eyes closed to hear the noise, look at the dark with his eyes open to see the shapes. Besides color, he sees the spirit of things, just color is not enogh for the viewer of his paintings. He would like to dig in the shapes depicted, to find out what’s behind them. Fragrances, sounds, thoughts and energies are trapped in the canvas just waiting to get out. The silence of Claudio is a thought of life, peace, and a smile is his language, the only one he knows. Intelligence in its peaceful quiet, makes him levitate in the middle of the events, he goes beyond the events, and continues to observe again. All wrapped up in beauty, good taste, with which to express natural forms, visible and invisible. A curious child in the body of a man, a dreamer, an observer, an artist.
Creation is also a simple stroke on a sheet of paper, but in order for this act to acquire this value it must embody a meaning, which hides a message. The revelation of the world is the intent of this artist. The ethereal and refined language is manifested through dreamlike contours; dreams are the vehicle used to communicate with ourselves and talk about ourselves to others with a register that is instinctive, spontaneous, and true to its feelings, but not without problems, disagreements and disturbances of the soul. The experience that Claudio offers with his creative effort is intense: painting, sculpture and setting are the three coordinates that are used to project within a space that is archaic but simple, natural and exotic in a rare combination of seemingly conflicting topos. Entering the environment described by his works is like finding your own birthplace, the place of your lost experience remembering and recreating your own intimate world. I like the work of Claudio because it is not after a target, it does not pursue beauty, nor does it emulate success, but it uses the eyes of a child to look at our world.
His painting goes beyond technique, beyond style in order to be the preferred and transient channel of communication that is disruptive and uncontrollable. It is not a goal but a deliberate incidental step. A creative person who was not a painter, nor perhaps will continue to be one, temporarily chooses the path of intense colors, shapes and forms deconstructed and shaped by a humus of tribal and urban, natural and acrylic synbolism. The glare of a spirituality rooted in the West and having lost its authority, it turns its attention to the East, in search of itself, the soul of breath; a mythical East and not necessarily historical. Nearing new age, and within a light paiting with historical and biographical contaminations, live subliminal forms, whether they are ghosts or angels, devils or gods. Among the Christological temptations and metropolitan sins, the urgency of the brush, strikes still in the early touches but made alive by an unquenchable higher energy.
My friend Claudio. I met him when I was 14 years old and he was a little older. Now that I’m 28, you do not even notice a couple of years more, but when you’re in the middle of adolescence it can make a difference: I was and am a person who likes to have fun and the best for a fourteen year old from Catania, in this sense, were the afternoons for young people organized in various nightclubs in Catania, where guys like me could come together to share the same interests. Already at that time Claudio was aware of how the club could be used to put his ideas to fruition, so he began working as a PR, beginning his journey into the world of nightclubs. But the organization of a few afternoons in the beginning and later evenings, as we grew older, he could no longer halt the strong desire to do things, as has always characterized the life of Claudio. In fact, despite having other activities to follow, he was able to continue to cultivate a passion for clubs and when he was presented with the opportunity, thanks to his resoluteness and determination, he didn’t let it escape and he took up an already well-known club. He was able to give free rein to his way of clubbing, that is interacting with people, choosing, selecting, guiding everything you need to operate a club. Of course, I, like others of his closest friends, have remained close even in this experience. I can testify that, thanks to his ideas, the venue had an attendance from every part of Sicily. But a club, as positive as it may be, is subject to certain laws that tend to limit the freedom of action of the operator. The focus of Claudio was so moved towards something more profound and introspective, like painting, and he began to put parts of himself on canvas. To express how happy I am with this “new” artist-friend, I want to mention this thought: When a photographer-reporter returns from a mission in a country at war, he brings back hundreds of photos and many stories. Of all this vast amount of photos only a few dozen are printed, four or five sold to the press and the rest will end up in some box. Then time passes, more missions, more photos and other anecdotes that replace the previous ones, are put in the drawers along with the memory. The amount of sleeping good stories is endless. Here, I think that the works of Claudio will never sleep.
“The extraordinary lies in the path of the towns people.” Paulo Coelho – from “The Pilgrimage” Only through art and knowledge, you can earn overtime what is in each of us. It is the moment when you decide to live your life and not simply to exist. The goal, the path, the path of life represent the elements of the process of spiritual evolution of the artist that made him express himself in art. Claudio, artist and wonderful friend, allows us to read his interpretation of reality and of the movements of his soul with which it interacts with reality. The extraordinary lives in the art of expressing energy, feeling, soul and poetry in color, canvas, in the stroke. The colorful soul of a being that it is to be a painting. I do not want to restrict and stigmatize in terms what art frees, I leave to the readers of this book the pleasure, the honor for the friends, to participate in the life and art of letting themselves be pervaded by what Claudio is able to convey, succeeding so as to satisfy hunger through the senses of our soul.
