venerdì 1 aprile 2011

Quattro pezzi facili - Four easy pieces

Serafino Amato e Marcello Sambati a Tuscania

testo di Yvonne Dohna

On hearing Bill Pettit's and Serafino Amato's description of this

project, I immediately wondered whether the public would be able not

only to experience the individual works, but also to get a glimpse

into the particular comradeship between the two artists. I was quickly

fascinated by this artistic brotherhood, initiated recently by chance,

between two such distinct personalities, nurtured by mutual sympathy

and the desire to communicate their poetry.

It's astonishing to list the range of media in which they express

themselves expertly: painting, drawing, photography, video, theater,

poetry, fiction, music. It's not only that they erase distinctions

between figuration and abstraction--by now a common enough attitude in

art--or that they happily blur the confines between art and life, and

the confines between "high" and "low" idioms. Really they are like

those lucky people for whom our usual distinctions between English and

French and Italian simply don't exist: there exists instead just one

big meta-language, and therefore problems of translation and

interpretation are likewise non-existent. They are not conceptual

artists who one day execute a work in neon and the next day one in

fiberglass, relying upon expert artisans to worry about the technical

details. No, they do their own eclectic work, in a spirit of

craftsmanship, self-reliance, resourcefulness, anti-heroism and

anti-virtuosity. Both are attentive to the details of their own lives,

which they cite with unembarassed feeling. This gives a nearly

domestic dimension to their works, and serves at the same time as a

kind of implicit criticism of the empty "professionalism" of the

current art world. Both artists have the strength of faith in their

own artistic sensibilities in whatever idiom they confront.

In Bill's description, Serafino emerges as a kind of sly and

undefinable chameleon, and a font of flowing creativity. Serafino

cultivates an impression of relaxation and elegant casualness. His art

reflects his seraphic smile; he is an artist of the light touch. Yet

Sturm und Drang are part of his artistic heritage: his works are often

composed and inspired by scenes from avant-garde theatre, as Serafino

says, a sort of „performance art, gli spettacoli erano "opere totali"

La voce era quasi "bandita" e il testo era una emanazione del corpo

dell'attore. Suoni più che parole, una sorta di "mantra" talvolta.

Improvvisazione ma anche esercizio di pratiche talvolta più vicine

allo yoga. Le esperienze di Julian Beck e del Living Teathre e nel

campo della performance sonora John Cage, avevano fortemente

influenzato le persone da cui "ero a bottega" per imparare“.

In a typically delicate work of Serafino's (”..infatti è proprio

questo andare dove gli altri non vanno….”), we see a little bird on

the sand trying to escape from the frame of the photo; the bird is a

little out of focus, as if simultaneously still there and yet already

flown off. Life is there, before us in that moment and in the moment


Serafino tells stories. He distinguishes between exterior and interior

events, and speaks about the “discrete” versus the “indiscrete” look,

that is, examining the world more deeply, without however abandoning

reality. (An example: the man with closed eyes). The paradox of

photography is that while it manifestly records exclusively what is

physically real, in the hands of a master photography ends up

representing the metaphysical, the world of dreams, memories, desires.

The artist comments: „Fotografo quello che c'è e ne riconosco la

debolezza e la fragilità davanti alla forza della mutazione delle


In Serafino`s words „ Davanti alla natura sei sempre di fronte al più

grande "Testo" che sia mai stato possibile leggere...o forse vedere. „

InTerzo racconto a vegetali (April 2002) we hear the wind in the

grass: „La natura è per me il viaggio infinito. La ripetizione

infinita, che infinita non è, e nemmeno ripetizione poi, semmai

combinazione di variabili infinite sullo stesso tema. Sono interessato

alle variabili di uno stesso tema e al gioco della casualità come

elemento di permanenza realtiva nel luogo. “ Looking at the grass, we

hear the lullaby “Guten Abend, gute Nacht” played by a child, unsure,

insecure and disturbed by little mistakes. We feel a connection

between nature and cruel human reality. “Un ondata in inverno li

trascinerà via” we read at the end of the film, when the flute is

substituted by drums and the grass is filmed in painful close-up. We

are made to experience a mixture of comfortable and uncomfortable

emotions and are forced to acknowledge the infinitely contradictory

aspects of the reality we inhabit.

Painter, photographer, video artist, poet, musician, Bill Pettit

explores tensions and connections between the earthy and the sublime,

pain and joy, the self and the other, city and country. In The

Marriage of Heaven and Hell we feel that the long abstract lines are

in the midst of a battle. The forms smash into each other and

interpenetrate, in the end creating a fluid continuum. The elements

seem to belong to a perfectly organized and articulated world which is

at the same time deeply unstable. It is a battle of energy which

becomes physically visible.

With the "steak" paintings we pass from the non-objective to an

explicit realism, which, however, suggests elements of allegory and

symbolism. The paintings are crude and direct. Bill says: “It needs to

be a surprise, a shock“ to become real. Flesh is a part of our life

and contains a deep truth of our lives. Bill writes “Consumption as a

spiritual act. Physical consumption—eating and kissing—are as close

to the sublime essence of art and poetry as anything else. And they

are also as close to the biological reduction of existence: to survive

and reproduce, as anything else." For Bill, the meat closes the cycle.

