Creative rituals of artists.
If we wanted to bother anthropologists, rituals have sacredness in them.
Rituals are manifestations of desires or fears.
Death, birth, war.
Even in art there are almost sacred rites that resemble death, birth, war, which are therefore not really bureaucracies dressed up as rituals.
There are creative rites, those preceding the composition of a work, painting on canvas, writing a book.
And there are organizational rites, when the work is born and is ready to enter the world.
The most familiar rituals, namely vernissage and finissage, changed during the pandemic.
Museums and galleries have organized virtual tours and meetings via Internet.
Is it better or worse?
These are rituals that change, we don’t know if forever or only during the pandemic period.
Ten years ago I had my first solo show and I didn’t go to the vernissage.
I wanted the works to do the talking.
But changing rituals almost never gives a good impression. Silence behind the artworks becomes synonymous with narcissism.
Not being there means emphasizing absence.
Rituals have pre-established codes, even when you try to avoid them, they suddenly reappear.
I had forgotten all about this for a long time.
But I’m not talking about vernissages or social rituals, I’m talking about the first ritual ever, that of the beginning of creation.
I have always struggled with the creative act.
Long moments of pause between one work and the next, changing materials, themes, styles.
I have seldom told about it, also because today’s perception of research is often perceived as defeat or nebulousness of ideas due to the speed of the media.
A few days ago, perhaps that period of silence ended.
Of the silence of acrylics and pencils, of canvases mounted on frames.
And the ritual began, always the same.
A book, an idea from the book, a title, the stopping of hands until the idea is clearer. The call of the materials, left there to encrust.
Then the completely empty desk, the paints on the side and the brushes.
And stopping for a moment before the gaze is tired and can no longer tell if it’s doing anything right.
This rite of creation is extremely exciting.
Yet I have also discovered the ritual of getting to know others, that of telling those who follow me the various stages of composition.
Almost like looking through a keyhole.
I had never done this and realized that there is a need for storytelling.
Mind you, not exhibition, but in silence, telling how to hold a pencil, how a color was mixed.
I did more, I involved people in finding a word that I needed in the painting.
I thought that no one would participate and instead I still receive responses, even though the work is finished.
The ritual is over, the painting is finished.
But referring to another painting, there is the organizational ritual that commemorates the end of the war and the celebration of peace.
Preparing the documents from the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, describing the work, having a protocol number, stamps from a superintendent of fine arts.
Then the gallery that sends you the documents to fill out, you having to declare that you are a living artist, and then the search for a case.
Specialized companies that build cases to hold your works.
A whole capillary organization in which professionals certify that yes, you have created something and it will go to a collector.
It’s not you alone in the studio telling yourself a story, but there is someone out there willing to welcome you.
Rituals are important, they give meaning to your existence.
Personal rituals and collective rituals don’t matter, it matters to have them, honor them and perfect them.
In my rituals while creating there is frequent hand washing, making a clean slate on the desk where I work. Working on my feet Hemingway style, having a professional easel and using it only when I’m done painting. Stop working at the first doubt. Almost never draw before painting the work.
Better in the early afternoon, sometimes even late at night.
But I prefer to change the ritual each time.
The only fixed point: always have clean fingertips, perhaps the fault of a severe allergy that years ago made me lose my sense of touch for a long time and it was almost impossible to create.
The real ritual, however, is to start all over again and question oneself every time, which is not a made-up phrase.
I mean to change something of one’s own style so as not to reassure collectors completely, to feel free to do research, to change themes, to look elsewhere.
The ritual should not be change but consecration of the existing.
But, as you know, art has to change the rules and every artist has his/her own personal rituals.
My new ritual is to unite words and forms.
Looking for words with their synonyms and then putting them aside while I look for the right form.
All this brought together on a canvas, where the words explain the meaning of the forms and the forms reinforce the meaning of the words.
The words as new maps in which to navigate a new reality.
This is the idea, and these are the first personal rituals I’m working on.
Read me by searching the hashtag #wordsmaps, you’ll discover the next steps.
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