The art of Claudio Arezzo sprang from an intimate need to immerse himself in a dimension where all those feelings born from humans’ earliest beginnings reside. He sings love with his flashes of color. He speaks the truth, often hidden, or worse yet, canceled by those who love to immerse themselves behind a dark mask that disturbs the mind of those who instead want to soar in the sky of clarity. The artist expresses himself in his art, in full respect of nature and all living beings. His free and pristine spirit is looking for an inner equilibrium, and therefore longs for transcendence. He is able to let go without any sort of inhibitions, he is looking for ideal spaces capable of holding all those feelings that drag him into a sort of artistic ecstasy, which isolate him from the surrounding reality to give birth to works created with the sole support of strong emotions experienced inwardly in favor of an expression, often unplanned and spontaneous. The artist remembers all those human experiences and morals where feelings can predominate over the actions of man and he makes his own to consecrate them on canvas. The art of Claudio Arezzo, is a creature that is born and grows with its creator, who, if he gives life to his works, draws from them in knowledge and inner growth. It is a kind of artistic and intellectual exchange at the same time. It is love, passion, it is that integrity to find oneself in a world equal for all where the artist manages to find his sensitive soul and in this a spiritual and artistic universe where to dive and discover all those friendly forces him to dismiss towards absolute freedom. In his works there are prominent figures, with their own human weaknesses, with their own mistakes, with their defeats, but with their victories at the same time, since the error for the artist is not a means of stasis, but a departure for a form of liberating growth.
Alba Maria Massimino, regional president of the International Center of Contemporary Artists
“According to the American contemporary aesthetic trends, namely the Chicago School, represented by Wallheim and Dickie, art is an “Intersection of intentions”, which is the meeting place between the author and the user. Thanks to art, an asemantic communication code, the evolution of humanity proceeds in a dimension as imaginative as it is real. In the works of Claudio Arezzo di Trifiletti just these two dimensions coexist: the individual imagination becomes reality in social work. The colors, the softness of the figurative combinations, the formalization of the colors are all giving our productions an aesthetic value that is to exist, first and foremost, rather than necessarily contemplated or understood. The world of artistic expression is a mixture of current trends and therefore often requires a suspension of final and precise judgment. In the case of the works of this author, a promising young Sicilian, the Mediterranean and European derivations are obvious and at the same time confused. It is a painting of a sun, clear and bright that often hides an unspoken background and deliberately concealed. For these reasons, perhaps the most productive action that every visitor to the works of Arezzo di Trifiletti should adopt is the one proposed by Karl Raimund Popper: wonder. According to the great contemporary philosopher and epistemologist, who died in 1995, there can be no form of science without a preventive attitude of amazement. It is wonder that drives the interest of men, namely the cognitive and emotional disposition that each individual is capable of feeling towards something or situation. The desire to discover what you know apparently stems from a provision of the mind: the desire to conceal the obvious to investigate the new. Arezzo di Trifiletti simply embodies, and all his artwork is an expression of this attitude, causing his admirers to enjoy these discoveries. It is in fact an invitation to the constant search for new colored ideas, in which it is possible to find a piece of us, albeit confused and obscured by the relentless assurance of the monotony of daily life.”
Alessandro Bertirotti, anthropologist of the mind Amanda J. Succi, PR
There are many articles on the artistic events that have seen Claudio as a protagonist. The following are the most significant:
Article published in La Sicilia on 28 July 2006, written by Assia La Rosa
On July 29th, between the walls of the fascinating ancient Norman castle of Aci Castello, the exhibition of the painter Claudio Arezzo di Trifiletti from Catania will be inaugurated. The paintings on display are only a taste of the vast collection that the artist “keeps” in his “house-museum under Etna” (as he calls it ), but they suffice to bring out the creativity and the remarkable inner strength that Claudio has and that he seeks to express and convey to others through his works. “Painted Smiles. Behind an apparent hypocrisy lurks a denied thought” … it is the main theme of the paintings that up to August 27 will be hosted at the castle. The “painted smiles” cover pre-existing paintings by the same author, they try to hide images (and therefore feelings, thoughts, emotions) with loads of anguish, whilst maintaining a certain ambiguity: the faces portray smiles, but it is a facade that actually conceals a set of feelings that they are trying to suppress. Claudio, after the success of last year with the “Reverse path: Use and reuse of materials,” he proposes a visual and aural journey, seamlessly integrated with one of the most beautiful sceneries of eastern Sicily: incense, candles and a light background music to accompany visitors through the spaces of the castle housing the paintings. “I’m not very good with words, so I paint” … these are the words spoken by Claudio during