Finalist of the YICCA Prize 2020-2021, with his work Magia, Claudio Sapienza has been invited to participate in the XIII Florence Biennale in the splendid setting of the Fortezza da Basso from 23rd to 31st October 2021. In a network with the main Biennales of the world, the Florence Biennale is one of the major exhibitions of contemporary art. Visited by a huge worldwide audience, it is considered a showcase of excellence for international artistic production, engaging artists and designers from many countries.
The event will involve the participant artists and the visitors in a rich program that includes, in addition to the main exhibition, side events such as conferences, performances, workshops, and educational initiatives, focusing on the theme “Eternal Feminine | Eternal Change. Concepts of Femininity in Contemporary Art and Design.” It also provides for the award of Special Prizes to the participants and for Career Awards for Art and Design to people and/or organizations that have shone for artistic merit and/or their contribution to culture.
«The theme of this Florence Biennale edition – “Eternal Feminine. Eternal Change” – led me to a deep reflection, in search of an understanding of the “feminine” as a rich and complex universe whose beauty can be grasped thanks to respect and caring consideration. I have therefore devoted a lot of energy to the development of some works – Segreto and Il mare di Penelope – dedicated to it, to be exhibited alongside others – Canto della notte and Magia – though previously conceived by following other inspiration. » (Claudio Sapienza)
Segreto is an assemblage whose structure, in its whole, refers to what has now been taken as a symbol of “feminine”. The different elements, which make up the work with their material, chromatic and symbolic values – the mirror, the sieve, the bobbin lace, the black veil, the copper, the butterfly, the floral elements, the volcanic sand –, evoke the beauty, the charm, the seduction, the strength and generativity that characterize the female identity in its constant change. A personal gaze that wants to grasp its intimate and universal essence.
The artwork Il mare di Penelope is part of my in-progress project, inspired by the Odyssey as a metaphor for the existential journey of the Human Being. It reflects the Cosmo-artistic vision of Antonio Mercurio, which is, in particular, well expressed in his essay “Ipotesi su Ulisse.” » (Claudio Sapienza)
He pays homage to Penelope and Ulysses, emblematic figures respectively of the feminine and the masculine universes, through a union of languages that combine painting, graphic sign and assembly of matter: the twine, stretched as in a loom, recalls Penelope who was waiting and weaving – She was weaving, unstitching, and then weaving again... – So as not to fall into the trap set by her Suitors; the twine holds a piece of wood down and, with it, outlines the design of a boat, referring to Ulysses’ journey toward Ithaca, toward his woman.
A further work – La Tela di Penelope – will be projected on screen, as a special mention by «Teelent», the digital platform of contemporary art and partner of the XIII Florence Biennale.
This work, also part of an in-progress project, has been realized in collaboration with Silvia Marzia Cacciatore. It is meant to reinterpret, in an artistic way, the events of the Odyssey as a metaphor of the existential journey and of the experience of “the couple.” It also represents a tribute to Ulysses and Penelope, to their emblematic search for Man-Woman fusion.
The work is structured as a wall installation: its upper part displays a “deconstructed” shroud, which is patiently unstitched and torn, by cutting, unravelling and inweaving the weft in jute; its inner part shows a pictorial assembly of matter on a photographic print representing a sailboat in an evocative way; its lower part has a piece of scrap wood which evokes memories of the sea, travels, crossings. The thin ropes, with their knots, tangles and tightness, express an idea of bond both concrete and metaphorical.
The other displayed works declare my study about the relationship with Nature and its primary elements. Being born in a place – Catania –, where the sea and the volcano Etna meaningfully mark the territory and the existence, has perhaps determined my artistic choice and led me to a continuous experimentation of techniques, materials and means of expression: painting, assembling, drawing, and site-specific projects. The signs of Nature become an eloquent universal alphabet suitable for discovering the analogies and the subtle correspondences that bind Man to Nature. Actually, almost always in my works, the natural elements make direct traces, by means of imprints and frottages, otherwise the matter – recycled wood, leaves, branches, volcanic sand, sea sand, etc. – declares itself, by combining the painting and the drawing. » (Claudio Sapienza)
«Claudio does not want “Real, nothing but real”; he does not choose to describe the “touching sentiment” prevailing over intellect. Also, he does not mean the genuineness of his work like “opposite of sophistication” [...] or “lack of ambiguity”: he prefers playing with metaphors, allusions, “inaccuracies”, more than simply illustrating, so as to succeed in evoking, alluding to, and suggesting other dimensions. »
«In regard to my style, by this way, Giuseppina Radice explains my need for movement – always poised between reality and imagination – through subjects – leaves, tree sections, wood, nocturne, mountains, sea, and volcanoes – that assume metaphorical and symbolic values and also integrate human value.
Furthermore, my artistic training is stimulated by suggestions deduced from the philosophical, literary, and musical world. In addition to the devotion for my masters (Land artists, Giuseppe Penone, Piero Guccione, Alberto Burri, Anselm Kiefer, Giulio Paolini, Claudio Parmiggiani, Joseph Cornell), I care about that richness derived from the exchange with the thought of Antonio Mercurio (founder of Sophia Art) and of Cosmo Art, which suggests me possible paths to follow for a personal growing in a universal frame. In my search for the sense of existence and art, in my essay entitled Il sentimento oceanico e il Sé Cosmico nella creazione artistica contemporanea, I also wanted to deepen that primordial feeling defined as “oceanic” by Romain Rolland.
As if I felt the need for overcoming the limits of individuality, among the projects being implemented, I collaborate with my wife Silvia Marzia Cacciatore, with a view to a fusion of intent and visual languages aimed at that unanimity which preludes the systematic growth and a more complete way of understanding the things of Nature and Life. » (Claudio Sapienza)
Claudio Sapienza, already “a matter lover” at the chair of History of Contemporary Art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Catania, is the holder of the chair of Graphic, Pictorial and Scenographic Disciplines in the Secondary School, and a well-experienced teacher in different cities of Italy.
He has a considerable artistic and exhibition activity that has earned him several awards. Winner of the Art Open Space Award (2016) and the competition Il segno (2018), organized by «Artapp» magazine; Finalist at the Gutenberg Award (2020) and at the Marchionni Award (2021); Recently he has received a Special mention by participating in the Teelent Contest at the Florence Biennale and was selected by «Art Market Magazine» for the Gold List – Top Contemporary Artists of Today.
His texts and works have been published in essays, catalogues, and trade magazines: Limitless Nature, Bruxelles Art Vue, 2021; Impronte digitali. Il contatto fisico tra uomo e natura nell’opera di Claudio Sapienza, «Art App» n. 20 and «Art App Plus» <www.artapp.it>, 2018; Il sentimento oceanico e il Sé Cosmico nella creazione artistica contemporanea, Psicoart, Vol. 3, n. 3, 2013, published in collaboration with the Department of Visual Arts of the University of Bologna; Erranti ai tempi dell'usabilità – Primavera 2020 – G. Radice, 2020; Eau de Voilette, Voll. 1 and 2, G. Radice, 2021.