“If Federico II had the Castel Del Monte built right here, there must be a reason“.
With a nice chat Pasquale Gadaleta, this is how he talks to APULIART CONTEMPORARY about his artistic practice of rediscovery and visionary self-consciousness where past and present merge in a suspended time of dialogue with artists of the past, the oriental spirit meets in the Neapolitan graphic, clean and geometric sign.
Do you remember when you started to take an interest in the art world and especially in working as an artist?
When I was a child, I was attracted by the details, for example, drawing shoelaces. I was ten years old when I received the most beautiful gift I could wish for from my mother: a briefcase with oil paints.
I can’t tell you if I work as an artist, but I can tell you that I think it is the most natural thing in the world to draw and work with your hands, for me it is necessary. After all, since I was a child in my father’s bakery I used to work the mass and seal the two ends of the dough to make taralli.
What are the research themes of your painting practice?
Landscape painting en Plein air, the magic that conveys the face of a sacred icon, I also mean icons close to me, contemporary like the so-called “locals”, people I meet in the country and who fascinate me. The musicality of a sketch from life on paper, little head and more instinct, cultivating futility and naivety every now and then is good, I experience a lot, I have to make a lot of mistakes to discover new paths to take, I feel the need to get lost and in the game, I often find the main road.
For example, in my path of research, I often find myself in dialogue with artists who are no longer alive. Despite death, their work is alive and I need it, I may well decide to paint like Picasso or draw like the painters of the Magna Grecia.
What differences do you notice between your beginnings and today?
Before, I was inspired by artists capable of creating immense, striking works. Still today I like that kind of painting, but I’m increasingly looking for the pleasure of painting an orange. Do you know the studies of Vesuvius on very small wooden tablets by the great impressionist Giuseppe De Nittis? Listen to the melody of a painting by Licini, see Pascali’s drawings, understand and recognize his game. This interests me today.
What are the suggestions and visions that you bring back in your painting from the art of the past?
I love everything that is past, I often think I have a sensitivity more similar to that of the archaeologist than to that of the “contemporary artist”. I like the cracking of Pompeian painting, I like the graphic, fresh and light sign of the silhouettes of vascular painting, I am fascinated by the so-called indigenous-geometric, peuceta and dauna ceramics. I like the most beautiful rose I have ever met, that of the vases and magical terracotta figurines of Canosa di Puglia.
Your artistic training is strictly Milanese, then you decide to return to Ruvo, your city of origin. What led you to make this choice? And what did you find and not in Puglia?
I chose Milan, the great metropolis, I studied in Brera, then love ended. At home, I’m rehabilitating myself physically, visually, and poetically. I found immense and perfumed skies. And then, if Frederick II had the Castel Del Monte built right here, there must be a reason.
Besides being a young artist, you’re also a young professor. What does it mean to you, to educate in art? And how does teaching contribute to your artistic practice?
I’ve been teaching sculptural plastic disciplines for three years at the Bitonto Art School. I use an approach that privileges the expressive freedom of the student precisely because it stimulates and interests, determining a natural concentration and attention.
The sculpture is an expressive language that requires technical rigor and mental exercise, it is not only reducible to a technical act, but it is also above all a form of knowledge of reality, of perception of the things that make up the world and of understanding their mutual relations.
In your painting, there are often self-portraits that alternate landscapes and still lifes. What does the ability to self-portrait mean to you? What does it represent? A form of self-consciousness or cathartic liberation from oneself?
A self-portrait is a form of recognition. I realize it spontaneously, especially when I perceive the end of a research phase or when I feel lost. Then one must also consider that I am a beautiful model available to myself, also because I am always alone when I paint.
There are some of your works like “Pantano”, which transport you into a dreamlike and metaphysical dimension. What are the influences of these paintings?
I paint the Mire because when I took possession of the space that houses my Atelier, I was immediately struck by the view it offered. The Mire is an almost metaphysical subject, it represents for me the “Ideal City” like the one preserved inside the Ducal Palace of Urbino. It is alive, every day the color of the vineyard changes, lizard green in spring, and then completely undressed in the middle of winter when the shrubs turn into small crucifixes connected to each other. I like it especially when it rains, it reminds me of the floating landscapes I saw in China, I never get tired of it.
What are your future plans? Are you currently working on new projects/jobs?
This is the perfect season to go out and paint outdoors, load the car and leave. Usually, I can’t design anything even for incapacity, but anyway I don’t have any new projects specifically. Thank you Apuliart Contemporary for the nice talk. Have a creative day everyone. I love you all so much!
Born in Terlizzi (BA) in 1988. He currently lives and works in Ruvo di Puglia (BA). He moved to Milan in 2008 to study at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts, he created his first solo exhibition “What a game we play” by Luciano Inga-Pin in the same year at the Inga-Pin Gallery (Milan).
In 2012 he won the Sculpture Prize, Academy Pride, Pinacoteca Albertina (TO). Among the various investments, those of 2013 for the residences of VIR ViaFarini in Residence (Milan) and The Blank Residency (Bergamo). We remember the Synchronicity residence of 2016 in Anhui Shexian (China) followed by the collective exhibition at the MOCA Westlake Gallery in Hangzhou (China) of the same year and the collective exhibition “Some Velvet Drawing” for Art Verona in 2015 following the Art residence Verona, Camping Castle San Pietro (Verona).