Interview: Guido Gaudioso
Luca Curci talks with Guido Gaudioso during ANIMA MUNDI 2019 – CONSCIOUSNESS at Palazzo Ca’ Zanardi.
Guido Gaudioso, born in Syracuse in 1967. I began as a portrait photographer for theater companies. Since 1995 I worked on CACTUS, themed limited-edition magazine, whose contents vary in the visual arts, from photography to painting to comics. In 1997 I worked with director Sonia Gazzera for the photographic documentation of her theatrical works “Fuochi d’Ortigia”, with the sponsorship of the Provincial Tourism Syracuse. In 2002 I exhibited at the Galleria Civicad’ArteContemporaneaMontevergini of Syracuse, on the occasion of the exhibition “Creatività in Sicilia”, sponsored by the Regional Department for Cultural Heritage. I collaborated as a photographer for the collective interior of interior designers “StraneSfere”, in Catania. In 2007, I won first prize in the art contest “I Have a Dream”, organized by Tribe Art. In 2008 I was selected for the exhibition about “artists and new media”, in the Civic Gallery of Modern Art, Spoleto. Then some of my works were published in “New Media Design. Le nuove frontiere dell’arte”, catalogue by Prof. Alberto Cecchi, printed by Sometti Editore. In 2012, my project “In Corpore” was selected for exhibition at Farm Cultural Park. In April 2013, I was among the artists selected for participation in the workshop (and exhibition “TRASFORMATORIO” (www.trasformatorio.net), which brings together artists from all over Europe for a common project of research and experimentation. In 2013 I was invited to exhibit in Rome, at the festival of photography OcchiRossi Festival. In 2014 I had two solo exhibitions. The first in February, in Syracuse, at the Claudio Fayer Gallery/Amici dell’Arte. The second in July, in Noto, at the prestigious Palazzo Ducezio, under the patronage of the Municipality of Noto and Unesco. In 2016 I was the first artist to be invited for a solo show (“Prima Materia”) in the exhibition space dedicated to contemporary art at the Regional Gallery of Palazzo Bellomo, Syracuse. I exhibited in Venice, during the 2019 Biennial of Contemporary Art, after being selected by the curators of the “Consciousness” collective, within the Anima Mundi Festival. My works were published in the following magazines: “Pan”, “Cactus”, “Eroded” issue 18 (www.555design.org) Geniabox, “Tribe magazine” (www.tribenet.it), “Orca” issue 3 (www.televisionkillsme.org / orca), “BAK” issue 9 (www.bakdergisi.com), “CHair magazine” (www.chairmag.it). Catalogue: “Contemporary art”, Promo Med. “New media design. The new frontiers of art”, Sometti publisher. www.sometti.it . Personal: 2016: Prima Materia. S.A.C. Galleria Regionale Palazzo Bellomo. Siracusa. 2014: In Corpore. Palazzo Ducezio. Noto. 2014: Ritratti. Galleria Claudio Fayer/Amici dell’Arte. Siracusa. 2013: Monolyth. Università di Messina. 2007: Kynesis, Museums of the Province of Siracusa. 2002: Portraits, Chiesa dei Cavalieri di Malta, Siracusa. 1998: Theatre and Dance, Gallery Artenova, Palermo. Group: 2019: Consciousness (Anima Mundi Festival). Venezia. 2017: Sensorium. Palazzo Raeli, Siracusa. 2013: Trasformatorio. Montalbano Elicona (Messina). 2013: OcchiRossi Festival. Roma. 2012: Railroad Market. Farm Cultural Park. Favara. 2012: Chiamata alle Arti. Civic Gallery of Contemporary Art. Siracusa. 2012: Speaker’s corner. La Vecchia Dogana. Catania. 2010: PechaKucha. Zo Cultural Association, Catania. 2008: Fucina off. Civic Gallery of Modern Art, Spoleto. 2008: Human, oltreumani. Politics of deflection. Studio Cecchin, Milano. 2007: Contemporary Art. Palazzo Impellizzeri, Siracusa. 2007: I haveadream. Libreria Cavallotto, Catania. 2003: Cactus artzine. Majazé Cultural Center, Catania. 2002. Mediazioni: 7 fotografi per Cactus. Gallery I-mago, Rome. Gallery Rome, Siracusa. 2000: Creatività in Sicilia. Civic Gallery of Contemporary Art, Siracusa. 1995: Ilsensodellavisione. Chiesa dei Cavalieri di Malta, Siracusa.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Guido Gaudioso – I have always thought that art, or the forms of expression in which it manifests itself, is the most profound and absolute place of realization of human freedom. I do not believe that art should have a meaning, a specific purpose (a ‘message’, as many claim). Art has no purpose nor can it be subjected to a specific social function. For this reason it does not tolerate any censorship (in any case). It is the only dimension in which the freedom of the human being is fully and unlimitedly expressed. Art does not necessarily have to establish a relationship with the public nor does it have the obligation to be in a clear and understandable way to everyone. The communicative need acts in a deepest way: it’s the relationship that is established (in a more or less violent way) with the darkest part of the human soul, that – if revealed in the artwork –
always lights an echo in the other. This happens because the roots are shared and concern the whole of humanity.
LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
GG – My family had a great influence on my love for art. From an early age, I have traveled a lot. In Europe, in cities where I discovered many great artists whose works have greatly inspired me. Then in the East, in countries of great beauty such as China, India, Vietnam and Cambodia. Here I realized how different and yet with a common background are the cultures of other countries. I started taking pictures when I was very young. My father gave me the first camera at age 12. A Nikkormat. Since then I have always used Nikon lenses and bodies, 35 mm. Later, I added to this my beloved Hasselblad 500 C/M. I have respect for great landscape photographers, like Ansel Adams or Gabriele Basilico, but the human being has always been my source of inspiration and the object of my research. Richard Avedon, Diane Arbus, Mary Ellen Mark, Nan Goldin, August Sander, Ugo Mulas. These and other great masters like Man Ray were a great inspiration, along with giants like Michelangelo, with his work ‘unfinished’ (the “Pietà Rondanini”, the “Prisons”), Caravaggio and Chaim Soutine.
About my photographic works, I must mention “Kynesis” on bodies in motion, and dance. And the photo reportage that I made about clowns, jugglers and street artists, “Liberi Viandanti”. I am currently working on a project concerning the way in which our perception of the human body changes: “In Corpore”.
LC – Which is the role the artist plays in the society? And the contemporary art?
GG – Today the artist is – more than ever – deeply involved in the social structure in which he works. I’m talking about those highly advanced commercial and marketing logics, operations that are sometimes highly criticizable and far from certain ‘artistic purity’ (which never actually existed). I am not naive: I understand very well that we have to deal with the mechanisms of the contemporary social system. But I am sure that the artist (and contemporary art) can play an important critical role, bringing to light what remains obscure to most people or anticipating the awareness of a distant future.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
GG – As I said, I chose to express myself with photography and I prefer portrait. So my primary source of inspiration is human beings in their infinite variety. On the other side, the inspiration comes from everything that surrounds me and in particular from certain current forms of expression: from cinema to literature. For the project “IN CORPORE” I was influenced and inspired by the reading of some alchemical texts (related to the “Great Work”) and by the Jungian analysis on the same themes. The ‘starting point’ consists of photographic portraiture, which is flanked by multiple references to the great alchemical-esoteric tradition (with its exorbitant wealth of symbols and iconographic revelations) and citations of informal material art (in particular, the ‘stigmata’ and the dizzying abysses of Jean Fautrier’s masterpieces in the “Otages” series). In the photographs of “IN CORPORE” I have tried to pour the fascination and influence from Jungian notions about collective archetypes and the value of images and symbols inherited from the ancient hermetic tradition, which inspired the great alchemist masters.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
GG – I consider myself a passionate portraitist, an avid scholar of the forms and movements of the human body. In particular, what attracts me most in the practice of photographic portraiture is the perception of oneself and of the other that emerges from the final result, the outcome of a meeting between the way I see the person and the way in which this person want to appear in the picture. Between these two extremes lies a point where something happens: a moment – the decisive one, in which I press the button of the camera – in which we both detach ourselves from the
preconceived convictions (and conventions) that we wear as masks. It is a work on the relationship: with oneself, with the photographer, with the eyes of those who witness the scenes I represent and make through the camera. In my portraits, the subject always looks ‘in camera’ (ie, towards the lens). He who looks is looked at, in a sort of infinite motion between estrangement and recognition of the Other.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this festival? In which way did it inspire you?
GG – The concept of the festival is the connection between all living entities on the planet, the “ANIMA MUNDI”. It’s something very close to what I try to express in my work. My art, the portraits and the artworks included in “IN CORPORE”, everything I do – as an artist – is about that kind of energy (I prefer to talk about a deep relationship, a connection that cannot be explained in simple words). I try to evoke that energy, the feeling of being connected to each other. So the concept of the festival was more than an inspiration: it was the perfect coincidence with the main topics of my art.
LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this exhibition? How is it connected to the theme of the entire festival?
GG – In the exhibited artwork the subject, exposing the face or the body, the anatomy of the being, reveals itself in a thaumaturgic game of resistance and abandonment, in which the artist begins to creep in and measure himself, to seize the moment of freedom, to meet the unconscious and give life to unexpected intimate combinations. Just like a speleologist, I try to go deep inside, in search of the darkest meanders, the richest of tension and fear, but certainly more challenging. And once discovered, when fear turns into curiosity and exhilaration, another transformation is accomplished. In other words, it can be said that I tried to get in touch with the “Anima Mundi”.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
GG – I have been following ITSLIQUID for several years. I think it’s a very interesting project. The activity of the platform (with the organization of multimedia events, exhibitions and meetings) is almost frenetic but always well taken care of. It is necessary to have an international network of artists. ITSLIQUID performs this task very well.
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
GG – The organization was perfect (as usual!). The curators have a very open and available approach towards the participating artists. The communication strategy was very satisfying and the exhibition spaces enhance the artistic works. Everything is facilitated by the beauty of the surrounding space (the streets and buildings of Venice).
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
GG – Yes, of course. It represents an excellent opportunity both to let people know about the work of the artist and to meet other artists and deal with different opinions and points of view. Following ITSLIQUID GROUP since years, I know that it operates in an international context. This is a very important aspect: it reveals the great efficiency and industriousness of the group and represents a chance of great value for each participating artist.