It sacrifice gives not just fuel but ecstasy.

Meat requires no philosophical explication; it simply says "eat me,

taste me, I will give you sustenance!" One could similarly say that

the art of this exhibition only asks to be looked and experienced, in

sympathy. "I make paintings and poems like I would write a love

letter“ writes Bill. “I am here wishing, regretting, wanting to…...

but resisting, for a you.“ Both artists reach out to us in a generous

embrace. Their poetic freedom induces in us a parallel sense of

liberation, of flying far away from everyday limits.

Serafino Amato – William Pettit

Quattro pezzi facili – Four easy pieces

Tuscania, 16 aprile 2011 – dalle ore 16 alle ore 20

Dark Camera – I magazzini della Lupa - Via della lupa 10 - tel. 0741 443239

www. i magazzini della

Serafino e Bill si conoscono da poco tempo. Un incontro casuale, come ne avvengono per strada e come ne avvengono, inevitabilmente, per le strade dell’arte. Non credono, in fondo, di avere molto in comune. Sono diversissimi per aspetto, età, cultura. Uno italiano e l’altro americano. Uno ha più di cinquant’anni l’altro nemmeno quaranta. Uno alto e magro, l’altro meno. Eppure qualcosa li unisce. In questo tratto di strada direbbe Serafino, che da sempre è affascinato dal “percorso” chi cammina veloce raggiunge chi sta già sullo stesso sentiero, ma chi per primo aveva intrapreso il viaggio?

Una mostra realizzata più di venti anni fa, esposta proprio a Dark Camera - Roma, da Marcello Sambati, aveva per titolo proprio “Segnavia”. Un uomo viene ripreso mentre cammina nel bosco, ha uno zaino sulle spalle. Un evidente reminescenza Heideggeriana.

Bill e’ nostalgico. Un ex patriota. Il suo percorso è fisico. Come uno straniero attraversa il tempo, il ricordo, riciclando il passato e l'immaginario insieme a tracce, a foto, a cartacce attaccate al muro. Il suo linguaggio è ciclico, anche. Scrive la stessa poesia, canta la stessa canzone, dipinge lo stesso quadro da sempre e non c’e’ differenza fra queste cose. …Tonalità e poemi, una lunga marcia versa casa, prima spinge e poi arretra muovendosi attraverso la leggerezza del tempo.

La mostra è accompagnata da un testo di Yvonne Dohna, Storico e critico d’arte.

Serafino and Bill have known each other for a short period of time. It was a casual meeting, like those that happen on the street, and like those that happen, inevitably, on the streets of Art. They don’t really have much in common. They are different in appearance, age, and culture. One is Italian and one is American. One is more than fifty, the other not yet 40. One is tall and thin, the other perhaps less so. But something brings them together.

“On this stretch of road,” writes Serafino, who has always been interested in the road and the path, “he who walks quickly reaches he who is already on the same path… but who first undertook the journey?” An exhibition of twenty years ago, shown at Marcello Sambati’s Dark Camera in Rome, was in fact titled “Segnavia” (Wegmarke). A man is filmed as he walks in the woods, he wears a backpack. An obvious reference to Heidegger.

Bill is on a similar path, perhaps more nostalgic. His journey is physical, as an ex-patriot, and temporal, through recollection and recycling the past, even if imaginary, parallel to the traces in snapshots and scraps pinned to the wall. His language too is cyclical: he writes the same poems, sings the same songs, paints the same pictures again and again, and there is no distinction between them. “Tones and poems, the long walk home, pushing, receding, moving through the lightness of time”.

The exhibition is accompanied with a text by Yvonne Dohna, art historian and critic.

Video di Serafino Amato

1980 - “DNA code”, già “Paesi Socialisti”, Super 8, 3:20 min

1989 - “Questa è una storia vera”. Su una collina a nord est di Roma. Con Benedetto Simonelli,

2003 - “Ascesi”, con Edoardo Albinati, 12 min16mm, 2:30 min;

2008 - "Ecatombe - I girini della storia" con Lorenzo Pavolini - 14 min

2010 - “Bill Looking” con William Pettit . 3 min (musica di William Pettit)

Videos By William Pettit

Moving, by William Pettit, Video, 4 min., 2010. Music: “Moving,” by Self Fantasy, 2010.

Moving and resting, being here or there, past, present, future, just walk towards it.

Dreaming, by William Pettit, Video, 3 min., 2011. Music: “Fireworks” by Self Fantasy, 2011.

Flashes of loss, a kiss makes fireworks, bright and fleeting, dreams are what was and what will be.

Waiting, by William Pettit, Video, 3 min., 2011. Music: “Seeds” by Self Fantasy, 2010.

Time exists between two heartbeats, the rain, the slow, the stranded, the waiting.

Missing, by William Pettit, video, 2:30 min., 2011. Music: “Albany” by Self Fantasy, 2011.

An imaginary journey excavated from past and future memory, within the confines of a solitary space.

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