Paolo Parisi

Paolo Parisi [PP]: «My research concerns working on this encounter/dialogue of subjective vision. The Observatorium of 2004 (made up of layers of cardboard sheets forming a perfect cube on the outer surface, while inside they were frayed in an irregular way until creating cracks that become telescopes and devices through which one may observe the outside), for instance, receives the presence of the single viewer/subject but does not leave him isolated from the world. In this case it’s as if we are forced to converse with the outside through the light and the holes or, as in the work at the Lenbachhaus in Munich [Observatorium (Valle del Bove), 2006], of sound. There, hydraulic tubes in coloured PVC joined up a number of spaces through holes in the walls, in which the sound or voices of the other viewers flowed. The sound in this sense is precisely that mix of rationale and instinctive of which we spoke before because it was the scientific recording of the movements of the subsurface of the Etna volcano (the horizon of my childhood), which however becomes vibration and physical experience.»

Lorenzo Bruni: «Sharing the vision: is it an aspect that you wish to be manifested not only at a mental level in the observer?»

PP: «I want to allude to sharing as the possibility of a condition for experiencing things, but without imposing it. The Observatorium is not the locus of the ego of the individual, but an instrument to relate with others. The monologue does not interest me, but rather seeking to bring about a dialogue. I like to think that painting is not only frontal and that it becomes the active element of connection between painting, sculpture and fusion of both in the space, toward an active space, containing traces of a collective and elementary geography…»

[from (curated by) Lorenzo Bruni, ‘Paolo Parisi. Physical viewpoint’, interview in Flash Art Italy n°279, December-January 2010. Copyright 2010, authors and Flash Art, Milan.]

Observatorium Sound Composition (Paolo Parisi, Domenico Vicinanza)

«The sound confirms and amplifies the idea, and the need for density in the experience of the vision, rendering physical the relationship with the architectonic space: the precedent to this work presented at Riso is surely the one made in Munich – at the Lenbachhaus, in 2006 –  ‘Observatorium (Valle del Bove)’, in which the sound of the Etna, and our voices literally invaded and passed through the architecture, seen therefore as space of experience and sharing.

In that situation the sound represented the unfathomable. The voice of nature translated scientifically but always uncontrolled. If you think that at the beginning I wanted to obtain the sounds directly from the probes located on Etna. Successively, I had to give the idea up because the direct reproduction of sound measurements – used to monitor the risks of eruptions or earthquakes – was prohibited. So we resorted, as it were, to a recorded and deferred version. But, in truth, what difference does it make to know in advance that the volcano will erupt? It is the issue of modern man: to know, notwithstanding that it changes nothing.

[…] During the last few years the theme of movement has entered into my work in a fairly evident manner… I must say sincerely to not have pursued it, in a programmed way, but clearly it was present in the idea and therefore in the final work. So, in the personal show at the Pecci Museum in 2008 the drawing on the wall, made in silver and representing coastal views in perspective, was activated through our movement in the space saturated with colour; in Munich in 2006, in the personal show at the Lenbachhaus, the sound diffused in the space through the acoustic connections from the tubes that traversed structure of the museum – coming from probes set in the subsurface under Etna together with the sound of our voices – held the six rooms used for the show together; at Quarter (today Ex3) in Florence in 2004, it was necessary to investigate the enormous volume of the space entirely to expose the inner volumes of the cardboard sculptures (Observatorium), to go inside and listen to the voices of the others together with the sound diffused in the ambient (created by John Duncan for the occasion) from the coloured hydraulic tubes […] As you can see, the encounter with change, present in such an obvious way in this last exhibition at the Fondazione, be it caused by our own movements or by the motion of the sunlight in the space, at this point is like a key element for me. It is in the DNA of the work. In the end, if you think of it, in these cases […] an impossibility of the work to manifest itself completely to a single gaze is expressed. As if the optimal vision were constituted by a sum of viewpoints obtained by putting various “luminous” moments and various possibilities of observation together, depending on our presence in the space.»

[From (curated by) Daniela Bigi, ‘Paolo Parisi. … and the atmospheric dust’, interview in Arte e Critica n° 68, autumn 2011. Copyright 2011, the authors and Arte e Critica, Rome.]

Paolo Parisi, “Observatorium (Valle del Bove)”. Installation view at La Città della Scienza, Catania 2007.

Paolo Parisi, “Observatorium (Valle del Bove)”, installation view at Galleria Civica Montevergini, Siracusa 2006.

Paolo Parisi, “Conservatory (San Sebastiano)”, installation view at Quarter, Firenze 2005.

Paolo Parisi, “Conservatory (San Sebastiano)”, installation view at Quarter, Firenze 2005.