Raffaele Sicignano discovered his love for art as a young boy during his very first school education, a period in which he became passionate about drawing and colors. Later, the formative path leads him to enroll in the artistic high school where he meets his first teacher who marks him a lot, Enrico Ruotolo. In fact, the Master does not follow the traditional teaching dynamics but invites his students to continuously observe what surrounds them, invites them to attend and visit exhibitions, to discover artists, to exchange information and to confront each other continuously, to be free in the language of art.
It is during this period that Raffaele begins to understand that art is not a conventional medium, but through it one has the opportunity to rearrange one's ideas and convey a feeling, an emotion. From his master he draws an important lesson: “Knowing how to observe and compare are fundamental to be able to make art”.
After finishing high school, he then enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples where he acquired the knowledge of the techniques and logic of art. Despite the very complex educational phase that does not make him self-taught, he claims that the reasonableness of learning always leads him to experience as if he were. He believes that it is essential for every painter, sculptor, to be "self-taught", in the metaphorical sense of the term, so that the passion for research and experimentation is not lost.
Curiosity is intrinsic in Raffaele: During his early school years, after receiving a postcard on which a painting by Cézanne was represented, he discovers and falls in love with his art. From that moment he began to experiment with painting to continually seek, through this great artist, his own personal pictorial language.
"I agree that having pictorial references is important", he turns his attention to 19th century painting, in particular to landscape painting full of informal and romantic ideas. However, it is the art of the 20th century that outlines his path and leads him to the current pictorial language. He studies the rationality of the early twentieth century to then discover during his training the post-war world artistic debate, with American abstract expressionism on one front, and European informal art on the other.
It is the latter that reflects his painting. Informal: it does not mean the absence of metrics and study, far from it, it is about "creating" with skillful actions and with studied construction of the composition. "Informal painting", says the artist, "is like poetry and musical compositions, they are structured, they respect a precise order in apparent randomness, you need to know exactly where to put a sign. The secret is in being able to turn the case into a cause”.
Raffaele is a vivid thinker, in his pockets there is always a ballpoint pen or a pencil, not so much to make sketches, but more to write down his thoughts, moments, moments of what must then be reworked. Sometimes what he writes becomes the title of a work that he associates with the paintings, sometimes he directly molds the work starting from what he writes.
The artist never works on a single work at a time, "reductive" he says, but spans several works at the same time in order to have the opportunity to simultaneously "see" the reactions of various actions that inevitably create formal and mental confrontation. Not all are considered valid by the artist, but this allows him to be open on several fronts and have more inspirations. "It's like an orchestra in which several elements have to be managed".
One of his most recent pictorial themes investigates the practice of "Ex voto", a Latin term that means "according to the promise made" to indicate an offer in the form of objects. He also describes the practice of thanking the recipient of the gift, for having answered a prayer. This thought, combined with the thought of arte povera, with its meaning as a conceptual work, leads the object to replace painting, induces Sicignano to combine painting with objects that have a precise meaning for him, such as tablecloths, clothes, wood, iron, stones: the objects, once added to the painting, become immortal.
Surely one of the most important features of his research is the chromatic aspect of the painting, the artist considers color as the clothes he chooses to dress, "You feel them sewn on, using certain colors projects you into your human dimension".
For the artist, painting is something he cannot do without. "Painting or written thought that is, in all its forms, art is sacred". Raffaele does not describe his works, and citing Bruno Munari argues that: "The biggest obstacle in wanting to understand the work of art is to want to understand it". He wants to give each observer the opportunity to immerse themselves and be carried away by the work. He believes that observing a work should be like listening to a song whose words are in a language that is not known: you do not understand the meaning, but listening to the melody, the sounds, the rhythm, is able to convey sensations : “We are able to get excited by not understanding the meaning of the words, this also happens with painting”.
The artist has a very important role, first of all towards himself, as with painting he expresses what he has inside, and this is a great responsibility, especially when emotions are created in others by transferring something of themselves to them, entering their life with his works. According to Sicignano, this is the greatest victory: "You become immortal by reaching people's souls with your own artistic thought, you bring the freedom to get excited".
Raffaele defines his art as freedom and this is what he will also give to those who experiences his paintings.
For more information on Raffaele Sicignano and his artwork available on Berista.com, you can visit his profile.