Corrado Sassi at Pastificio Cerere, Rome

Corrado Sassi, I did not, 2016
pvc and wool, 140cm x 97cm


In 2004 Corrado Sassi began exploring the world of tapestry: a series of images of historical paintings which the artist photographs and prints in pvc. The printed support turns into fabric that can be worked on with needlecraft, and the synthetic weave becomes a pictorial pretext upon which the artist can intervene with wool, superimposing upon the underlying image, geometrical patterns (circles and diamonds) symmetrically coloured and structured. This is how the first series “Gli Arazzi” was created. If on one hand the artist, by means of photography, recovers a pictorial tradition which embraces the evocative image of Arcadia, on the other he creates a contrast between the figurative component and abstract form. There is no fusion between these two levels of expression, but rather a contrasting overlay.

Such an opposition is hence overcome by the artist, resolving it in conceptual and visual terms, with the following series on which he started working in 2015; it is no longer a pictorial theme that we see in the background, but photographs of contemporary architecture, skyscrapers and vertiginous buildings: the symbols of economic power. All these photographs have been taken by the artist, who personally travelled to several cities and capitals whose urban landscapes are distinguished by the incessant rise of avant-garde architecture. New York, London, Berlin and so on. These journeys are always in fieri, as are these dynamic structures which seem to emerge overnight, raising the skylines of world’s metropolis towards the sky.

The architectural tapestry is envisaged by Corrado Sassi as a background scenery printed in pvc.

The architecture’s geometrical rhythm becomes a grid, a framed page on which the artist notes down words, phrases, quotes, and thoughts. Thus the colourful letters stitched in wool seem to inhabit the architecture, pandering to their functional lines, so as to insert themselves as ornamental elements.

There is no longer a contrast in terms of formality, but synthesis and interpenetration between the figurative and decorative components. The contrast rather seems to lie on a conceptual level, resulting in a conflict between image and word. Indeed the phrases refer to an existentialist nature, they allude to the drama of mankind’s life today, they become cause for reflection. If the architecture selected by the artist stands for modern human condition, the power of economics, and metropolitan everyday life, conversely the phrases seem to address our soul and inner selves. Two “universalisms” overlapping: the material sphere and the spiritual one. But be aware, the intention of the artist is not to denounce or impose moralism, but rather to wring the strings of our thoughts and reflections, triggering the inner exploration of ourselves.

Such a compound of image and word – well accustomed approach in the world of publicity – proves to be a channel of communication of great impact.

In dialectical terms they are thesis and antithesis: to synthesize the two is left to the spectator’s free will.

In terms of artistic language, Corrado Sassi blends means of research of modern photography with the recovery of the artisanal tradition of needlecraft. The genesis of his work sees the “active stage” (negotium) of on-site research, which lies in the first-hand encounter with the architecture chosen for the photographs, followed by the “contemplative stage” (otium) of meditation, the process of stitching and elaborating the words.

Text by Giuliana Benassi

Pastificio Cerere (3 terzo piano) – Via degli ausoni 3, Roma
Tuesday 13 December 2016, 6pm