Interview: Carmela Rizzuti
Luca Curci talks with Carmela Rizzuti during MIXING IDENTITIES, third appointment of CANVAS INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR, at THE LINE Contemporary Art Space in London.
Carmela Rizzuti is a multifaceted artist, she was born with a predisposition for drawing and painting and over the years, during the training course at the Academy of Fine Arts in Palermo, she also embraced her passion in the world of photography by enrolling in the Photo Conca d’Oro Club managed by the master and photographer Giuseppe Cilia. Two paths that apparently seem distinct and separate but in the end there is always a correlated research of visual effect between painting and photography where the artist creates a continuous connection. In painting, Carmela Rizzuti uses a photographic technique and a mechanical reproduction of reality to construct her hyper-realistic portraits by portraying people in attitudes of everyday life and using oil colors on smooth supports, such as that of plexiglass, with the aim of getting as close as possible to the effect of the paper. Her works have an excellent response in the world of art as they are exhibited in various galleries in Italy and abroad, including the Am Roten Hof Gallery, Vienna, and the Palazzo della Permanente, Milan, with publication in Giorgio Mondadori’s magazine Arte. But despite the various successes and awards, the artist did not see a good economic response so she decided to devote herself totally to photography, shots that are divided between black and white and color images, two different visions that are divided between the exaltation of the image of light and shadow (black and white) and creative images where color plays a fundamental role in giving an almost pictorial and artistic rendering. In color photography, the artist feels she wants to be part of her works, using herself to represent them with an often recurring theme, that of nature and art, realizing all the various technical procedures, both the post-production work on the computer and the real work, creating sets and artistic clothes. She is an artist sensitive to aesthetic beauty but also to social problems; she expresses them through her technical and artistic skills in a single image – the photograph. With her photographic works, Carmela Rizzuti has participated in several Biennials both in Italy and abroad, including the MEAM (European Museum of Modern Art, Barcelona) and the Pintèr gallery in Budapest.
Luca Curci – How did you get to photography? Do you remember why you took your first professional photo?
Carmela Rizzuti – I was born with a passion for painting and drawing, I really liked to portray people and especially faces because they express much more than words. But over time I felt the need to expand my artistic knowledge to be able to express my art also in other ways, and so I embraced also the world of photography. At 16 I enrolled in a photographic club where I had the opportunity to photograph many models and to learn the various technical procedures. However, this was not enough for me because I want to go beyond what I see. For me photography should express emotions and, at the same time, it must be very creative. So I decided to open my own photographic studio where I could freely express new visual languages, where ideas, creativity and technique take on new forms of language. I took my first professional photo in a studio with a model who needed a photo book.
LC – According to you, what makes a good photo? Which details do you focus on?
CR – From my point of view to take a good photo you have to go beyond technical perfection and focus on the expressive language because a photo should tell or express a feeling or a thought that goes beyond the form. A photo can be technically perfect but lacking of emotion. When shooting I focus a lot on the composition and interpretation of the person because the photograph has to represent her at that moment, at the instant in which the photo is taken. So the details I focus on are the expression and the body language.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
CR – I am inspired by the beauty of art and nature. Initially, I recreated some backgrounds that reproduced artistic and decorative elements of Baroque art but then I focused more on the world of nature by recreating various types of flowers or taking inspiration from some animals such as spotted cow skin or deer horns.
LC – Do you use art to express something in particular? Is it like your medium of expression?
CR – For me photography is a means of artistic expression where I try to sensitize the eye to beauty by using and recreating environments and clothes that constantly recall nature. Since ancient times, nature has been the greatest source of inspiration for man and the man-nature bond has always been very strong. It is enough to think about the past writers and poets who contemplated its beauty, majesty and mystery. Unfortunately, in my opinion, this sensitivity towards the beloved mother nature is diminishing more and more, even damaging it with pollution, killing and extinction of animals, extinction of plant, melting of glaciers and so on, creating irreversible damages. This is why in my works the theme “nature” is always recurring as a form of raising awareness on the importance of the relationship between man and the environment.
LC – How do you feel when you see your work completed?
CR – When I finish a work I don’t always feel completely satisfied because my ideas are often complicated and difficult to realize or they don’t always come out the way I imagined them.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
CR – I think you try to give ample space to artists from all over the world with a careful selection and evaluation of both content and form, trying to deal with all the various issues of today. There is a good selective visual and experimental taste and the festival is a good opportunity because it allows us not only to make ourselves known through the exhibition of our works of art, but also to deepen and express our concepts through these interviews.
LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the festival’s theme?
CR – MIXING IDENTITIES is based on the reconstruction of new identities that we have today for various reasons: changing cultures, experiences, relationships, progress etc … This is a theme that comes close to my works because the woman in some photos transforms becoming almost a decorative subject enhancing nature and its colors by being part of it.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
CR – This was my second experience with you and I was very satisfied because I saw that you put a lot of effort and professionalism into your work. I hope to cooperate again in the future.
LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP?
CR – ITSLIQUID GROUP is an excellent platform that gives artists, architects, sculptors, painters and photographers the opportunity to participate in various competitions and events in different galleries and museums at an international level. At the same time, it also gives the opportunity to get to know the artists who participate.
LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
CR – The only thing I would suggest for upcoming events is, when taking photos and videos of an exhibition, to shoot all the works in the same way in order to give the same visibility and the right space to all artists so there would be more sharing on social networks.