Interview: Peretto Magali
Luca Curci talks with Peretto Magali during Venice International Art Fair 2020 at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
I’ve been drawing since I was very young. Indeed, since the drawings seemed really well done, teachers thought that it was my father who drew in my place, but my father works in the scientific field. Then, I continued with classical studies by studying pharmacy. At 39 I attended a once-a-week evening workshop to improve my figure for a year. A little over a year ago, due to small health concerns, unable to work, I decided to rent workshop with a friend, in order to calm my stress and my pain. In that period, I start painting. I started by painting abstract works because, having crutches, it was easier to do. I like to experience a little bit of everything: indian ink, acrylic, collage etc. Creating is second nature to me, it’s like a second breath that allows me to relate to life. Since I don’t have many means, all my latest artworks measure 115 x 75 cm. I also start buying canvases in low cost stores. It represents a good compromise, because it gives me the possibility not to limit my desire to create. As, I said before, I have never gone to an art school. I am self-taught artist. And my best compliment is when my youngest daughter tells me that I’m an artist. It warms my heart.
Luca Curci – What is art for you ?
Peretto Magali – For me, art represents a lot of things, it represents the beauty of the world, creation, imagination and, in particular, life. Without painting I probably wouldn’t be here, but I would certainly be on drugs, in some hospital or somewhere else. Painting allowed me to live, to move forward despite the pain, it’s my second breath, my second life. Two years ago, after going through three operations, one on the right femur and two on the left one, I was unable to walk or even sleep, because the pain was very intense; so that the doctor prescribed me morphine. The box of tablets was there in my medicine cabinet, I kept it in case the pain was insurmountable. Even though the pain was terrible I never took a tablet. One day, my older daughter, who was 6 at the time, said to me “Mom, I prefer to have a mother like the one my friends have, at least she walks and does a lot of things”.It’s true: at that time I was in a wheelchair for 6 months, I didn’t do much with her anymore, I only thought about my pain, so only about me. It made me react. I shouldn’t have been thinking only of myself, but taking care of my daughters, who were still 6 and 8 years old. They deserved to have a mother like any other, strong. So I decided to react and do the one thing I loved most in the world: paint. I felt the need to get away from the family environment; and so, as I already said, with my disability pension, I decided to rent a workshop 20 kilometers far from my home. It was the cheapest, but there was a nice space. The only problem was it was on the first floor. But I was so determined to do it, in order to show my daughters that I could also being a mother like the others, that I rent it. So I moved into this beautiful workshop, bathed in light and overlooking a train station. My husband did not agree with this choice. He told me it was crazy to rent a studio when I could paint at home, which was big enough. He didn’t even help me carry my painting stuff. I still don’t know how I managed to carry all my paint supplies while walking on crutches and couldn’t put my right foot on without risking another fracture. But I did. It took some time, but my pain started to subside. In November 2018, everything was finally ready, and I started painting. I started with abstract works, with many colors. I painted with crutches, because it was not possible to do otherwise, and also because I still did not have what it took to sit down. But, day after day, I freed myself from my pain and managed to open up to my environment and those around me. As time went by, I managed to do more and more things, and to get a little taste of life. Today things are much better, I can walk. In January 2020, I underwent surgery to remove the plate and 10 screws that held my femur in place after a spiral fracture. The pain subsided and I was able to learn to walk well again. I also decided to give myself a second chance: leave my husband and start a second life.
LC – Wich subject are you working on?
PM – I have no preferences, abstract, figurative, portrait, landscape etc.. For me, everything is beautiful. I work mainly with abstract works, to express my ideas, my emotions. While I work with figurative works to tell a story. Anyway, I do not set limits. I like to push myself out of my comfort zone and challenge myself. I currently paint landscapes. I am inspired by the photos found on Instagram taken by talented photographers. Photos that allow me to escape. And I paint what they inspire me.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
PM – I have already partially answered this question but I am also inspired by what is happening in the world. Such as, for example, the death of a little girl and her father who just wanted to have a better world, and for this they drowned crossing the river to reach the U.S.A. Or the current health crisis we are going through and its thousands of deaths. Georges Floyd’s death, caused by a $ 20 bill, and mostly because he was black. I also draw inspiration from the stages of my life. Everything is fine as a painting subject.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
PM – No, I have no favorite themes. I work mainly following my emotions. It may happen that one day I paint a ballerina and another I paint like Pollock, one day I use only black and white and the next I use many colors. But currently I’m trying to do at least three paintings that have the same theme or the same subject, to maintain a certain coherence.
LC – Do visitors’ suggestions enrich yourself and your art?
PM – Yes. Someone asked me why I didn’t paint live without the help of photos. When I started painting, I was unable to move and walk, so I painted from photos that inspired me. Ballerinas, for example, for the grace they emanate and for the beauty of the movement. The landscapes because they inspired me and allowed me to escape. But today, having found the full capacity of my movements, I will gradually begin to paint live landscapes, bringing my equipment and a small chair. I also started painting live in Venice. It was not easy to paint the Cathedral of San Marco, but I loved it.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this festival? In which way did it inspire you?
PM – This festival allows to highlight different artists from all over the world, and this is great. Moreover, having a theme is very enriching, because it allows us as artists to show our ideas; and since there are artists from different countries, it brings a lot of values to the festival, because we see and show different things and different approaches.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
PM – Yes this inspired me a lot. Especially in this period: in the world, due to global warming and the population that continues to increase, the landscape changes, transforms, evolves. To avoid a planned disaster we must question ourselves, use renewable resources, avoid polluting less, differentiate our waste, preserve our green spaces which will then be the lungs of our children. One of my paintings that is on display is partly made of leaves from an old book that I recovered from a garbage can. I wanted to give it a second life.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
PM – I think it’s a beautiful thing. The Its Liquid Group platform brings together several areas of the artistic world, photography, architecture, painting, fashion. It promotes art and connects its different sectors. Which can only be beneficial.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
PM – Yes, I liked it very much. I think that, despite the health crisis we are going through linked to the Coronavirus, you have been able to demonstrate professionalism and make a magnificent exhibition, while respecting the right prevention measures. And your team is super nice, friendly and most of all very helpful. In particular, Giulia Tassi who helped me a lot, and Mr. Luca Curci who warmly welcomed me upon my arrival.
LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
PM – I think your approach is good. Helping artists to promote themselves is a good thing, and I speak mostly for myself who am not good at communication. I hate promoting myself and showing off, I prefer to paint. You are like a manager, a record company.