the presentation of the exhibition, which was attended by the mayor of Acicastello Silvia Raimondo, the commissioner Alessandro Consoli, the art critic Iolanda Scelfo, director of the National Federation of UNESCO Clubs and Centers and Italian journalists. A large number of people intervened: art experts, enthusiasts, people who are just curious … all heavily involved and inevitably charmed by the little mystic environment that arose. The description that the artist made of himself and of his works was accompanied by a lively discussion about the event and the context in which it took place. The mayor and the commissioner could not help but point out how the show represents, an opportunity of visibility for the artist, as well as an enhancement of the splendid castle and the municipal territory it occupies. In the words of Silvia Raimondo, the paintings represent a glimpse of life among the dark walls of the castle, they energize, give color and movement to the static and ancient structure in which they suceed in harmonizing. In their words, in addition, the exhibition represents an interesting example of how young talent, especially in Sicily, should be encouraged, assisted, promoted. Iolanda Scelfo also welcomed the use of the castle for exhibitions as a communication tool in the hands of young people: in her words, art is culture and therefore an instrument of peace that, put in the hands of young people, to whom the future of our society is entrusted, can contribute to the dissemination of the ideals of peace, becoming a means of struggle against wars and injustices. The artist, for his part, stressed the importance for young people, to be determined and consistent in trying to achieve their dreams and work hard to enhance and bring out their skills. Claudio is particularly close to Sicily, he believes that every resource should be helped to valorize, to avoid being forced to leave the island in search of a better territory for expression. In his words: “Mount Etna gives us a remarkable energy that only we, who live on its slopes, possess. We must strive to bring out our inner wealth, to bring out the soul of Etna that is within us.”
Article published in La Sicilia on 14 April 2006, written by Assia La Rosa
A house to host creativity
A roof has been found for Claudio Arezzo di Trifiletti’s cultural project. After his experience in the East, the artist has returned to his homeland to give shape to an old project. A visual journey to live day by day. Experimenting with new techniques through the recycling and reuse of materials. Discovering another piece of contemporary art, fruit of a young talent. Hidden in the streets of our city. Because artists are often eclipsed in beauty, one that is reflected, then, instinctively, cast in their works: you have to find them, where they imprison their dreams. There, where they fight with the suggestions offered to them by their lives. The most intimate. Breathing emotions and feelings. Feeding on expressiveness and passion that mixes the colors, and with them come to life through the forms of those objects (which are not simple objects). They are the mirror of the soul and are reflected in the environment that surrounds the existence of a free spirit. Just like what Claudio Arezzo di Trifiletti, born in 1975, a man who has not only made art his work, but his whole existence. “Since I was little I have always believed in the infinite capacity attributable to men who want to discover, which are carried away by the desire to learn and grow within.” In these few words he summed up the mood of the person who has set up a real “house-museum under Etna”, where he lives his creativity. Where he can find the inspiration to create his paintings and sculptures. He began, many years ago, organizing events at clubs of the local nightlife (as a PR), he then moved to the East in search of another dimension, deciding to return to the island full of energy. Now he can boast the participation in the international exhibition of visual arts in Paris. One that sees creativity made in Sicily is amazed for its uncontamination. For those thoughts are trapped in the plots of a canvas, with a universal language that you are reading. And the journey sets off with the project that began in 2003 and today has twelve rooms and a roof inside which combines contemporary environments. In Via Leonardo da Vinci there’s a studio-house lit by candles, where the cushions smell of incense and the walls are penetrated by the ivy climbing on the furniture. Giving to wood, glass and metal, a pinch of that memory that comes from nature . “The idea stemmed – explains Claudio – from the need to create a visual journey to live every day and remember who we are, why we are here. A set of colors tightly guard the secrets of the house. The cult is that of water and crystal: the fundamental elements to be accompanied by melodies that encapsulate the spirit of meditative sharing. Lonely but not too much, when I started, I decided to experiment with new ways forward, including through the recycling and reuse of material.” Right in the metropolitan center in the family home that was closed for many years, there is now an old typewriter on an ethnic tapestry: primitive flavors that turn a severed torso into a lamp and an old hat as furnishings inside a glass case. Nothing is left to chance: the antique backdrop to the modernity of a cuckoo clock that reveals its mechanics and mixes the style dictated by the author’s paintings, which create an infinite perspective. He does not want to chase success, but looking through the eyes of a child, he was always carried away by a river of emotions. Those that give life to everything around us. And that can speak only to those who know how to listen.
