When, two years ago, we first encountered the work of Italian artist Guglielmo Castelli at Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin, we found ourselves borne off into a poetical darkness, to a dimension that left us with an unhealthy longing for the kind of drama of Ancient Greek theatre – Castelli studied theatrical scenography, as shows in his work – as well as for darkness and claustrophobia, as in June 1816, when Lord Byron, the Shelleys and the English Romantic writer John Polidori were kept indoors for three days at Villa Diodati by “incessant rain” and started writing on what would become Frankenstein and The Vampyre.
We could go on in this vein, but you get the idea.
And now it has happened again! Castelli’s work has us drifting into a deliciously abysmal quicksand!
So without further ado, we turn to safer and solid ground for our Introducing questions. Andiamo!
Is there a particular artwork or person that inspired you to become an artist?
I remember being shown a picture of a work by Carol Rama when I was a child. I was afraid of it but then that fear turned into curiosity. The softness that hid edges, the abandonment , led me to be more and more curious about what I saw. I didn’t, couldn’t stop at the first impression. Literature – the power of the word to create scenarios – did the rest.
Even today, if I have to think of something artistically powerful, I think of the tongues in Carol Rama’s work.
Which of these elements – space, air, fire, water, earth – would you choose in relation to your practice and/or yourself, and why?
The world has been made round to ensure we do not see too far on our way. I believe the element closest to myself is certainly space in the sense of the possibility of intentions. Sometimes I use warm colours like bonfires in the middle of the night, or blues that recall very deep waters. Painting allows you to use all the elements, because painting is total freedom.
So, what I can’t express in words, I paint.
If I close my eyes, there is all this and even more.
What are you reading currently?
I’m reading an essay by Robert Eisler: Man Into Wolf: An Anthropological Interpretation of Sadism, Masochism, and Lycanthropy (1951).
It is extremely interesting because it describes dark attitudes and phobias, the fears of those dark and difficult years.
It is of enormous inspiration to me as it combines man and beast.
Do you consider yourself spiritual and how does this feed into your work?
I always try to read a lot, to change my point of view, but keeping within me a strong determination to go on being able to ask myself new questions.
Every place that is “forever” loses its authenticity.
So it is also a question of the mind. We must look for earthquakes to find new beauty.
lease tell us what you are looking forward to this year work wise?
I expect a summer full of work but also full of happiness!
I am preparing some beautiful exhibition projects for next year …Please do follow me to find out about the various events, some are still top secret!
I can certainly say that in January I will leave for Los Angeles, where I will be starting a super residence! I can’t wait!
Current Solo Show: IPOSCENIO | May – September 2019 | Francesca Antonini, Rome
Header Photo: Guglielmo Castelli, Afloat, 2019, mix technique on canvas, 90 x 100 cm
Author: Esther Harrison