June - September 2008

“Painting has a vitality that is continuously renewing itself, it looks back to the past in order to reflect the future”. Just as the painting she is talking about, Lina Passalacqua also has an inner and outer vitality which makes her enthusiastic when she talks about her life, her affections and her past and future projects.
A very strong will and perseverance allowed her to change a destiny set by other people that would not have allowed her to fulfil her dreams, her aspirations, to a career as an actress during her youth and as a painter during all her life.
She was student of the painter and engraver Carlo Alberto Petrucci who was the President of the San Luca Academy of Rome and a friend of Giorgio Morandi. Since she was young she always showed a strong talent for drawing and the art of portrait in particular, therefore, at the beginning of the XNUMX’s she decided to devote herself to the arts of painting and drawing and to teach them at school. She started to teach in Jesi (Marche Region) where she came close to the art of Lorenzo Lotto.
When she was an actress wandering across Italy she came close to the masterpieces of the great masters of the past visiting the most important Museums of the peninsula. But it is only after her contact with Futurism, with Balla’s and Boccioni’s artworks and with the poetry of Fernand Léger that she shaped her style and at last reached a peculiar peak along her career.
“In Futurists’ paintings the space reflects the space of our time”; Lina acknowledges Futurists being the first ones to understand that movement is deeply rooted in our age. “Today, during our life we are constantly dealing with images that last for a moment, when we look outside of the train or of the car window, when we watch TV or the ads, when we look at the luminous insignia and when we look at the car’s lights flashing... we do live in a flash area where everything looks fragmentary and our feelings as well”, says the artist in a 1990s’ video about the story of her life. “I am impressed by the flashes of our time, by the “splinters” of life which are continuously hitting us. I live in a flash society that is at risk of losing its historical memory and, maybe, the moral one as well”. This video, produced by Teleromacine, edited by Stefania Severi and directed by Pino Passalacqua which won the XNUMXrd prize at the IIIrd Festival Cinema and Art of Rome, narrates Lina’s life as an artist, a woman and a teacher (at the XNUMXst Art High School of Rome) the family life with her two daughters, but above all, her big passion for art.
The artworks of Lina Passalacqua are always based on movement and on the division and the reassembling of the image, starting from the famous painting cycles of Flights and Sails that represent a big amount of her artistic production to the less known “drawings –paintings” defined (as named) in one of Renato Civello’s writings, that Lina started to paint in 1967 during the Pop Art period when she was deeply impressed by Andy Warhol and other artists of the time. She used the magazines and the newspapers of the period, transferring the images on paper first, and by using colour and china root afterwards she created ephemeral and strong flashes of life, contemporary memories of the time and of the space. These are unique works impossible to be made with todays newspapers because of the different ink composition which enables the image to be transferred on paper.
Stylishly, her artworks are a fusion between Futurism and Pop Art enriched by a strong dynamism.
About Boccioni, who is one of the artists she is influenced by because his canvases are characterized by the energy in motion typical of our time, Lina says “in Boccioni’s art it is the action, the movement that creates new plastic forms within the space. It has been said that Boccioni is the lyric representative of modern life based on speed and contemporaneity of knowledge and communication. The City of the Sun is characterized by chaotic violence, by unrestrained cosmic energies and natural reality is interpreted as dynamic continuity excluding any difference between time and space. I have tried to put in those cross-over forces which are the basis of his work”
Lina was also influenced by Balla, to whom she dedicated Tribute to Balla in 1987 and about whom she says “the truth nearly looks like a cinematographic sequence and dynamism is given by a repetition of the elements moving in the space”.
Another characteristic of her “drawings – paintings” is the enlargement of the object which becomes the subject of the canvas, just like Ferand Léger used to do. In these paintings the attention is mainly focused on details, it is the detail that becomes the subject.
Nature, human beings, cars and gears merge, describing the contemporary world. “If today, I have to rescue the historical memory, I can’t do it through the myth because it does not make sense anymore, therefore I do revise image fragments from the past which impressed me and I insert them in the modern space. I do believe in the active and cognitive role of the painting, it is for this reason that I have chosen the geometric synthesis of the image. I do like the primordial geometric order in which I find a relevant conceptual resonance with the inner logic”.
In this respect, Picasso is another inspirational source due to his conception of space where the various points of view allow the overlapping of views from different perspectives representing the objects the way they are in reality and not the way they appear.
Futurism, Pop – Art, Cubism, but also the remarkable mannerists of the Renaissance, like Lotto and Pontormo are revived in Lina Passalacqua’s works, creating fascinating and intriguing compositions.
Everyday life, society, sport and sacred art are the main themes of the “drawings – paintings”.
on which the artist is focusing) and is running from an appointment to another. In other artworks such as Gears and It’s chaotic (both from 1985) the attention is focused on machines considered, at the same time, modern work instruments but also a source of alienation, maybe a souvenir of Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times.
The car is another recurring theme and particularly road accidents, because of their connection to the “unhealthy” dynamism of contemporary society. In the same way, in 1985, she defined the watch the The idol of the time.
Some other works are named after important contemporary people, like Tribute to Barbard, dedicated to the great surgeon, and Paul VI, both from 1968.
Sometimes these artworks anticipate the future, like China is near which dates back to 1967 and it is still a relevant topic.
One part of the “drawings – paintings” made in 1969 is dedicated to sport and it was exhibited during the Special Congress AICS (Italian Association of Sport Clubs) which was held in Viareggio in the same year.
Sacred art is also one of the themes of these artworks. The works made in 1968 are particularly remarkable like ...The Messiah..., where it is possible to see the face of Christ within a futurist composition. Bell tollings and I beg you are made using the same style, while the more dramatic Calvary is characterized by colourful and vivid spirals enveloping the crosses of Golgota.
Feelings are leading characters in Lina Passalacqua’s artworks, no matter the depicted topic. The artist manages to transfer the feelings of her life and of her memories onto her works with delicacy of the soul and sensibility, putting them into a reality that induces us to think and deals with everybody. During these last years, these artworks were exhibited in numerous shows and festivals but only today the artist decided to show them all together. This is the only way to appreciate them completely, considering that together they represent thirty years of career path. The “drawings – paintings” of Lina Passalacqua have been used to illustrate many poetry and literature books because of their delicacy, their refinement and their strong expressivity. Recently, during the “Pizzo Prize”, Lina received the President of the Republic’s Gold Medal because “she is one of the most remarkable successors of the futurists, in confirmation of the topicality of the ideas and of the aims of Marinetti’s movement”.

Presentation in the catalog FLASH Graphics 1960-1990

Roman Publishing Company, February 2009 Rome

Anthological Exhibition Palazzo Camerale - Liceo Artistico Ripetta from 7 to 21 March 2009 Rome