May 2015, Nowhere
A short and quick conversation between journalist and curator Alessia Carlino and Opiemme.
You may read it on line here (just italian, english version below and on paper version).
Here is an artwork available for the lauch project of Insideart Gallery
Don’t call him street artist: his delicate balance between words and signs
Opiemme’s alphabet is a thick sequence of signs, gestures, attitudes which brings poetry together, in a univer-
sal pictorial vision.To think of his interventions throughout the world as “street art” is certainly misleading, because Opiemme investigates an imagery which is never unambiguous, but consists of many different experiences in a constantly evolving style. Currently the artist is in Turin , where he lives and works. His art production is a graphic corpus but never an end in itself that speaks of literature, words, poems, and ultimately the universe.
Your last project Vortex shows an exegetical celebration of a mystery, the universe’s infinity, which you discovered in the study of geneticist Giuseppe Sermonti. How did you get to connect scientific literature and art?
«It was a serendipitous connection. In 2013 someone recommended me a book: L’alfabeto scende dalle stelle. It stuck in my mind, so I ended up idealizing it: writing was instilled by the stars, a galactic unity of things which transcended the Earth. Even in the case of my Vortex, painted in Danzig with Wislawa Szymborska’s verse “Underneath a little star”, it was by chance. During those same days a small exhibition dedicated to the Polish poet was opening, and the Szymborska Foundation in Cracow decided to officially recognize the wall. I hadn’t decided yet to focus my research on Vortex. When I got back to Italy I was approached by Sermonti, the author of the book. What we had in common was not science, but our fascination for that blackness. It’s a gravity in your head, that makes you dream.With the words of Sermonti I try to “rewrite a lexical astronomical theory for a translation of constellations into alphabets”. I think Sermonti is a dreamer, although his theories are valid to the astronomy community. He describes letters-emanating stars as “a delicate image of an alphabet descending straight from the sky, like a sublime stardust”».
GuillaumeApollinaire said: “To me a calligram is a union of signs, designs and thoughts”. How would you define your expressive, which joins words and sings?
«It’s as if you have three reading levels: the images, the words, and the thoughts they provoke. Such process, though, is not a mere consequence.Their blend must be right to work in the eyes, hearts and minds of people. Poems alone stay silent. The individual emotions and stories of each reader complete them. In Vortex, words and signs are not an inseparable set: letters change into something else, and words get destructured. They’re tiny scraps of stars. Radiations. A symbolic derivative. A movement, not a tale. I can’t give you a definition, right now, since I’m still looking for awareness about it».
What’s your vision about the public matrix, which distinguishes some of your work?
«It’s working on the story, the memories, the future of a place through the words of a poet. It’s arranging participative performances interacting with the social fabric. It’s designing a poetic icon in words. It’s leaving it on the streets like an advertisement for a thought.When I get somewhere, especially small towns, I like to discover tales from the citizens’ voices, and feel what they feel.To receive the memories they transmit to me. Finding a poet, then a particular passage, and starting to work on something tailor-made. My work starts with writing and, ispired to land and public art, gets into the streets, where it finds a modus operandi of its owns: to act with free, spontaneous, non-authorized interventions. In the early 2000’s, street art taught me I could take the liberty to leave my own mark. My intention was always the same: to convey poetry. Free interventions were a mean to that end.And will always be a resource.We could start a little debate about using the definitions of street art and muralism, but I prefer not to sacrifice myself to the social network windmills. Words lose meaning.We’re not giving them enough attention».
What legacy would you like to leave with your art?
«It would be nice if my intervention was enough to bring some poems back to life. Moravia said “there’s not many poets in the world, just 3 or 4 in a whole century”. When I started Un viaggio di pittura e poesia I thought it was destined to a certain time.Today I see it as an ever growing course, made up of streets and land».