PIENZA.- The Palazzo Piccolomini welcomes for the first time an exhibition by Florentine artist Walter Romani. From September 3 to October 16, 2011, over thirty works are presented in the courtyard of this extraordinary Renaissance palazzo.
Walter Romani dedicates this exhibition to the late poet Mario Luzi, for whom Pienza was a spiritual home and who referred to Walter and his work as "Il Demone del Tramutamento".
Like a magician, a conjurer, with a unique understanding, Walter Romani takes us into his poetic universe, touched with irony and much ingenuity. To create the works, he selected cardboard but cardboard that has already seen a prior use: to package, to protect, to contain, to transport objects, food, goods. The works sculptures, paintings, jewellery, books, all retain a trace of the original use of the cardboard, analogous to a barcode that acts as definition and framework: the little tongues that animate the Puzzle series, the word fragile that transforms into agile in a book, or even the word continua found in a metal panel that surprises by becoming a mobile sculpture, expressing continuity, making it part of the artists manifesto. With these works Walter Romani sets out a view of the world, his world, our world. With humour and acuity, the artist presents images that stir a multiplicity of senses, as much poetic as they are critical. These images take us deep into the world of consumerism, sometimes to the point of asphyxiation, and then offer us an exit where the dimension of beauty takes form and rises up with force. Romani is both of our time and of our art in the sense described by Giorgio Agamben that to be contemporary is to have a singular relation with his own time to which he (the artist) adheres while maintaining a certain distance. (Vivianne Van Singer, Salon du Printemps 2011, Lyon)
Born in 1950 in Grosseto, Walter Romani moved to Florence at the beginning of the 1970s and began studies at the Faculty of Letters and Philosphy at the University of Florence. In 1977 he abandoned university and intellectual studies to work with his hands. His artistic interest led him to create works in various materials, but focused primarily on jewellery which fore-shadowed his future work. In 1980 he created a small workshop in Borgo SS. Apostoli, the Gatto Bianco, that also initiated the collaboration with his wife Carla Tettucci.
His development was rapid: each work was a discovery on a path of continuous evolution. The end of 1984 signalled an advance: Carla and Walter exhibited their highly innovative jewellery in Milan, at the Galleria Arte Centro and in 1985 the two artists opened a contemporary jewellery workshop, still in Borgo SS. Apostoli, keeping the name Gatto Bianco, where they continue to work and show their creations.
In the mid-90s, Walter began taking a path parallel to the creation of jewellery, a path that was itself a form of recycling: old pieces of wood, doors, pieces of iron, materials from his work like firebricks..and then working with these used materials, to give life to different moods, allegories and metaphors. It was in this rush of adrenalin that he discovered a material/cardboard used in the first instance to protect the floor and the walls of the house against splashing and spilling of paint. Initially, he advanced with caution, almost with incredulity. Walter treated the cardboard as a surface but very quickly ASTRAPPISMO took over and works were born where the surface was martyred and the tearing of the cardboard became analogous with the human structure: a process through which the skin is pulled away to reveal the underlying connective tissue to arrive at the bone, the basic support structure. The tearing away...even to the final shred, also has a civic sense, always being pursued in life. From the end of the 90s to 2004 he worked tirelessly and in June of the same year, at the Villa Vogel in Florence, he presented an exhibition entitled AGILE. The poet Mario Luzi and the psychologist and arts writer Alida Cresti contributed to the catalogue, also made of cardboard. And from that time, without dismissing the possibility of using other materials, cardboard became for Walter a primary element in his search for new expression. From the first cardboard ripped and torn...to that shredded, from those incised in the search for stratification and deception, from the critical to the acoustical, from pizza boxes to the stripping of these same boxes and of many other types of packaging. In 2009, with the exhibition CARTONE ANIMATO, at the Cassero Senese of Grosseto, cardboard has been revealed, even profoundly, in all its expressions from inert material it acquires life, creates images and invitations, revealing itself its body animated, communicating.
In 2011, Walter Romani was the special invited artist at the Salon du Printemps in Lyon, presented by the Societé Lyonnaise des Beaux Arts de Lyon.
Walter Romani wishes to thank for their generous collaboration the Centro Studi Luzi La Barca, the Società di Esecutori di Pie Disposizioni in Siena, and the City of Pienza.