In conversation with Alessandro Roma

ANNUAL Magazine : Inspired by your imaginary travels, you create landscapes in which are superimposed plant and animal patterns, textures and techniques. Your technique explores the limits of the pictorial tradition   and develops a reflection on the nature of perception.

Your works remind me of Locus Amoenus which is defined by a pleasant garden dedicated to philosophical dialogue and poetic exchange. Your fictional landscapes seem to be pleasant places. But the concept of Locus Amoenus cannot be conceived without its contrary the concept of Locus Terribilis… Are your landscapes potentially dangerous ?

Alessandro Roma : When you look my works it is not immediately recognizable as a landscape, but there are some shapes, clues which remind to it. The images are fragmented in order to have different layers of reading like in the nature. I want to let the viewer’s freedom to go inside my work, I do not believe when Art is literal.

AM : There are many different patterns in your works to create these imaginary gardens. Some of the patterns come from a collection of shapes and textures that you use in your collage, and the others directly from your imagination ?

AR : The imagination occupies a wide part in my work process. I collect images as a beginning for my imagination.

AM : You use different mediums such as painting, collage, drawing, sculpture, printed fabric… The link between these works is the superimposition of layers. Do you think that these works belong to a same creative process : an accumulation of materials ?

AR : I think the link among these different surfaces is how the shapes find their own balance on the various materials.

AM : The garden is the place where constant metamorphosis and evolutions occur. Are you interested in the symbolic dimension of the garden ?

AR : It is something that tries to clamber on the surface instead of going deeply.

From left to right: Implying an intuitive worldview, 2013, oil, spray, collage, thread on paper, 150 x 122 cm / Try to focus on one’s own world, 2015, graphite pencil, color spray and watercolor on paper, 150 x 68,5 cm / Accommodates to degradation and attrition, 2013, oil, spray, collage, thread on paper, 150 x 122 cm / Untitled, 2014, painted terracotta, 50 x 30 x 30 cm

AM : In your recent paintings, drawings and collages, some motifs are recognizable but others are blurred. In the paintings, some parts are extremely precise and others are hazy. Do you think that these unidentifiable shapes allow the viewer to interpret the image his/her own way ?

AR : Yes.

AM : These organic elements that you use are neither figurative, neither abstract. Finally this traditional distinction does not make any sense with your works ?

AR : I could say my works are not figurative neither abstract but they try to find an equilibrium.

AM : Do you feel close to the surrealist approach and experiences regarding the construction of an image through collage/decalcomania technique ?

AR : I love artists as Max Ernst, Kurt Schwitters, Alberto Savinio, Ashley Gorky. I am deeply interested in their works as they developed the relation between the images the their imagination.

AM : In one of our discussions, you mentioned Giorgio Manganelli as a reference. In which ways, does this author influence your work ?

AR : Yes, in particular “La palude definitiva” his last book. I did a group of works about this book and it was the only time that I worked to follow a subject. If you have the occasion to read it, you could discover an interesting surrealist writing.

AM : Some parallels could be imagined between your work and literature. For example, with the representation of the nature in literature. I think of Julie’s garden in La Nouvelle Héloïse written by Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the description of an ideal garden. Do you think that your creative process could be compared to the descriptive process of the author ?

AR : I don’t know but I love to walk. It helps me not to think. I rediscover a contact between my mind and my body while I walk. In this act, a balance among the senses rises, and that awakens the attention about what surrounds me. It creates a perception on different levels: tactile, visual, olfactory, the perception is stratified.

AM : By inviting the viewer to imagine his/her own reading, do you consider these embedded narratives as part of the work ?

AR : Not during the shows. It could happen when I am in my studio and I argue with some friends. It is rare as the relationship between me and my work is really strong.

Alessandro Roma
Alessandro Roma, Untitled, 2014­­, Two fabrics, print, color, 130 x 300 cm



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