Article published in Sicilia Tempo in 2006 by Pino Schifano
Article published in Sicilia Tempo in October 2006 by Mario Grispo
Meeting with Claudio. He lets us go into the House-Museum on Mount Etna, in Viale Leonardo da Vinci 5, where Claudio Arezzo di Trifiletti “reigns”, and a scent of incense strikes us: a secular church, where countless icons radiate light and processions of color look to wide-eyed and aching crucifixes. Anguish, awe, pain and bustle of life, swirl of colors that blind or daze. Claudio, a young priest with an imposing figure in this temple so varied, anticipates the restrained question and makes it immediately clear: incense is an attraction for the Angels and the candles burn what’s bad in the air, and they put us in communication with the afterlife. What is the relationship between this impressive and seemingly eccentric assembly of paintings, objects, sculptures, installations, including this home and the aura of spirituality that you can breathe in it? My belief in art is based on the certainty that it brings me closer to God. Today we live without recognizing the cause of our pain, without being able to feel the pain that confirms the delight of our sensitive being. Sometimes I happen to go out on the terrace, light incense and make the sky my temple, in silence. Then I turn to God, so that in his plans I can become an instrument of peace, a bringer of joy in the universe. And art, paintings, this so overwhelming activity? I felt the need to express myself as a child. Growing up I always felt the need to carry out an activity that allowed me to stay in close contact with people. For this reason I opened a nightclub, to create a kind of oasis where people could find themselves. But the discovery of another’s misery has inspired me to take a trip to India where I embarked on this spiritual journey that led me to paint, find, through painting and my work, the reason of my life. Palaces, mansions, duchies, riches, do not only arise from securities. Many times these are far outweighed by the beauty that is to create the means to do good for all those who enjoy it.
Article published in La Sicilia on 8 April 2007, written by Assia La Rosa
Relationship with the Istitutions
The first major solo exhibition “Reverse path: use and reuse of material” by the artist from Catania was held at the Norman castle of Aci Castello, in July 2005. Silvia Raimondo was then Mayor of Acicastello and believed in Claudio’s project from the beginning, allowing him to use the prestigious location. Since then, the Mayor of Acicastello follows with affection the artistic career of the young artist from Catania. She received in 2006 “Painted Smiles”, was present at the inauguration of “Imprints” in New York this summer and will host a new exhibition at the Castle. The writer believes it is appropriate to quote the words of the Mayor Silvia Raimondo: “To Claudio Arezzo di Trifiletti: between reality and fantasy an artist who also knows of the sky. At the end of July 2006, I welcomed your creatures, those apparent colored smiles painted on the faces of so many children in this wonderful world, in the Norman castle, a symbol of the area which I have the honor to govern. That castle so seemingly static, cold, motionless, almost stationary in time, but that is brushed by life, by an immense sea and by a country teeming with consistency and contradiction, stillness and frenetic movement, life and death, reality and legend, filled with color contrasting with the light-dark gray lava. The first feeling that comes over me when I reach the exhibition halls and stop to admire your creatures is to feel and see so much life: the old castle is full of life. I found in your brushstrokes everyday men, women and children with apparent smiles that at least for once in their lives were printed on the lips and have warped their true faces. It is our wonderful world in which we find ourselves in the diversity of moods, skin color, religious creed, age and social status. But in your works I could not find a divided humanity, far or in constant and internal struggle or clash, but the whole collection together, almost mixed in your deep desire to see a united, eternal synchronization. But at the same time it could also lift me from the same cruel reality to soar to an intense spirituality that I believe is represented by you, artist and man. Well, that Norman castle, once a stronghold defense tool of war, is today a monument-messenger of peace. For thirty days it became a messenger of life, our very life of smiles and tears, gray, color, joy and emotion of the kiss given to your first love gazing, overlooking the sea from the terrace of the highest tower, fear and despair to hear from the same place and in front of the sea itself, gunshots and sirens that still pierce the heart, and then to hope for peace and brotherhood and so many reminders of the sky. I wish for you, dear Claudio, to be able to know your creatures so you can transfer everything you have inside through them to a lot of people in distant lands: the language of your art and your message will come in the hearts of many, and of this I am sure.”
To explain the project, the writer has decided to leave the floor to the artist through an interview.
What is your project?
“The streets of Manhattan are filled with white linens and oily substances that will allow the footprints of passers-by to leave a mark. It will not be just a stain on the sheet, but the indelible mark of a soul. There will be the marked step of the upset man who just had an argument with his boss, the ethereal step of a girl in love. The mud of a building yard will mix with the wax of a clean apartment. After thousands of people have walked on the canvases, I will bring them to my house and I will meditate on them. I will work the canvas and put them on a trestle. The work will then be ready to be exhibited in my show.”
What is the message you want to share with the people of New York?
We are all equal, we all have a soul. We have to look beyond differences.
When are you leaving for New York? What will you do once you get there?
