The protagonists of Stefano Di Stasio's canvases recite unknown plots. Moved by the artist's brushstrokes, they entangle the observer in a rebus with visionary and mythological features.
For the painter, it is the image that must be evocative, before logic and custom distort it. A return to the magic of the great masters that finds, in the rooms of the Museo Ettore Fico in Turin, the perfect terrain for a monographic exhibition of rare intensity. A museum whose choices are always compelling, and which is a perfect match for Di Stasio's art, who revealed a few secrets to us.
Visiting your monographic exhibition at the Fico Museum in Turin, the captions accompanying each painting are surprising. How did the idea come about?
Without any preconceived plan. Andrea Busso asked me for some notes for each painting and I thought they would be useful to accompany the catalogue, but I never thought they would end up in the exhibition. However, as chance would have it, they worked. Perhaps because there is no real explanation for my paintings. The basis of my figurative painting comes from intuition: I associate an image that comes to mind and I start to outline a figure, from there I add elements that work visually and not conceptually.
Thus, the final scene is not only about my unconscious, but also that of the other. I move in a whirlwind of images without a basic plan.
Your art has ranged from surrealism to abstract painting. How would you outline your path?
I have done a lot of American-style abstract painting, as well as à la Klee. The 20th century passed through me entirely. Then, at the end of the 1970s, I changed direction and turned the buoy of the avant-garde. If we think of the first rooms of the exhibition, we relive that baroque, the religious climate that fascinated me so much.
Over the years, it is as if my thoughts have become increasingly detached from artistic models, moving closer to my true mental process, until the last few years, characterised by peculiar geometric separations, corresponding to fantasy and dreams. These paintings mean a lot to me, after a polemical beginning, a sort of a slap in the face of public taste. We were so used to the avant-garde, that an oil painting of saints represented everything that should not be done, at the end of the 1970s. After that, my style evolved in an attempt to confess how my imagination works.
Your works have been the focus of several exhibitions. The taste of the public and gallery owners is bound to change. Is this a problem you face at the moment of creation?
Of course, gallery owners like to deal with works that correspond to today's taste, but it is not a problem I have, because I am quite free to follow my own path.
I am very curious about public comments, as I consider my characters to be 'in search of an author'. I come from a family of theatrical performers: my father is an opera singer, my brother is an actor; so, the theatre has always been present. Perhaps this is why I see painting as staging. When I was a kid, I was terrified of exhibiting myself, I was shy and I found an escape in painting, which allows me the same experience, but mute.
What do you think of the exhibition at the Museo Fico and how do you believe your art will evolve in the future?
I think it is wonderful because it is an unthinkable space in Rome. Busso is uniquely sensitive and the museum is perfect for my paintings (which are so full of images) with its empty, enormous white spaces. It is the ideal museum: modern and ready to host any kind of exhibition.
If you think back to the last rooms, I am trying to keep this kind of geometric and figurative structure, which is becoming more and more interesting to me.