Born on this day: September 6, 1947, Luciano de Liberato is an Italian colorist who paints constructed “still lifes” of colored paper. The paintings appear at first to be flat but upon further inspection are actually carefully crafted to imitate exactly the depth of layered paper, woven, and lifted up a bit at the edges. The result is bright, clean, geometric, active, and tactile. Aaaaaaaalmost flat space, and yet not at all.
Interview on Saatchi Art:
Luciano de Liberato
What are the major themes you pursue in your work?
My work has always been conducted in cycles of discovery and creation research, based from the beginning on the presence of the indicator or “sign”. The indicator is organic and vital, a form of poetry moving forward and is a “sign of life”. This sign was originally painted, and then became progressively more material by the use of thread and twine until 1994, when the sign became tape, ripe with tension, lights, and colours. I don’t pursue a theme or story right from the beginning, because each cycle starts from the end of the previous cycle, and the understanding of what I am doing or developing with a new work, becomes clear only at the end of each work.
What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
When I was starting it was suggested that I maintain my day job as an architect and designer.
This was to help avoid financial hardships and uncertainties during economic difficulties. I did not follow that suggestion, and instead my desire to become a full-time artist was an incentive to face immediately my future and my destiny. This was a turning point like a challenge for me, and I closed my architectural studio and dedicated my life to art.
Prefer to work with music or in silence?
In absolute silence. My work requires complete and continuous focus. In my work there are no artisanal routine tasks. The work from the beginning to the end talks to me. From this communication, I receive continuous requests to be decided, illuminated, and to an organic composition. I need to abandon myself to the promises and emotions that my painting presents, and to continue to look for more promises and emotions still hidden in the vanishing white canvas.
If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
I don’t know. I confess that there are many art geniuses that greatly move me. I am referring to the work of artists that are able to spark dreams, thoughts, surprises, like only great art can do. For example, I am thinking of the work of Alberto Burri and Mark Rothko.
Who are your favorite writers?
I read a lot when I was younger. Today, I want to dedicate all my life, and my time, and my future years, to painting, without stopping for any break or distraction of any nature.
Below: Video (in Italian) showing some of how he plans his compositions on the computer.
I was curious how his work might have changed with the use of computers, so I made a comparison of old work vs new work (the video above was from 2008). There does appear to be an increase in complexity in the weaving, and the newest work has even started to resemble a computer itself.