The second week of February I will leave for New York. I’ve never been to New York, and still do not know where I’m going to sleep, where my home will be, where I will paint my paintings. What will the people of New York be like? So many questions still do not have an answer. But it’s all written. The first thing I will do will be to go and buy the canvases, the colors. And then go down the street, the morning gather the prints of passers-by and their energies and in the evening, back at home, looking at them and thinking about them, I will begin to draw on them.
You don’t speak English, how do you think you will communicate with those around you?
I won’t speak with my mouth but with my heart, no sounds only looks.
It is a great project, and the ability to exhibit at the Empire State Building is a great springboard for your future. What do you hope there will be after New York?
I could make the video of my travels in the East, I could do .. I could. I do not know, I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. In less than a month I’ll be in the Big Apple and I could not imagine it until a short time ago. I’m focusing on the present. I work continuously to be something, the more I am and the less I feel it.
“A body in motion contains life, the testimony is obtained seeing the traces of its movements, his footprints.”
To Claudio Arezzo di Trifiletti, an artist between reality and fantasy who also knows of the sky. At the end of July 2006, I welcomed your creatures, those apparent colored smiles painted on the faces of so many children in this wonderful world, the Norman castle, a symbol of the area which I have the honor to govern. That castle so seemingly static, cold, motionless, almost stationary in time, but that is brushed by life, by an immense sea and from a country teeming with consistency and contradiction, stillness and frenetic movement, life and death, reality and legend, was filled with color contrasting with the light gray-dark lava. The first feeling that comes over me when reaching the exhibition halls and stopping to admire your creatures is to hear and see so much life: the old castle was awakened full of life. I found in your brushstrokes everyday men, women and children with apparent smiles that at least for once in their lives were printed on their lips and have warped their true faces. It is our wonderful world in which we find ourselves in the diversity of moods, skin color, religious creed, age and social status. But in your works I coan not find a divided humanity, far or in constant and internal struggle or clash, but the whole collection together, almost mixed in your deep desire to see a united, eternal synchronization. But at the same time it could also lift me from the same cruel reality to soar to an intense spirituality that I believe is embodied by in you, artist and man.Well, that Norman castle, once a stronghold defense tool of war, is today the monument-messenger of peace. For thirty days it became a messenger of life, our very lives of smiles and tears, gray, color, joy and emotion of the kiss given to your first love gazing and overlooking the sea from the terrace of the highest tower, fear and despair to hear from the same place and in front of the sea itself, gunshots and sirens that still pierce the heart, and then to hope, peace and brotherhood and so much that reminds us of the sky. I wish for you, dear Claudio, to be able to know your creatures so you can transfer everything you have inside through them to a lot of people in distant lands: the language of your art and your message will come into the hearts of many, and of this I am certain.
Silvia Raimondo, Mayor of Acicastello (CT)
The lights of the world are in crisis. “Human dignity” seems to have become Martian. The abysmal misery in which this world seems to bask is, however, an apparent matter. There are invisible people who sometimes become dramatically evident. They are artists, just those who with their work carry out our possible thoughts. Claudio is loved by humanity, above all for the fact that he has courage. Having courage means to possess, as the Latins teach us, “heart.” His paintings, like the colors of his invisibility, are a witness. Now, in New York, in the “universal space” where human desolation has dealt a severe blow, Claudio reminds us that only our footprints, those of all, can really become – once and for all and in the name of those that we canceled – the source of our future. The footprints of Claudio are a colorful horizon for our hope.”
