CONVERSATION BETWEEN ENZO BENEDETTO AND LINA PASSALACQUA
In a meeting in the "Futurismo Oggi" studio, I attended and listened with interest, but without participating, to an "atypical" conversation between the editor of the magazine, Enzo Benedetto, and the painter Lina Passalacqua, who had with her a rich slide album. I have not neglected to take notes, from which I draw a series of jokes.
BENEDICT - From what you tell me and I see in this series of slides, I understand that your research, having overcome the problems of professional maturation, allows you to express yourself at best with freedom. exponents of futurism breaking away from its previous strictly figurative commitment. Behind what instinct and, if it is possible to establish it, when did you decide in this current direction?
PASSALACQUA – I have to go back in time. When I was young, for example, Lorenzo Lotto was among my inspirations and it was because I wanted to study his artworks that I decided to accept teaching painting in Jesi, in Marche Region. I detest amateurism and the slapdash attitude that are sovereign nowadays and I prefer rigor. I was attracted by oil painting technique because of its magic qualities and I was always interested in good painting of any historical period, such as Impressionism, Divisionism and the Avant-Gardes, until I understood that the most interesting one was the Futurist one.
BENEDICT - To be clearer, don't you think that the so-called "avant-garde" only finds in Futurism the strength and awareness of being "such"? However, which painters impressed you the most?
PASSALACQUA – First of all Picasso, because of his idea of space with different points of view that allow the overlap of many views from different angles; his intention was to represent the objects the way they are in reality and not the way they appear. He was the first artist who rejected the Renaissance concept of space, a rupture that broke five hundred years of history. The futurists used this liberated space but they added motion to it, basically our times. I also learned a lot from Férnand Léger, especially the idea of the object enlargement that becomes subject of the painting. I liked Kandinsky’s pure abstractionism less. Moreover, I liked futurist artists: first of all Boccioni, then Balla, Depero, etc.
BENEDICT - I do not agree on the hypothesis that the futurists have added something to the space freed by Picasso. The futurists, without prejudice to Picasso's particular merits, start from the concept of artevita, the driving idea - again in our opinion - of all activities, and their thinking is upstream of art and technical problems, but conditions them in all fields of activity. But why was he the first to mention Boccioni among the Futurists?
PASSALACQUA – In Boccioni’s paintings there is a moving energy that reflects our times. The artwork Città che sale is characterized by a chaotic violence of cosmic energies, and reality is rendered like a dynamic continuum removing the differences of time and space. On my canvases I have tried to convey those forces that intersect and represent the basis of his works. Moreover, there might also be an instinctive attachment to an artist who comes from my own land. I was also born in Calabria, in Sant’Eufemia d’Aspromonte, and I think it is quite sad that the picture gallery of Reggio Calabria does not have one of his artworks.
BENEDICT - I find your attachment to Boccioni so appreciable. I myself, since 1924 and on many occasions and in various administrations, have asked, without success, that a reproduction of his Unique Forms of Continuity in Space appears in a square (or in the Museum) without being able to get a hearing for this desire, However, all of Boccioni's work is fundamental and has been illustrating the new times ever since. From plastic dynamism that highlights motion as an expression of vitality, to states of mind that express dynamisms of feelings and ideas.
PASSALACQUA - In Balla, the real is analyzed almost as a cinematic sequence and the dynamism is represented as a repetition of elements that move in space; in Boccioni, on the other hand, it is action, motion that creates new plastic forms in space. Boccioni as it has been said - is the
BENEDETTO – How do you think you are related to these futurists? And which are the differences between the previous futurists and the futurist Artists of today?
PASSALACQUA - I'm interested in the continuous spirit of renewal and the search for the new. As a personal contribution, I insert this matter - which is also energy - of the ephemeral everyday life of the modern world into my dynamic: flash.
BENEDETTO – What do you mean by flash in painting?
PASSALACQUA - The flash is the instant. Our whole life today is struck by images for a moment, whether we look from the train or car window, or in the alternation of television channels and advertising spots, in newspaper kiosks, in illuminated signs, in the headlights of machines that flash and disappear… We live in the age of the flash and everything appears fragmented. Our feelings also suffer from this characteristic. I am impressed by the flashes of our time, by the "splinters" of life that strike us continuously. I live in a society made of flashes, which risks losing its historical and perhaps even moral memory.
BENEDETTO – I do agree to the extent that one should not lose the overview given by small details (in space and in time), otherwise everything breaks apart and crumbles like what happens after an explosion.
Why do you put also human figures in your more recent paintings, in your flashes? Don’t you think that the figure could disturb the chromatic equilibrium of the abstract ensemble of forms and of the palette and be, therefore, a dangerous distraction?
PASSALACQUA - No, if you watch TV, for example, they are always present together: we find ourselves in front of and faces and things in geometric spaces. My attempt to merge the two elements is also justified by the sensations I experience every day. It is the details, the detail that becomes the subject of the painting. In some paintings I have also tried to include fragments of the past, in particular in the painting entitled Schegge di memoria, where the reds of Pontormo mix with the cuts of a futurist space. And here is also a tribute that I intended to pay to the masters of the Renaissance. If today I have to recover the “historical memory” I cannot do it by evoking a myth, which in my opinion would no longer make sense, but by reworking fragments of images from the past that have struck me, inserting them in a modern space.
BENEDETTO – I do understand your recalling of the past, nevertheless I did not manage to see your artworks live and then it is more difficult for me to talk about them.
PASSALACQUA - In my last painting, The scooter, the flash captures a fragment of a motorcycle, a helmet and a human arm. The same can be said of the painting Finish line where the waving of a flag merges with the canopy of a racing car. And here, beyond the lesson of Léger or the futurists, that of pop-art also emerges.
BENEDICT - I understand, and I send you my best wishes for your work which finds justification and purpose in your own thoughts. But don't take away the pleasure of exhorting you to look at the other "greats" with detachment. You always try to follow the dominant instinct.
Presentation in the catalog LINA PASSALACQUA - Fragments in time and space
Typography Ugo Detti 1989 Rome
Anthological Exhibition of Municipal Museums - Church of San Paolo from 8 to 27 April 1989 Macerata