Antonio Papasso




© 2014 Antonio Papasso

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Papasso was born in Florence. His interest in arts matured slowly rooted in the tradition of the great painters of the past. He is a watchful observer of the various art exhibitions in Tuscany, and makes frequent visits to the Uffizi, the Pitti, and other Galleries…

1970 was the beginning of a period of great tension for Papasso.

He had come to feel that the results he was achieving were too placid and smooth to be able to satisfy that desire and the passion that art now stimulated in him. He was restless and dissatisfied, and decided to move to a farmhouse near Pisa. In his "hermitage", freely and consciously chosen, he faced up to the challenge of increasing his store of knowledge, mostly in bitter solitude. This challenge included the penetration and understanding of philosophical and anthropological problems. Meanwhile, his interest in etchinges and prints was, growing..

He published his first set of etchings, "GENEALOGIA" in 1976. It was through the use of soft vellum paper that he found his own way of making art. He experimented with this new technique and in 1979 exhibited a group of works, presented by Roberto Sanesi at the Zarathustra gallery in Milan. Two years later, after investigating more fully the possibilities of this material, he exhibited even more demanding works at the same gallery. It's 1981, and this time it's Gillo Dorfles who introduces the catalogue exhisibition.

Papasso's interest in copperplate etching technique was growing, and through these he discovered new images. It was in his period that he published a portfolio of six colour etchings, entitled "CANTA" (Pisa 1981).

This was followed by other three personal exhibitions in Genova, Trento and Bologna.

After these exhibitions he was overcome by new feelings of unease and restlessness and decided not to exhibit his works in public.

He returned to his solitary life, carrying on with his experiments in isolated silence . It was in this period that he created the series of etchings called "RE/SPIRA" (Pisa, 1982), now at the MoMA in New York and in the collections of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

"…It was accepted at the Committee's May 25 th meeting (...) The members of the Committee were unanimously enthusiastic about your etchings (...) it broadens our knowledge of contemporary Italian printmakings ..." From The Museum of Modern Art - purchase of RE/SPIRA serial of etchings - New York, 25-may-1983).


" ...les votre petite album si subtil e si délicat et nous sommes trés heureux de l'apceter dans les collections de la Bibliothèque Nationale..." (Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Parigi 6 juin 1984).

This was followed by the series of etchings entitled "RACCONTO" inspired by a poem dedicated to the artist Alfredo Giuliani (Pisa 1982-83) and "FORMA NATURAE (Archetipi & C.)", six coloured sheets accompanied by a short essay by Giulio Carlo Argan (Rome,1983). In 1988 he prepared two personal shows, one in Hamburg and the other in Budapest.

In 1992 together with Edoardo Sanguineti, Papasso completed the collections of prints "PRO MEMORIA PROMEMORIA 1986-1992" (Anguillara Sabazia 1986/92). This was acquired by the French Bibliothèque Nationale, together with another collection dating from 1983 entitled "FORMA NATURAE (Archetipi & C.)". The same museum then purchased five works under the signature of ANTIGONE (Antonio Papasso pseudonym). These are figurative works with a special theme: Papasso tells of how joy is interrelated with life in the country, in a "trascendental" way ,the traditional with the surreal.

In 1989 an exhibition of Papasso's work was held at the Charlton Gallery, Rome, following which the Gallery owner Toninelli organized a series of exhibitions: at the Grand Palais (Fiac and Saga), Paris in 1992; at the Grand Palais (Saga), Paris in 1993; at the Toninelli gallery, Arte Moderna, Rome, in 1993; at the Palais des Festivals, Cannes, 1995; and at the gallery Arte Jonction, Cannes, in 1995.

In 1999 he is incited to exhibit his works at the Municipal Palace in Bracciano.

Since 1996 the TV programme "Telemarket" is interested in Papasso's works.

In the month of October 2004, it has been introduced , at the Italian studies Department of the Florence University, the documentation about the collaboration between Edoardo Sanguineti and the following italian artists: E. Baj, A. Bueno, G. Cilento, A. Fomez, A. Papasso, M. Persico, S. Paladino, F. Pirella, V. Trubbiani. Tommaso Lisa collected the documentation in the catalogue "Pretesti Ecfrastici" that has been published by the Società editrice fiorentina.

Names have been suggested, trends and poetics have been mentioned in the effort to explain Antonio Papasso's painting. In each of these examples, the leitmotif on which the various passages were (also technically) organized, seemed circled, ever more approached, though through obscillations - almost as if the secretest nature of a research all in all consistent, wouldn't allow any direct definition.

That the Papasso area of activity is generically informal, this is doubtless, but it also shows very specific features. It is the moment of the clarification, not only thematic, that ought to be singled out, I should say, around the time and the title of 'genealogies'. And here, I believe, with ever more consciousness Papasso frees inner motivations and his constituent methodology, letting intentions and solutions coincide.

Separating the priming from the sign, renouncing the strong lyric inclination but neither rejecting the interference of restlessness, in other words accepting as necessary (in dialectical terms) a discussion on an eventual aesthetising longing through the persistence of a diffuse malaise not yet brought out but pressing, (as in all attraction and repulsion mechanism, of a liberating abandonment and resistance and refusal in the process of analysis of a condition), Papasso distinguishes in the vaguely pantheistic infomality of his previous work ,the representative element (the emotional suggestion) and the structure bearing the representative with both colours and matters: witnessing affectionate tenderness, hints of a pacific condition lyrically transformed, and nevertheless leaving to the nervous sign, nearly an automatic writing, the task of sensitising or even "teasing" the forms.

It is for all these reasons that Papasso's more recent works look so ambiguous, proposing themselves, on one hand, as examples of an informal variation while, on the other, its subtle and yet difficult to deny tale-telling tension (which is the articulation of a thoroughly inner 'speech' expounding a thesis: the one on 'genealogies', proliferation process of continuous birth, of an also ritual ciclicity underlined by the creative act), as examples of a painting offering itself as a readable page and at the same time as a reading method, not excluding some correlation of a surrealistic kind..

Roberto Sanesi(*)

(*)Roberto Sanesi (Milano, 1930 - 2001). Italian poet and art critic. Connoisseur of Anglo American literature he has been an important translator from English into Italian (J. Milton, W. Blake, Th. S. Eliot) and worked out the translation of some anthologies of poems that have been written in the 1600 and 1900. He wrote several poems collections. Poeti americani 1900-1956, 1958; Dylan Thomas, 1966; La valle della visione, 1985.
Studios of Antonio Papasso

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