Alessandro Bertirotti, Anthropologist of the Mind, Università degli Studi di Firenze
Seemingly free of any conditioning, Claudio Arezzo di Trifiletti simply chose to be. He listens to every facial expression, watches every noise that penetrates the silence, tastes every sound in life, touches the impercievable that is hidden in the soul. Eastern sensibility lives in a thirst for Western success. An explosive mixture, as hot as the pathos that runs through his veins. We live art every day, we can create it, recreate it and admire it … but following time, we forget to even look at it. The energy that surrounds him, the thoughts crowding his mind, the curiosity that feeds his search for answers, the profound certainty of faith, the pleasure of the senses, the pain of deprivation and human impotence, everything smells like the color used to paint, substances which he uses for his installations. Everything about him is limitless, you can not see where the artist begins and the man ends. Perhaps it is due to his art being beyond human feeling. Looking at the faces in his paintings, one perceives the unity of being, the will to search and the yearning to know. Everything that he touches becomes art…or it is simply that he has kept the amazement and wonder towards life, and, unlike many, the ability to remind us that we can breathe emotions. “What is pure art according to the modern conception? It is the creation of a magic suggestive that welcomes both the object and the subject, the outside world to the artist and the artist in his subjectivity. ” Referring to the words of Baudelaire, the subject is Claudio Arezzo di Trifiletti, a charismatic person who is full of energy, and the object of his paintings is life, in all its aspects. In its intense colors and in its original installations you can read his sorrow, his joy, his questions and his answers, his faith and his being as a man. The magic is immediately perceived by those who benefit from his work. To date, at only 31 years old, the artist has had fourteen exhibitions in Catania in two years, including participation in the III Salon International d’Art Figurativ of Paris, in 2004, and a sala exhibit at the Bramante-Rome Biennale in 2006. Full of enthusiasm and passion, Claudio Arezzo di Trifiletti prepares to leave for the States where it can open a new opportunity for success, this time overseas. “You seek the most beautiful piece of art in New York? It is in front of you.” This sentence is written in graffiti on Wooster Street in the Soho, New York art scene. Claudio Arezzo di Trifiletti came upon this. But the young artist from Catania has never gone to New York. In February, his eyes, always alert and radiant curiosity, for the first time they will see the Empire State Building. Shortly after his show IMPRINTS “Footprints”, from April ninth to April twenty-second, will be right there, at 350 Fifth Avenue, Suite D 3600, on the premises of “Sicily”, an initiative of the Sicilian Region aimed at enhancing our culture and entrepreneurship in world. Having been there or not, does not matter. What is the first image that comes to mind when you think of New York City? Surely the melting pot of races that populate the streets of the Big Apple. There, the multi-ethnicity has always been the characteristic of the people who live there. A thousand faces and a thousand breeds that are mixed to form a play of color. They are bodies that move, but also souls who think…they feel emotions, which bring with them energy. No, we speak not of of transcendental speeches, but real life. The artist’s project is to immerse oneself in the metropolis, absorb these energies and turn them into art. How does one do it? Once again this being, the volcanic Catania, is ready to surprise his audience overseas as well. “The streets of Manhattan are filled with white linen and oily substances that will allow fingerprints of passers-by to leave their mark.” the energy from Claudio Arezzo di Trifiletti can be read in the tone of his voice, “You’ll not only leave a stain on the sheet, but the indelible mark of a soul. There will be the print of a nervous man who just had a discussion with his boss, the mark of the ethereal girl in love. The mud of a yard will mix with the wax from a clean apartment. “One seems to almost hear the inaudible noise of the steps that are lost among the myriad sounds of the busy city. One’s curiosity grows and the artist continues to speak … “After thousands of people have walked on the sheets, I bring them to my house and meditate on it. I will work the fabric and mount it on a frame. The work will be so ready to be exhibited in my show.” What is the message you want to share with the people of New York? “We are all equal; we all have a soul. We must go beyond the differences.” What are your plans for the future? “I could make a video of my travels in the East, I could do it… I could. I do not know, do not know what will happen tomorrow. In less than a month I’ll be in the Big Apple and I could not imagine it until a short time ago. I look at this. Work continuously to be something, the more I am, the less I feel it. “In the words of Thomas Mann, “An artist, deep down, is always an adventurer.” And surely Claudio Arezzo di Trifiletti has the talent of those who have the opportunity to leave an indelible mark of his “adventures.”
Alessandra Famoso, PR
In metropolitan New York, the atmosphere between art and innovation takes shape and acquires its dimension. Claudio Arezzo di Trifiletti with his personal style goes beyond the borders of Europe, going over the ocean, to live an artistic moment characterized by “new ideas” such as those that characterize a multi-ethnic and polymorphic city like the “Big Apple”. This trip is aimed at the realization of a project that is filled with artistic and human content at the same time. And so it is that the artist deploys his intent, immersing himself in a world of a thousand faces to capture a deeper spirit. The event which concerns us differs from previous exhibitions held in Italy. Claudio Arezzo di Trifiletti, as a matter of fact, in the course of his New York experience will create works that will be the result not only of his own way of seeing and feeling the world and people around him. The artist will donate, through his work, an image only to those who populate the city, which will appear within it, in their humanity divorced from any trait such as religion or social barriers. It is not clearly physically delineated by the contours of an image, but it is the representation of the energy that each of us emanates. Art, therefore, acts as a trade-union among the many ethnic groups within the city, a means by which the material distinctions fade to dissolve into the creative manifestation of the artist. And to give life to all this, the architect of creative design, mixes among the people, and puts out sheets sprinkled with the most diverse mixtures, for the big city, and waits for the miracle to be done. The souls of the city, they pervade the fabric, forming a single whole with it, merging with each other. A part of the work is now complete, but lacks the touch of the artist. The sheets that covered the first streets of New York, are then framed, so that the painter can give a face to those footprints, a magical expression of the energy given by all of the people who inhabit the city.
The author of the project.
