Last Monday, we welcomed Italian artist Bruno Ceccobelli to the AAP studios for a special lecture about his work. For the art students, the event occurred in perfect timing- after two studio classes dedicated to discussions on our practices and artists of interest, this thorough introduction to Ceccobelli became a substantial addition to our artist repertoire. We learned that Ceccobelli is one of the most representative and successful artists of the Italian art scene since the 80s— a member of the Gruppo di San Lorenzo, or Nuova Scuola Romana, the artist group that established its studio in an old pasta factory, Pastificio Cerere, during the 70’s. This group includes Marco Tirelli (who also lectured at AAP earlier this semester).
Ceccobelli shares Tirelli’s refusal of total conceptualism in art, and his practice also consists of returning to the basic elements of painting and sculpture while focusing on technique and craftsmanship. Still, the symbolism, harmony, and spiritual process in the making of his works are apparent in ways that seem to be completely unique to Ceccobelli. References to architecture, astrology, signs, and self-consciousness are recurring forces in his work. Instead of diving straight into a presentation of his own career and work, Ceccobelli engaged us in an introduction to other artists, scholars, and personal influences–such as architect Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Duchamp, whose ideas shaped the beliefs and ideas behind his work processes.
In the artist’s search for “discovering who oneself is”, Ceccobelli prioritizes understanding the “cosmic world” and how it works. His own artist process is rooted in an idea of using creativity as a design tool and continuously exercising a unique process of self-awareness. Can creativity change the state of reality, and can social changes truly spring from culture or collective will? In answering these questions, Ceccobelli reflects upon Renaissance philosopher Tommaso Campanella’s idea that “creativity is not magic, but a knowledge of forces of nature”. When entering a deep trance while painting, Ceccobelli likens such forces of magnetism and electricity within his art-making to the same kind of mechanisms behind Campanella’s creativity theory.
Ceccobelli’s linkage of art and reality seems to further manifest as a sort of scientific grammar, visually constructed with symbols and excerpts from sacred texts. Ending his lecture with some words on the development of our own individual practices, Bruno Ceccobelli advised us to have hope: “a hope that is creativity, a creativity that requires patience”, to create work in order to “have a positive life, and appreciate spiritual bodies.” We thank Bruno Ceccobelli for imparting this wisdom and his experience to us, and we look forward to meeting more prominent artists of Italy!
Till next time,