Nature is orderly chaos at the service of beauty
Talking with Paola Falconi about her art VERSIONE ITALIANA
Why do you make your art?
It’s a need! It’s something I have to do! If I don’t make my works, life doesn’t smile at me and I feel myself incomplete. It’s an inner and huge need, it’s important like breathing.
Do you notice any difference between the reason why you started to produce art and the reason that is now motivating you?
At first it was mostly a need to express feelings and emotions which where inside me and I wanted to transfer to the canvas and sculptures. I let myself go a lot making my works to satisfy this need for externalization.
Now, in addition to the desire to express myself in art, there is also the desire to convey a message to those who see my works. This is always a positive message of hope and beauty that makes you feel better. Even when my works deal with negative arguments, when they speak of our dark side, sadness or anger, I always insert a small window that shows a light. I want to believe there is a message of positivity, an opportunity for rebirth and overcome the negativity.
What does inspire you to make art?
What most charms me and makes me want to make art is Nature. Nature is my infinite love. All of Nature – animals, plants, the sky, the colors, the stones – astounds and excites me.
Another huge source of inspiration are my children. Absolutely. I love their world, the world of children and young people. For example, I’ve always been fascinated by the illustrations of fairy tales’ books, they enchant me and carry me on dreaming.
Among my sources of inspiration there are also several artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Frida Kahlo, Maria Lai, Kan Yasuda, Brancusi and Nivola. But I want to talk about the women, about these extraordinary women artists. Georgia O’Keeffe inspired me for her extraordinary relationship with Nature and the leading role that she gives to that in her work. I find myself very much in the O ‘Keeffe’s desire of seeking moments of solitude, during which contemplate the beauty of Nature. She was convinced that only what Nature showed was true art, compared to many other things she saw around her made by artists. Georgia O’Keeffe definitely inspires me, also, for the color, the lights and the composition of her paintings. About composition she was influenced a lot by Arthur Dow. In particular, Dow’s book “Composition: A Series of Exercises in Art Structure for the Use of Students and Teachers” (1912) is for me a source of study and reference. In fact, I find it is still very valid and topical. Frida Kahlo inspires me a lot for the sincerity in representing herself and for the way she used to show herself without filters, as well as for the enormous courage in treating all women’s issues, such as maternity. This is not a man who speaks about women, but a woman who speaks about herself, with honesty and courage.
Another great women artist I refer to is Maria Lai, mainly for her ability to preserve, even at the top of his fame, a precious child candor, a spontaneity in producing her works and an ability to create masterpieces with the same curious spirit and fun of a child who plays with her toys.
In your opinion, is there a trait common to all these great artists?
Yes, it is probably the fact that they have been successful in a world with a strong masculine connotation, where women were few and oppressed. Just think about the absurd accusations, made to Georgia O’Keeffe regarding alleged sexual content in the representation of her floral subjects. She had awful criticism. Even Frida Kahlo and Maria Lai have established their art career in a world of men. I am not interested to the label of “feminist” artist, but it concerns me very much that women have the role they deserve, even in art.
What does it mean to you to make art?
Life! Art is an essential part of me, it’s me! Art is the tool through which I communicate with the most precious part of myself and make public a positive message that will help making this world a better place.
While realizing my works there is always a rational opening that answers to the need of giving importance to the composition. I am, in fact, convinced that through the care of the composition you will be able to better communicate your message. Our brain recognizes certain orders and when you make a good picture, you communicate a balance and a recognizable beauty. After this rational opening, I let myself go to my channels, mainly to the color and nature, even in its chaos, because Nature is orderly chaos at the service of beauty. Then I let myself go and enjoy it, I work a lot on the design …
My goal is to reach an expressiveness spontaneous and free from brakes and reticence.
What is unique or special about how you make your works?
The fact of not having attended art school to high school, had put me in the position to learn the techniques of painting directly from the artists who had been my mentors. I believe that this was my greatest fortune which is reflected in a marked expressive freedom. This freedom is something that I preserve with joy, because it provides spontaneity to my works.
Between sculpture and painting, what language do you feel more effective to communicate your artistic message?
They are equivalent. Sculpture is the language which I started with. It was also the subject of my academic studies. It was an instinctive choice I’ve never regretted. Although I now feel much more attracted by the drawing and painting as a means of expression, sculpture continues to be present in the search for three-dimensionality that often finds place in my paintings and graphic works.
Paola Falconi was born in Cagliari (May 1968). She spent a happy childhood, made of outdoor games, some little friends and long moments reading books of fairy tales. Even today, the suggestion of those fairy tale images are present in her works.
At the end of Primary school, Paola Falconi attended a music school and studied piano. Music took a place in her heart that never abandoned; it will be an indispensable companion for every moment of her artistic creation.
After three years of music school, she studied at Grammar School, whilst at University she went to Bologna in order to study Law. While in Bologna, Paola Falconi developed a passion for reading artists biographies, including Henri Matisse’s. It was taking shape in her mind the idea that her life path wouldn’t have been to follow her father’s footsteps in the legal profession, but to learn to express her personality through the visual language of drawing and painting.
Back to Cagliari, she studied as a private student, under the precise and loving guidance of two artists: Professor Maria Grazia Oppo Falqui and Professor Ines Corona, in order to achieve a Diploma in Art (1989). In 1989 the artist matriculated at Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, where she completed the first two years of study, then moved to Carrara and completed her studies toward the Diploma in Sculpture, cum laude in 1993.
After PF went back to her hometown, where she continued her artistic work about the languages of drawing, painting and sculpture. Later the artist’s work, immersed in the contemporary reality, but always with a reference to the inner fantasy world, were exhibited in various Cagliari’s museums and galleries. A Paola Falconi’s sculpture competed in Costantino Nivola Sculpture Award (1995), whilst other works of her were used to enrich different businesses spaces and shops in Cagliari.
From 1996 until 2014, the artist didn’t participate in any exhibition, in those years, inspired by the beauty of Sardinia and by his loving family, composed of her husband Mario Mariani and their four children, she continued her studio work and developed her artistic research.
The works of PF are now included in many private collections and have been exhibited in 2015 at Le Dame Art Gallery in London.
You cannot get an idea about the production of Paola Falconi with just a quick look.
Her art does not reveal itself at first glance and, if you stop at that point, the only result you get is being misled. Her works speak an intellectual and polished language, they are direct to the soul, but they ask to the mind to act as their interpreter. The message is revealed to those who stop, who wonder, in recognition of their attention.
It’s an Art which deliberately and methodically relies on simplicity and beauty for communicating its content.
A first look will not be enough to decode the choice of simplicity made by the artist in the essentiality of forms for what concerns the sculptures, and in the cleanness of the lines for drawings and paintings.
We must pause to observe detail after detail to understand that this is not the simplicity of an immature, or not fully developed language, but it is instead the result of a constant effort by the artist to get to the essence of things, in a process leading to elevation and spiritual sublimation.
Even the choice of searching for beauty and to represent it, must not be misleading. For the artist, in fact, beauty is not an idealised representation of reality, but the means by which to overcome the tragedies and suffering. To draw, paint and sculpt the beauty is equivalent to a declaration of hope made by the artist with firm belief.
Then it will be just these two features, simplicity and beauty, pursued with insistent belief, to lead the viewer towards the understanding of Paola Falconi works. Those who have curious and open- minded spirit will find out, that the essence of her works can just be the generous sharing of the beauty of a single moment, of a face or landscape.
Curator: Katyuscia Carta