Interview with Davide Canepa for Art of Tricity (Sztuka Trojmiasta) [EN]
Those who follow the events in the Tri-City have certainly heard his name. He arrived from Italy with his wife Anna. He settled in Sopot and from that moment we had the opportunity to see his works in many places, including Sztuka Wyboru, Klub Atelier, WL4 - Art Space and more recently BOTO Theatre.
SzT: What made you become an artist?
DC: I never planned to be an artist. Before I used to paint only on sheets of paper, because I was designing fashion. To be honest, the first time I discovered the pleasure of painting with paints and enamels was when I was renovating a house in Italy and I decided to decorate its walls in an unusual way. Later on I started painting on canvas and that’s how it all started. I thought that I could use the canvas to reflect our society and in the simplest possible way show concepts, that seem to us difficult but in reality are really easy to understand.
By using symbols and icons those concepts can be accessible to everyone and stimulate people to research the truth and question certain matters.
We have now entered a new era – Era of Acquarius - and all the old values became obsolete, we cannot face the new reality in the old way. The main point of my works is to awaken people, to make them question the old way of thinking and inspire them to change. That’s why some of my works are considered controversial, because they touch subjects that some people are still not ready to face. On the other hand, a big part of my works are universal, timeless truths which aim to help humanity in finding the balance, the unity they need to welcome the new world in a spiritual way.
SzT: What inspires you?
DC: Since I was a kid, I have always liked disassembling things, to see how they work, repair them and put them back together. I wanted to be a mechanic. I can say that I do exactly the same thing with our society – I observe human behaviour, separate the individuals with their stories, reconnect them to the place they occupy and look again at their role in our world. We still behave in such a mechanical way that this process of understanding is really easy for me. I would like to inspire people to change their lives by questioning the world and finding their own uniqueness.
Along with the observation of the society, my great sources of inspiration have always been philosophy and music.
SzT: Describe how your works are made.
DC: I paint mostly on canvas, which I place horizontally – I’ve never had an easel. It’s easier for me to work on two sawhorses, because I use big quantities of enamels. Since I’ve started in an unusual way, I’ve been using everything I had available in the garage. Therefore all the materials involved in the technique are things you don't find in an art-shop - enamels, bolts, big brushes, combs, spoons, screwdrivers, driller, foam, glue and sand. Practically the only traditional element of my art is the canvas. I paint in layers and I don't have a fixed procedure to follow because improvisation always plays a key-role. Dripping is a part I really like, because you don't touch the canvas, you just dance with the colour dropped from a dry brush, a stick or your hands to accomplish the right effect, depending on the vibration the artwork has in its nature. You are between the sky and the earth andit's a completely different way of controlling the movement, for example the lines or the drops of paints reach the surface in delay and the sound they create when they touch the canvas is an important part of the process too; everything has to be in balance. For the same reason the colours I choose have to be accurate for the energetic field of the creation.
SzT: In your opinion, who is an artist for the society? Is it easy to be one?
DC: Each of us is an artist, it is in our nature, only we forget about it with time. Children are all artists, because they still have that pure innocence and curiosity that we somehow lose in the later life. While we grow up we are told to live our lives a certain way and after years and years of repeating it to us, we adapt and become some kind of robots, slaves of our own ideas. Our society wants to mantain its status, so it works in a way that it will praise all the people, all the professions and all the artists that will serve its target. This way art is not free. However we still can get out of that vicious circle, but first we need to clear out from what has been imposed on us from outside, only then we can express ourselves freely.
SzT: Do you have a Master?
DC: There are individuals I truly appreciate for what they have done, Zhuangzi is certainly one of them, I consider his book a masterpiece of literature, creativity and nature, and I know I am not exagerating. I have a lot of respect for philosophers like Max Stirner and Jiddu Krishnamurti for the amazing work they did.
SzT: Which work is the closest to you and why?
DC: I don't have one favorite work, I just appreciate the ones where the concept and the visual representation were done in balance with the energy they had to give. However I don’t usually feel attached to them, because they are not the image of my personal experience, I try to show what I see as an aware being rather than as Davide Canepa. My ego is something I would like to keep absent from the works.
SzT: Do you like the contact with the viewers? Do you sometimes discuss your works with them? What is a vernissage to you?
DC: Yes, I like the contact with the viewers and I talk to them a lot, it’s very important to be close as a community, to feel connected. The world of contemporary art went too far from people, it became distant and uncomprehensible, like an old arrogant lady that only wants to be worshipped while she just cares about her image. Why? Art should be accessible to everyone. Groups don’t work, everybody should have the same chance to get inspiration from the artistic expression.
A vernissage should be a presentation of works – that means discussing them, also in a critical way, exchanging views and inspirations, not only inviting friends and family and fishing for compliments. Otherwise art becomes only an extention of our ego.
SzT: How is Polish art environment different from the Italian one, if at all?
DC: It seems to me like here in Poland people are more curious, and curiosity is necessary for questioning the world around us and creating a better life. Many individuals feel the importance of the artistic expression, people of every age appreciate all forms of art, from street art to opera, without looking at the surface, just following their hearts. The mentality of people here is fresher and more dynamic, while In Italy the art environment is too traditional and closed, moreover art is a victim of huge speculations of gallery directors and art critics.
SzT: What are your nearest art plans?
