Carmine Calvanese and the South becoming North

Carmine Calvanese and the South becoming North

Meeting with Carmine Calvanese, at Caffè Sacher in Trieste. He is passing through Trieste to go to Ljubljana to visit the Cukrarna, a former sugar refinery transformed into an exhibition space for contemporary art.

Carmine Calvanese, Testa o croce (triptych), 2021, digital painting on hot molded pvc, 300 x 120 cm. Photo by Ulisse De Martin, courtesy Galleria Santo Ficara

Andrea Panfili: You are originally from Salerno, why did you move to Veneto?
Carmine Calvanese: I was born in Salerno, a city full of sun and sea, but the city is a kind of favour, surrounded by a colored ribbon and where contemporary art doesn’t have much space. Fortune (good or bad, who knows?) brought me to the North, and I must say that I am very happy.

Specifically, what are your relations with Trieste?
Trieste has various interesting realities: there is the MLZ gallery which participates in fairs and deals with art at an international level and then the great painter and friend Antonio Sofianopulo lives there. Furthermore, the city is renewing itself after years of sleepiness.

Carmine Calvanese, Volo grazioso, 2023, AI software + digital painting software, cm 50 x 50. Photo by Ulisse De Martin, courtesy Giuly Lavina collection

Let’s talk about your artistic work. Your language is very particular. Do you have any relationship with architecture?
More than with the architecture, I would say that it has a relationship with the keystone: a playful part in which it is possible to ride like a roller coaster. Let me explain better: my language does not create the still work to be consumed, but to be erased, to then reappear in another form; they are recyclable works. This operation goes well with my playful soul and with today’s way of thinking. In short, I find that there is a great need for happiness and light-heartedness, and today, the artistic language often appears monotonous, given that it does not have the capacity to involve large sections of the population. But history teaches that what remains can be seen over long distances.

Carmine Calvanese, Architetto accartocciato, 2021, digital photo on hot-molded pvc, 50 x 40 cm. Photo by Ulisse De Martin, courtesy of Maurizio Dall’Armellina collection

How do the ideas for your creations arise?
In my case it’s not about ideas, I’d rather say it’s a congenital fact, created years ago. We all know that each person grows up to improve the ego from situations that occurred before and during childhood. Personally, I had to fill a part of me that was not satisfied with playing, that is, in the proper sense of having fun with toys. I honestly found this outburst as an adult and I’d say it exploded to the point of mistaking a living person for a puppet. It is no coincidence that my favorite teacher is Antonio De Curtis, better known as Totò. So the creations don’t start from the outside, but from within or, better, from a symbiosis; in this way I accept everything that my soul offers me for sifting, clearly taking into consideration all the culture from the past. The images, in my case, arrive ironic, playful and conceptual because the forms are canceled by slipping into other images, or crumpled to preserve the content and mystery within them. My artistic career was framed by Edoardo Di Mauro as “Italian Ironic Conceptualism” developed with exhibitions and debates, in the early 90s. Today my artistic work has opened up to other expressive possibilities: I use artificial intelligence and various software to create digital paintings and short videos.

Carmine Calvanese, Barone, 2021, hot molded pvc and digital painting, cm 100 x 70. Photo by Ulisse De Martin, courtesy Museo del Somaro

In Revine Lago, you opened a space where you organize exhibitions, meetings, musical evenings, poetry and conferences; Can you tell us a few words about the motivations that led you to take this step?
Surrounding myself with friends who express themselves in all artistic fields is an enrichment, however this second activity has always been present in my life. In fact, years ago, in Conegliano, I had opened the Spazio Biblo. This is why this new space in Revine Lago, near Treviso, called Viavai, is in some way a continuation of the other. The difference lies in the fact that the latter was born as open-air evenings. Only sometimes Spazio Viavai migrates indoors due to rain and cold. The events take place until late at night. Intense evenings, with good food and wine, with interviews and photo shoots with the artists, and then everything is documented on Instagram, YouTube, FB. This is possible thanks to a team of collaborators who support me. For communication, photography/video and interviews Ulisse De Martin with Antonella Fava, for presentations Luciano Paronetto..

Vernissage at Museo del Somaro, Porta Fucsia – Vittorio Veneto, 2023. Curated by Nello Teodori and Spazio Viavai. Photo by Ulisse De Martin

Can you tell us something about the latest appointments at the Viavai space and what you have planned for the future?
The latest events have involved artists such as Ernesto Jannini, the Piombino group (Pino Modica, Stefano Fontana, Salvatore Falci and Cesare Pietroiusti) who have participated with their works thanks to the artist Nello Teodori, director of the Donkey Museum in Gualdo Tadino. Then I hosted Maurizio Cannavacciuolo, Claudio Massini, Giuly Lavina’s collection, Annamaria Iodice, Carlo Fontana, the poets Mirko Ongaro, Francesca Cursi, Wulf Stefano, Lancerotto Massimiliano, Rosanna Boraso, Andrea De Rocco. The musicians Vanni Benatelli, Mattia Gardenal, Pino Accotto, Nicola Vallefuoco, Marco Dianese and Barbara Gogan. Then I involved Teatro Instabile (Valdobbiaden)e with Maurizio Ruggiero, other diversified associations and spaces in the area such as La Porte Fucsia, Spazio D’Argine, Officinapoesia, Associazione Zeneda, Rotonda di Villa Papadopoli and Vittorio Eventi. With the “Census” project (a kind of annual appointment) I address the territory, involving young and old talents. In this way I hosted Massimiliana Sonego, Stefano Bernardi, Alessandro Cadamuro, Ampelio Zappalorto and many others. Soon there will be an appointment with Ennio Bianco with an exhibition and conference on AI that will involve the artist Igor Imhof. Then there will be the historian and art critic Gabriele Perretta who will present his latest book. I am negotiating to have artist friends like Davide Coltro, Silvano Tessarollo, Walter Bortolossi. I’m thinking of an exhibition by the “Piombino Group”, while many other projects are being defined..

Andrea Panfili



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