There is no being that does not leave a trace, and it is the evidence of his coming to this world. Infinite are the traditions, philosophies, religions, customs, attempting to divide the thought of humans on this earth. Through this project the equality of all present is demonstrated. Those who trample on the canvas represent the earth on which they walk, the “World”. In a society of contrasting colors and shapes that give rise to stories and depictions of a contemporary reality that lives through testimonies of being.
The answers that you carry in your heart are the ones that carry the good of all. The life that you interpreted would be a good thing if it were seen as a fairy tale. The game of fairy tales, dreams and reality overlap, gradients with undefined boundaries, white and black combine to mix, to mix us, whose appearance seems to be defined. The appearance does not exist, everything is what it is, and what the mind believes it to be, and therefore what is apparent and reality, reality and appearance where the boundary that defines the one or the other. The mind creates the illusion, dissolving the illusion means to free your mind, freeing your mind shows what it is. Enjoying what it is, not what it could be, or what you want it to be, creates a mental void that becomes a premise for departure and a premise for arrival, there is no longer a limit or border. The mind is free, you’re free, your wings are spread, there is no separation between you and the cosmos, you are the cosmos.
In a metropolis only a few really live, all the others survive. Imagine New York, where in the traffic jams of human indifference, the heart and the mind travel between subway stops. This conglomeration of chaos, however, has a soul. To split. And to be rewritten in another language. Not that alienating detachment that distinguishes men closed in coats, boys deafened by the music from earphones and women embraced only to their own handbag. And in this expanse of sand that hides the treasure of the multishaped spirit, there is someone who wants to dig, drill the casing of this era in which we are confined, find the water that nourishes the soul and awakens us from torpor. Appearances crumbling so slowly here that you can touch the truth. Maybe just through the feet, in contrast with the more usual automation that brings us to reach our arms out, put them forward and poke our fingers between the things of life. In the first case it is easier to maintain control, to not lose your balance, scratch and then portray the gesture, grasp and then let go, cling, and try not to fall. With your feet instead it is not. With your feet you transfer energy in the direction you want, you can walk, hop, or simply do pirouettes, but not bluff. In short, you can reveal yourself. Or rather, unveil. This is the meaning of “Imprints”: lend an ear and listen in silence to what people have to tell you through their bodies, starting from the aesthetic and formal expression, but going beyond it. So then irreconcilable identities of the same person jump out, or maybe the same emotions of an entire people, and at the same time, the underground culture, the wounds of history, the dignity of a district, the sounds of a pain. The island semantics of freedom and truth will stand by this barren land. It will then be framed for work and finally be shown. And only those who use love and creativity as a tool, as well as depth and its alphabet, can become their channel. Their interpreter. This is what an artist is. This is Claudio Arezzo di Trifiletti: one who knows how to tell a story that must still be invented.
Assia La Rosa
SUNDAY 04 FEBRUARY 2007 GIORNALE DI SICILIA – PAG.34 “My art for Peace”.
“Any person who walks this world has a responsibility and with it something in common with the others: the Soul.” With his creative manifestation Claudio Arezzo di Trifiletti, an artist from Catania, will leave in April for the “Big Apple”, “Imprints”, painting exhibition held in the spaces of Casa Sicilia, a reference point for the Sicilians of America at the Empire State Building in New York. “I thought of a project that will serve not only to promote my art , but above all an idea of Peace he explains – when we walk we leave footprints, I will spread the sheets on the sidewalk for about five hours, oiling them with various mixtures and allow people to trample on these sheets and then explain to them my art project. It is a project that unites people of any ethnicity, all substances both material and energetic, because every body radiates energy, negative and positive that are both part of this universe and both must exist. “The prints that will overlap one over the other and will create the image that the artist “looking through the eyes of a child” will make it visible to others: “Every day I will prepare the canvas and create a work, my intent is to finish it the next day, and at the end there will be about forty. “His creative universe, including sculptures and paintings is the “House-Museum Under Etna” because Mt. Etna is one of our great allies,” he points out. Art is a revelation of his inner world. Myth of the East and the influence on his painting technique starts from the shadows and the use and reuse of the materials. “All life contains : saliva, sand from Mt. Etna, the painted furniture sanded for restoration. On the canvas, the body follows the movements of the mind, creating many spots, then I see the lines that begin to take shape and to make others perceive what my eyes see. I trace them with black, they seem childish drawings but I make them childish to show them toall. Inside there is a symbolism that is not studied, a project created from my thoughts.”
