Pamela Napoletano (www.pamelanapoletano.com) was born in Monopoli but she was raised in Tuscany and Liguria. She attended Scuola Libera del Nudo and the experimental course of drawing at l’Accademia di Belle Arti in Carrara. Since 2006 she has been living and working in Lombardia.
Among all the cities you have lived, do you have any you feel particularly attached to and that has influenced your professional and artistic path?
I have always felt I belonged to different places. People and spaces have had a strong emotional link and have become part of a enlarged vision of “family”and “home”. When I opened my studio in Chiavenna last September , the first thing I put there was a big carton suitcase. In it I store every meeting , every place, every past present and future emotion metaphorically. I draw inspiration on it.
Since 2009 you have been very active on contemporary art with both individual and collective exhibitions. Throughout these years you have shown great innovative ability, change and personal and artistic research from the contents until experimenting new techniques. By browsing your website I found two works that really impressed me: Il mezzo and Visit. Could you give us your analysis and describe the techniques you used? In Visit you used nail lacquer, why?
I genuinely love hand-made works (in the strict meaning) and this pushes me to use any object or item I feel akin to my momentary expressive need. Just like I love using images. In a society where knowingly or not we are influenced and manipulated by them, I try to find a way out to their sly power. I have no qualms, for instance I take another artist’s work and I mold it according to my taste, just like a piece of furniture becomes the “anatomy” of my characters.
The freedom of means is inversely proportionate to themes. The latter indeed range constantly from the intimate universe of human beings in particular women’s.
As a woman I feel all the shades of this tormented complexity and I experience all the cultural and social difficulties. «Il Mezzo» is from 2011 and I wanted to use women’s body just like other daily tools. Its essence is unfortunately still targeted by stereotypes emarginated to certain roles and environments. Let’s say that Visit is a retelling. Violence has“standardized” so much that has become destination of family Sunday trips. Nail lacquer is a vain attempt to hide the sorrow. I mean that many women use it to hide a broken and insecure state of mind.
They try to be beautiful, as if this could eliminate the truth. On the contrary, I used this symbol of artificiality to paint this very condition.
From January 21st until February 28th you took part in the collective exhibition called Trascorrenze inspired to Tarkovskij works. A fascinating show gathering many national and international artists. Did you have the chance to meet any? Among the works displayed, do you remember any that struck you?
«Trascorrenze» was a collective exhibition organized by Aequamente ArteContemporanea in the former monaster of Clarisse in Massa Marittima and led by Costabile Guariglia and Fabio Campagna. The environment is somewhat stimulating and impressive, works by contemporary artists created a dialogue with the 13th century building that today is a local library. The great work by Augustine Okubo was the one that created more contrast with the surrounding space so it sparked curiosity. Also the “liquid” figures by Evita Andujar or the ambiguity by Luca Cecioni really struck me. Out of curiosity, I had already participated with Luca in a 2013 collective exhibition in Pietrasanta and both times our works were displayed on the same wall.
Taking a look at your works, I noticed a sort of sequence and the will to tell some moments of your life. Maybe it’s just my imagination but the following paintings:
▪ The room
▪ Il ventre vuoto di mia madre (The empty abdomen of my mother)
▪ Ritratto di famiglia (Family portrait)
▪ Lo sposo (The groom)
▪ La sposa (The bride)
▪ La sposa un anno dopo (The bride a year later)
were all conceived as a story, or did you create them without any specific will to join them?
The tale was not created on purpose but it was more like every painting evoked the others to show faces of the surroundings.
I really like your last painting because it gives the chance to read and internalize marriage either positively or negatively . If we look at it with a positive attitude and in love, we can see the joy for the future life that stems from marriage itself. On the other hand, with a negative attitude we can see emptiness and lack of happiness. I apologize for this extremely sentimental and introspective vision, but how do you idealize or experience marriage? Do you see a glass half-full or half-empty?
I don’t believe in this kind of extreme definitions. Marriage, just like any other experience, must be balanced. If a relationship was only positive or negative it would be still, impossible to change, which is- as I see it- key.
The last question is about the future. Will we see you in any other exhibitions? Any work in progress?
I have been working on a project for months – Secchi di tempo – with unprecedented features for me and for the city where I live. This event is taking place next month and will make emerge a part of history of Chiavenna through contemporary language. Everything will be filmed by a videomaker, Andrea Sartori. On May 25th, we will shoot the video in a theatre making past and present “dancing” together underlining the importance of sharing different realities. Art, more than ever, is a common and cross-disciplinary experience.
Article & interview by Loriana Pitarra
English translation by Chiara Vilmercati