DION­I­SIO CIMARELLI: IN­SPI­RA­TION BE­TWEEN EAST AND WEST

All About Italy (USA) - - Contents - Elis­a­betta Pasca

Dion­iso Cimarelli, a sculp­tor and artist of in­ter­na­tional renown, orig­i­nally from Jesi in the Marche re­gion, has al­ways lived art. He con­nects it to the phi­los­o­phy and the ex­pe­ri­ence of trav­el­ing. His def­i­ni­tion of trav­el­ing, and his call­ing, is build­ing a bridge be­tween cul­tures. He trained at the Academy of Car­rara and is a re­storer at the Lou­vre, where he em­braces clas­si­cal art. Hav­ing first trav­eled to and fallen in love with China as a youth, he re­turned there in 2004, where he set­tled for nine years. There he de­vel­oped his very par­tic­u­lar style, a bril­liant in­tu­ition that has him com­bine evoca­tive and pow­er­ful tech­niques from the West with el­e­ments of Chi­nese aes­thet­ics. His ex­cit­ing path of in­ex­haustible cu­rios­ity led him to New York where he was asked to teach at the New York Academy of Art and at The Art Stu­dents League of New York. Jesi is where he was born, Car­rara where he got his aca­demic train­ing. Then he worked as a re­storer at the Lou­vre and then nine years in China. To­day Dion­i­sio Cimarelli lives in New York and teaches at the New York Academy of Arts and the Art Stu­dents League.

What has been the con­stant in your so var­ied life’s path? What are the over­tones?

The con­stant is un­doubt­edly the art, com­bined with my in­nate cu­rios­ity to dis­cover other cul­tures. My re­search is to­tally ori­ented to art and cul­ture in all its facets, be­cause what in­ter­ests me is try­ing to un­der­stand man. Cul­tures change, but man, in his essence, al­ways re­mains the same. I find him and re­dis­cover him wher­ever I go. Ev­ery ex­pe­ri­ence in my life holds a lot of pre­cious mem­o­ries, fil­tered through me and sent back to the world through my work. The jour­ney is the lifeblood that stim­u­lates and mo­ti­vates me, as a man and as an artist. When I travel, I look for in­spi­ra­tion in ev­ery­thing I see with stim­uli and ideas col­lected from all the coun­tries I have visited. Move­ment and en­coun­ters cre­ate the spark for my work, the soul of all my cre­ations. This as­pect is less no­tice­able in my ini­tial works, be­cause they are the im­me­di­ate re­sult of my first Ital­ian cre­ations, but the en­ergy be­comes stronger and more ev­i­dent with my Chi­nese ex­pe­ri­ence, in which my cre­ations can no longer be called Ital­ian or Chi­nese, be­cause they are born of a deep syn­chronic­ity.

You are of­ten deemed to be the heir to Mat­teo Ricci, with whom you share the same roots in the Marche re­gion. Is the home­land in­flu­ence an im­por­tant el­e­ment in the de­vel­op­ment of your artis­tic sen­si­bil­ity?

Mat­teo Ricci has been an ex­tra­or­di­nary model for me since my first trip to China. He wanted to be fully Chi­nese, while I fol­lowed a dif­fer­ent, more per­sonal path. I must ad­mit that the call of China was al­most

Af­ter a long cre­ative ex­pe­ri­ence in China, marked by his de­sire to unite dif­fer­ent cul­tures, the sculp­tor of Marchi­gian ori­gins lives and teaches in New York

in­stinc­tive for me, also be­cause at the time it was an un­usual choice. I had not fin­ished my aca­demic stud­ies yet, but I had a great cu­rios­ity about Asian cul­ture, with­out any thoughts tied to busi­ness there, which is what mo­ti­vates so many people to­day. I first landed in China at the age of twenty-two, trav­el­ing on the Trans-siberian rail­road, stop­ping there for four months and vis­it­ing other Eastern coun­tries over the course of a year. I re­turned to China in 2004 and stayed nine years. All this changed me. My in­ten­tion was to im­merse my­self to­tally in the cul­ture, to dis­till from it and then com­bine it cre­atively with Ital­ian cul­ture. In any case, I must say, that de­spite leav­ing the Marche re­gion when very young, at just eigh­teen, the Marche never ceased to be a part of me; hav­ing pre­dictably in­flu­enced my cre­ative growth and my train­ing. The lo­cal cul­ture will al­ways be pro­foundly mine, as well as Mat­teo Ricci. Ricci and I cer­tainly share char­ac­ter­is­tics typ­i­cal of the people of the Marche. And of course, our re­la­tion­ship with China is a very par­tic­u­lar sym­me­try, per­haps it’s a sign to fol­low into des­tiny.

And your des­tiny led you to New York?

It is a city not easy to un­der­stand or live in. In short, it is a chal­lenge. New York pro­vides and of­fers so much, but in or­der to reach cer­tain goals the city asks of you just as much, if not more. Creat­ing your own thoughts and in­spi­ra­tions can be much more dif­fi­cult than it was in my pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ences. Of course, be­ing in a city to teach a mas­ter’s course at the New York Academy of Art, founded by Andy Warhol in 1980, and at the Art Stu­dents League, where the likes of Jack­son Pol­lock and al­most half of the artists of con­tem­po­rary Amer­i­can art have passed through, is for me an honor and a priv­i­lege. Right now, I feel I must give back all the many and in­tense ex­pe­ri­ences I gained around the world to my stu­dents. I am creat­ing less but it is nec­es­sary so as to be able to com­mu­ni­cate more to young artists. This is an im­por­tant mo­ment in my path, a phase that I pre­pared for for years, even though I do miss work­ing on my art full time.

Italy, China, Amer­ica: a syn­the­sis of three places of the heart.

It is dif­fi­cult to sum­ma­rize my life. For sure, Italy is my train­ing, it’s the foun­da­tion that I al­ways carry with me, my pil­lar. China is an es­sen­tial ex­pe­ri­ence for me, af­ter Italy is the sec­ond place in my heart. I did not go to China for busi­ness, I went there be­cause I was gen­uinely in­ter­ested in lo­cal cul­ture, I was look­ing for an in­tense, very strong re­la­tion­ship, and in the end, I did, both with the coun­try and its people. It was al­most like fall­ing in love. As for Amer­ica, I’m still learn­ing about her. Living the Amer­i­can ex­pe­ri­ence from within brings to light un­ex­pected is­sues. In Amer­ica it is nec­es­sary to take your time. I can­not deny the enor­mous op­por­tu­ni­ties that the USA has given me, but I am still ex­per­i­ment­ing; this jour­ney is not over.

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