Palermo is a city that always strikes you, the long history of the city and the succession of numerous civilizations and peoples have given it an enormous unique artistic heritage and influences with the past. The city of Palermo was founded by the Phoenicians with the name Zyz. Panormos: the Greeks called it this way because the two rivers that surrounded it (the Kemonia and the Papireto) created an enormous natural landing place. This name spread thanks to the strengthening of the Greek influence on the island.
The charm of Palermo comes from its gardens, its perfume, its liveliness, its population, its colours, its streets and its baroque palaces. It is for those who always love to catch the most hidden aspects when looking at a city with different eyes thanks to its visceral beauty and through Claudia Quintieri’s book: “Palermo mon amour”.
The photographic book has images of great aesthetic importance that give us the ability to tell us about Palermo, made by Claudia in 2018 when she was struck by lightning during her first visit to the city, during the period of Manifesta. The beautiful love poems were made in 2019. Quintieri’s electrocution of the city of Palermo is thus dedicated in a unique book full of stories, thus linking photography and poems united by love. The images give the idea of a Palermo deep between despair and beauty, the poems reveal a torment of love. Everything is definitely very detailed and studied by the artist, ready to question us and ask questions that come inside us and touch us inside thinking about the love of our cities, and trying to grasp it…
We meet the artist Claudia Quintieri in her studio in rome for this interview:
1- How does your artistic path begin?
My artistic path begins in 2001 with the video The Memory followed by the video Duration of 2004. Then, for a long time, I moved away from artistic creation until 2009 when I made the video Venere metropolitana (Metropolitan Venus), and from here was born my real artistic path made of experimentations with different languages to better express my needs. As for literature, I wrote my first book when I was eight years old and I have never abandoned writing, my companion in the interstices of my emotions, in the nuances of my being. Photography comes in adulthood and is a new love. My photographic eye is generated by a stratification of knowledge of works that cross the whole history of art.
2- Is the book dedicated to an audience of all ages?
My book, Palermo mon amour, can be read by a wide audience from adolescence onwards. Young people can find themselves in those love torments that are typical of their age and certainly can deepen a visual knowledge of the city of Palermo. Adults can immerse themselves in reading, at a different level that always concerns the torment of love, and in a virtual visit to the city of Palermo from my point of view, but all with a different awareness given by their personal path that certainly consists of a stratification of experiences already matured with which you can confront in the book. For all these reasons I would like to present it in Palermo.
3- Tell us in detail about the creation of one of your works?
As for the videos, I have a thought, a dream or I make a reflection that then become a visual representation and I choose the right language to realize the vision. Photography is generated by the desire to capture the roots of a place. As far as literature is concerned, I get carried away by an urgency to which I follow and to which I add a careful subsequent meditation.
4- Are you inspired by any artist in particular?
More than inspiring myself, I have passions. As for video I love Bill Viola, Nam June Paik and Wolf Vostell, as for photography I love Mario Giacomelli, Gianni Berengo Gardin, Letizia Battaglia and David La Chapelle, as for literature I love Jacques Prévert, Alda Merini, Virginia Woolf, Marcel Proust and Gabriel Garcia Màrquez. But there are many other authors that I have not mentioned in all the different languages.
5- Telling through photography and asking questions through the reading of poems, when is important for you?
For me it is important to express myself by whatever means I have at my disposal, essential is the fact that I express myself, that’s why I work with art and writing as a journalist.
6- How difficult is the choice of images in a context of beauty? What would you like to give to your audience through this book?
The choice of images is essential to immerse the reader in a certain atmosphere, to immerse him/her in the everyday life of a place, in a precise context; to accompany him/her in the discovery of sensations that perhaps they would not have had through their visual experience. I would like my book to open my eyes to my concept of love. I tell, in the images, details of a desolate Palermo, decadent but at the same time rich in beauty – that’s why I fell in love with Palermo – just as in the poems you can read a torment accompanied by the beauty of feeling. Love is definitely what drives me to create and is a fundamental ingredient of the book.
7- What is the meaning of your creative experience?
My creative will is based on a reflection on identity: people, places. It is my desire to go to the root of the things of humanity and what represents it. It is a search that is both conceptual and real.
8- A parenthesis that closes, another one that opens…tell us what are your next projects?
With Covid a lot of things have stopped, so I have two next projects: a personal exhibition of mine in Rome on September 29th at the Galleria Minima in which I exhibit several videos and a double personal exhibition on a date to be destined in which I exhibit videos and photographs.
9- To finish: the projects evolve, how does the artist evolve?
Exactly. The projects take shape starting from the maturation of the artist. They change according to previous experiences and arrive at some new landing place through open paths that could also arise from a mistake during the design phase. Everything that surrounds us can be a stimulus to take a new path, the important thing is to be able to grasp that stimulus.
10- Next book?
The next literary effort is the book Raggiro del mondo in 80 years, an autobiography of the anthropologist and journalist Giorgio Fabretti, obviously written in a book that has been written in a very short space of time.
Some Poems of the art book “Palermo mon amour” by Claudia Quintieri:
The complicated verbal intercourse
Over the past few hours,
me not recognizing you
I savor you like this
in the fog of the late assembly
of burning facts,
you strike me down with a single expression,
you have nothing more to ask me.
I’ve already walked by a conference
That satisfies the most authentic.
The panting shyness of a puff of sunshine lurks on my bare breast
Titilling remote wisdoms that take your breath away.
And the unconscious doesn’t cure them. Nothing leaks out of the smelly hedge that carries the crevice of limbs.
Tired of waiting
Ineffable the misfortune of not changing
In the suffering averted
It opens up the confusion of elsewhere
Still throbbing for a little while.
Not to grant
Finally life is lifted
The night dies
In the deadly dawn of another day without you.
Claudia Quintieri: born in Rome in 1975, she is an artist, writer and journalist. She graduated from the University La Sapienza of Rome in Literature and Philosophy with a focus on Contemporary Art History. She published the three books: La voglia di screlare in 2012, E così la bambina è caduta in 2014 and Palermo mon amour in 2020. She works at the magazines Inside Art, art a part of cult(ure) and Lebiennali.com. She has participated in several exhibitions, her artistic research focuses on video art and photography. His path in art is characterized by the diversity of stylistic expressions, in fact, depending on the specificity of the project, he uses the mediums in a way appropriate to the formal structure that suits the project itself. His books deal with various themes in meditation that leads to continuous experimentation. He has written various critical texts on visual artists.
She is an independent curator, art advisor and international marketing management consultant. For more than 20 years, he has been a cultural designer of events related to contemporary art with particular attention to unusual spaces and interactions with other arts.