We are passing through! On this earth, in this life, we are passing through! We are helpless and powerless humans, managed by a destiny that makes us love, rejoyce, but life obliges us to an indetermined term. We try, for better or for worse, to leave a trace of our presence on this planet. An imprint of our existence that encompasses the energy of our soul. We are souls moving about the world by creating life and art. Claudio Arezzo di Trifiletti gives us a moment of life. A gash in the time frame that blocks time and space to record the passage of the earth in our souls. The footprints of life that pass. The footprints of humans, such as signs, allow us to read and decode our lives, our presence on earth. It is an immortal work. A symbolic elaboration of the entire human existence traced in its infinite path. Those who knows the joy of life and the abyss of death have an awareness of how a simple fingerprint, can be important. Those who perceive the brevity of a lifetime, understands the immensity of a moment. Still, Claudio positively tells us what gift God has given us, by once again putting the world on a large canvas, once again making our lives art.
I think: if I have been able to achieve all this that, considering my age, is always a small step, I owe to all the Souls, who have thought of me, embraced me, taken care of me, loved me, and sometimes even hated me. When a sister, a brother meets me (today) and I tell the story, the news (or it has already arrived), they all are happy, and manifest joy, pleasure for me. They pay me so many compliments, they ask me, “but how did you do it? You’re really great”, and in my heart, just as full of joy, I feel that I am this, and I owe it to all those who, even for a moment, have thought of me, because in that moment, I felt their approval, God’s ok, God, who lives in all of us. A match is a match, but when there are several matches the flame grows, and it does not matter if time finishes them up, but the heat is increased, the flame is compact, and then we are not matches, our Soul does not turn off, even if it leaves the body naturally over time. I write as if I were talking, relaxed with friends, ah that wealth, to have it, and it is not real, (what many think), that friends are only a few, there are friends, friendship exists, it is important not to abuse it, and overcome problems, like fine wine exceeds its years in a barrel, new wine may be good, but getting drunk on old wine, is another story. I feel happy, even if I have known happiness, a greater one, perhaps linked to True Peace, prayer, not for creed, but for pleasure. Maybe I should write the latest news of the project, but I’m sure that with so much energy in play, there will be a lot of news. I speak of an exhibition in New York, but believe me the show will be the last sip of the project, which I hope will still teach me a lot, because I feel that I still have a lifetime to learn. At night lying on my bed, despite the fatigue, contrasts with euphoria, thought drives me, it scares me, because fear, they all say, is something only fools don’t know, indeed I say, that those who are afraid are careful not to lose the most precious thing given to them, and that is Life. Excuse me, lately I often have so many things to say that I do not have time to complete one, others are tied to an ocean of things that crowd my mind, but all is calm and clear. I was saying, why is there fear for this exhibition, as several call it. The exhibition should have been a cakewalk, I put up my works, in the end I could read the mental math and the meaning of that provision, Vernissage, and then everything else, until closing (and thus finish). I was good because I did the show in New York, heck, at the Empire State Building, what an opportunity. But in reality, I felt a greater desire, and believe me, the stimulus of New York, the Big Apple, how much Art, which divided the dead bodies, and made installations, some with iron balls, or cranes and pierced the roofs of houses, while charging a fortune, and I could go on to the most desperate cases of need for expression, emotion, communication. How could I reach an exhibition, hundreds, thousands, millions, of exhibitions inaugurated, when the space deserves the utmost of my being, the wind with all its containers would ask of me a mission, offering only an ally, Divine Providence. To anyone it may sound easy, to show up in the center of their city, roll out sheets, and ensure that those sheets leave an impression in the minds of the people, who are there for everyone, as the world is for everyone, equality for all present. Anyone can walk on them, regardless of religion, social status, if they are a politician, an animal, everything is moving, which is why Liveliness contains Life and keeps the flame of Essence. In the world, populations still collide with other populations, deceived by their own aggregation, born from an apparent distinction. But it is possible that in 2007 we got so far. We manipulated nuclear power to exterminate our brothers, but what is the criteria, you still call people to war, to fight against the children of another mother, and what is the criteria, that still today lets us think that the distance from the war does not make us responsible, and at the same time victims. By what criteria, is it believed that millions of people die in excruciating pain, and they can leave the body so indifferently, without leaving a huge exhalation of suffering, which will be tasted by the entire planet in a few hours. Think of the smoke, carried by the wind, the smoke rises into the sky, but suffering does not, the sky has its barriers, even though the Holy Father regrets it, because he sees his children who are killing, and tries to shout to them, in the hearts deafened by hatred, perhaps the result of the same hatred in return. And so, I could not avoid taking into consideration that it was time to put myself to the test again, in a land where you are a number, I will stretch these white sheets, good or bad, these are the rules, an angel holds out his hand, a demon trips you, and these entities live both in the ethereal, but also in the flesh, and they chose the team they belong to. With these sheets, I hope that my art, which outlines the energies imprinted, which stands out from the shadows contrasting light can create, in the name of humanity, in the name of Peace, a story that may serve, to give inspiration to other stories, in which the world is fortunately rich, but unfortunately, it is hard to live for only a few lines.