Entering the trendy restaurant “The kitchen”, you run into a beautiful exposition of ceramic and iron works of art, whether hanging or standing all along the walls. We have been lucky in coming today, because the “appetizer night” gives the chance to wander about the restaurant, a glass in one’s hand, admiring the original works.
Then she comes, a young Mediterranean woman dressed in white – the artist who made all this. Michela di Paolo has gathered some of her most significant works here, a few of which are very recent.
Following her through the rooms while talking about her ceramic works, is like thinking back over a whole life, however young it is. “Every work of art is like a little covered path,” she explains while looking at a couple of works which she now perceives to be very far from her present emotional life. “They mean little to me at present, but thanks to them, now I am who I am. Through my creative work I often exorcize fear, thus I grow a little more each time.
The first works she shows me are some baked clay slabs inserted behind an iron grill.
“Can you perceive the weight of matter” Metal, terracotta, primeval things held in your hands” I like ceramic because it gives you the chance to plunge your hands into the earth.”
When we approach a more recent work, it’s the light that emerges instead: sheets of melted glass placed above sea stones and pieces of terracotta. ‘It’s the combination of matter and air; the union of earth and sky. Fragile glass is here to protect the earth, strange as it may seem.’
‘Cerase’ is a big cherry tree, provided with an iron skeleton where fruits and flowers made of Svarowski crystal were baked in clay to hang. The tree stands on real grass, which can (and should) be watered as well. On the grass, a piece of terracotta lays like a new sprout. ‘I feel like the new born tree, generated from a seed of the big one. This work was born as a memory of my father, with whom I went picking cherries from the trees.
While talking she touches and shakes the tree, inviting me to do the same. Movement takes a prominent part in her work, ‘Since it gives the work the possibility of continuing to live. People must interact with art, that’s why I want the objects to be touched. And that’s why I prefer my works to hang, since, giving birth to movement and shadow, they are not doomed to stagnate and die.’
When I ask Michela about the material she prefers to work with, she pours out a long list: plastic, metal, clay, wood, copper, polystyrene, leather; she often uses waste material to which she gives a new life.
If somebody asks her about the meaning of a particular work, she is quite reluctant to answer. ‘Sometimes I really don’t know what and why I am creating. It’s just observing and feeling it. Once finished, I can start to understand the meaning.’
Waiting for a new exhibition, (she has participated in several exhibitions and some of her work has even been shown in Japan) her work can be seen here at ‘The Kitchen.’ Enjoy your cultural gastronomic night!
by Federica Gulizia
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