Pietro Librici (www.pietrolibri.wixsite.com) was born in Legnano near Milan and graduated in Art Preservation and Restoration at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Brera where he also specialized in Contemporary Art Preservation and Restoration.
Your schooling path is specific, even if Art is quite varied and especially «changing». Indeed, your academic background is visible in your works evoking classical style such as Venus of Milos, Belvedere Torso, dancing Menade. Are these works just exercise for you or was it your personal style at the beginning of your career? Have you Sicilian origins influenced on your choice?
In my works my Sicilian roots are definitely visible. I am also very proud of it. When you work transparently, it is inevitable that who we are emerges in what we do. The series of paintings inspired to classical sculpture belongs to my early stage artistic research. Exercise? Artistic choice? I believe both.
Throughout the history of Art we have seen a cyclical revival of classicism which gives a needed sense of order. For instance, during Reinassance to get rid of medieval transcendence, during Neoclassicism to eliminate the excessive and rhetorical style of Baroque. I had this need too. Besides, my artistic experience is based on a scientific teenager education. Consequently, my style was influenced by this kind of approach. You can either embrace History or you can make it explode.
Inevitably my selection of subjects evokes the academic world. However, they do not lack elements looking to the future such as the color gold. Or in the following paintings we can see the «false prospectives» with torsos, heads refracting gold in a sort of «elastic space ».
Your first individual exhibition «Ad Imaginem suam» dates back to 2014 at Galleria d’Arte Contemporanea Statuto 13. How come you chose a Latin name?
The title was selected by the curator and critic of Galleria Statuto 13. So you should ask him.
All the works show a sentimental attachment to classicism but also a contemporary side that anyone can notice, actually it kinds of invite them to participate in the scene emotionally. Could you describe the idea that resulted in these works? Are there any works you feel particularly closed to? Why?
I don’t have a specific idea when I start creating. I simply do something. Little by little, like a puzzle, you create a sort of story, a plot that was unknown to me. Subconscious is very powerful. It is wonderful to see how the different pieces match harmoniously.
In fact, more than explaining the idea that underlines my works at «Ad Imaginem Suam» exhibition, I could tell you that it emerged from the creation of this canvas. The main idea was the subject: mothers with their children. Concerned, grieved, protective and loving mothers.
Clearly I had something to say about mother-children relationship. They see us, their children, as an extension of themselves. The painting I feel more connected with is «L’Abbraccio» the hug. It is my first painting created to support this style and it is a real reflection about my family.
Your Art does not only concern painting but I noticesd on your website that you have recently approached the fascinating world of installations. Among all contemporary artists, do you have any reference point? Who? Why?
I like Igor Mitoraj’s and Fabio Viale’s works for their classical inspiration. I am attracted to Anish Kapoor and Olafur Eliasson for their majesty and their ability to mold the surroundings creating strong emotions
One of my favoutives is definitely «Il Tempo della Guarigione: le 1000 Gru di Sadako». How did you conceive this work? Could you describe it to our readers?
I made this installation when I was experiencing hardship in my life. It consists of two elements. The first is a transparent cube containing 1000 crane-shaped origami.
Behind the oddness, creativity and fun art of origami, there are shintoist tenets of the circle of life and acceptance of death as part of it: after destroying something you can recreate it. Nothing is lost or destroyed but everything can come to life in an infinite and eternal circle of life. Origami itself is the transformation of a material thing (paper produced from rice, from the earth) into something different, superior.
It tells the story of a Japanese legend that a crane can live up to 1000 years: giving a crane means wishing 1000 years of life. 1000 cranes reinforces this concept. Folding 1000 cranes is an honest token of genuine interest towards the recipient as skill, devotion are needed to fold them all.
Today giving 1000 cranes as a gift means: «I have thought about you all this time, you are important». By folding them one can meditate. It takes time, your own hands and heart. It is a way to test one’s strength. Besides, in an ancient book from 1797 by Sembazuru Orikata, « Secret to Folding One-thousand Cranes », the author explains that «anyone who can fold 1000 cranes will have their wishes come true».
I have created a link between these facts and Sadako Sasaki, a girl who suffered from the radiations of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. The little girl was diagnosed with a serious Leukemia at the age of 11. Her best friend, Chizuko Hamamoto, told her about the legend, whoever was able to make 1000 cranes- a bird symbolizing long life- with the origami technique can make a wish. Sadako started folding cranes hoping to run again. By the way, her wish was not only this; Sadako was very committed to her work because she believed it would end her pain, heal all the victims around the world and would bring peace.
According to writer Eleonor Coerr’s version, in her novel entitled «Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes», Sadako managed to make 644 cranes, whereas the 356 left were then added by her friends. At last, all the cranes were buried with her. Therefore, I decided to write small pieces of paper the 644 cranes she made when she was still alive and made the other 356 with colored papers.
The second element is a small showcase containing a red bracelet I wore in March 2015 when I had a brain operation. Therefore, in the installation two worlds connect: disease and dreams. In this world of great international conflicts, my work takes into consideration the most intimate dimension: one’s own inner home exploring that contrast that comes from there.
On the one hand, we have the desire to make our dreams come true. On the other we have disease, anxiety and fear. Possible supporters of a world that is not what we wanted. My work expresses the attempt to live well despite difficulties, facing them with the positivity that life offers us every-day. How can we live well if we cannot live well in our inner home in the first place?
«Il Mondo Ideale e il Mondo Reale» (the ideal world and the real world): this is the title of another installation particularly interesting, especially for the symbolism of every object that composes it. How would you describe your relation with this work and above all, where did the idea come from?
Like I said before, my ideas don’t come up but rather they unfold throughout the time. The installation is made of objects I have collected and kept for 7 years. They are all objects that have been in my life or joining them together they have developed a shape.
It is a sort of briefcase of life until my 32 years of age. With an eye to classicism, I could consider this work a sort of cathartic and redeeming ensemble, a solution to hardship. In the plexiglass case there are two elements that for me represent perfection and harmony (the red ballet shoes), physical pain (a piece of my meniscus), devotion (S. Rosalia rosary), a broken love (a broken Aventurine stone, symbol of heart chakra)…
This interview has allowed us to understand and show our readers the essence of your art and your sensitiveness. I urge to ask you something: what are your next projects?
It is difficult to foresee how my hands and mind will travel. What I can say now is that I feel the need to work on specific themes: disease, light and softness.
Article & interview by Loriana Pitarra
English translation by Chiara Vilmercati