DC: Life is full of surprised, so we’ll see what it brings me. The vernissage in Boto Theatre was the
last one from the first session of my exhibitions in Poland. It’s hard for me to plan anything, because each day everything can change. I’m a free spirit. However I would like to stay in Trojmiasto for longer. In the meantime I’ve already found a studio where me and Anna will create, so I will be able to continue my work.
Thank you for the interview, if you allow me I’d like to say thanks to my wife Anna for all the important work and support she has given me, and to all the special people I have met here in Poland.
SzT: Thank you.
Art review - Rafał Radwański
The sentence "If you want to change the world - start from yourself" became the artistic credo of Davide Canepa, a young Italian artist who found his place in the world in Sopot. The artworks of this painter from Genoa were recently exhibited at Warzywniak Art Gallery in Gdansk Oliwa. The exhibition called "Equilibrum" is a dressed in an art form seeking original harmony in the "fury and scream" of the modern world. Simone Weil's words "Only balance annihilates strength" seem to correspond well with the artistic message of Davide Canepa.
The creative questioning of the surrounding reality manifests itself in the works of the Italian artist through irony, the negation of all imposed orders that restrict and impede the development of the individual. Tearing off successive layers of the world is supposed to show its subcutaneous turmoil. There is a desire to build a direct relationship with the viewer, a relationship free of any ornaments and directions. Davide Canepa is not afraid of controversy, an example of it is the use of swastika in one of his earlier works. The aim of the Italian artist is to fight dangerous ignorance, and drawing attention to the appropriation of original symbols by totalitarian regimes also fits this context. It also proves the author’s openness to inspirations from diverse cultural backgrounds and the rejection of any geographical restrictions.
When it comes to the choice of form Davide Canepa does not stick slavishly to conventional way of painting either and although in today's artistic reality even when one comes from Genoa it is hard to discover America, the scale of colour inventiveness of that young artist can be impressive. In his negation of the meaning of canvas, which he often cuts and burns, as well as the use of handprints, he follows the path laid out by Yves Klein. On the other hand, using certain elements from the artistic arsenal of abstract expressionism implies associations with Jackson Pollock. Davide Canepa combines references to universal archetypes of Carl Gustav Jung with the energy of street art.
Despite such diverse inspirations, the creative proposal of the Italian artist remains coherent and open to a wide spectrum of interpretative possibilities.
Recenzja - Rafał Radwański [PL]
Zdanie "Jeśli pragniesz zmienić świat - zacznij od siebie" stało się artystycznym credo Davide Canepy, młodego włoskiego artysty, który swoje miejsce na ziemi odnalazł w Sopocie. Ekspozycję malarstwa tego pochodzącego z Genui twórcy zaprezentowała ostatnio oliwska Galeria Sztuki Warzywniak. Wystawa zatytułowana "Equilibrum" to ubrane w formę plastyczną poszukiwanie pierwotnej harmonii w wypełnionym "wściekłością i wrzaskiem" współczesnym świecie. Słowa Simone Weil: "Tylko równowaga unicestwia siłę" wydają się dobrze korespondować również z artystycznym przesłaniem Davide Canepy.
Twórcze zakwestionowanie otaczającej rzeczywistości przejawia się w pracach włoskiego artysty poprzez ironię, negację wszelkich narzuconych porządków, które ograniczają i krępują rozwój jednostki. Zdzieranie kolejnych powłok świata ma ukazać jego podskórne wrzenie. Do głosu dochodzi pragnienie zbudowania bezpośredniej relacji z odbiorcą, relacji wolnej od wszelkich ozdobników i "didaskaliów". Davide Canepa nie boi się kontrowersji, czego przykładem stało się wykorzystanie swastyk w jednej z wcześniejszych prac.
Celem włoskiego artysty jest bowiem walka z niebezpieczną ignorancją a zwrócenie uwagi na zawłaszczanie pierwotnych symboli przez totalitarne reżimy także wpisuje się w ten kontekst. To również dowód otwarcia się autora oliwskiej wystawy na inspiracje wywodzące się z różnorodnych kręgów kulturowych i odrzucenie wszelkich geograficznych ograniczeń. W sferze wyborów formalnych Davide Canepa także nie trzyma się niewolniczo konwencjonalnych sposobów obrazowania i choć w dzisiejszej rzeczywistości artystycznej nawet gdy się pochodzi z Genui trudno odkryć Amerykę, to skala inwencji kolorystycznej młodego twórcy może robić wrażenie. W swojej negacji znaczenia płótna, które często tnie i pali, w wykorzystaniu odcisków rąk podąża drogą wytyczoną przez Yvesa Kleina. Z kolei wykorzystywanie pewnych elementów plastycznego
arsenału ekspresjonizmu abstrakcyjnego nasuwa skojarzenia z dokonaniami Jacksona Pollocka. Odwołania do koncepcji uniwersalnych archetypów Carla Gustawa Junga Davide Canepa łączy z energią sztuki ulicy.
Pomimo tak różnorodnych inspiracji twórcza propozycja włoskiego artysty pozostaje spójna i otwartana szerokie spektrum możliwości interpretacyjnych.
Reportaż TVP Polonia 24 - 08.01.2016 (PL)
Solo Exhibition "Break Free" @ Sztuka Wyboru (Gdansk - PL) - 12.2015
AMARU Interviews: Davide Canepa (Italian Artist) - 06.2015