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vincenzo cignozzi
About this artwork
Fading life
Oil on canvas
h.50cm w.50cm d.0cm
Jan 2017

vincenzo's Description: Life fades towards the nihil

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2017-02-04 21:27

At first Vincenzo, I thought rather tongue-in-cheek I'd quite like to end up there at your 'nihil' of beautiful naked woman with flowers in her hair, enveloped in a swirl of primary colour.
However I reckon this painting is more serious than that, and has probably to do with the vibrancy of youth, and it's inexorable fall into the gaping chasm of time with blackness awaiting at it's end. That's a pretty bleak prospect that I'd prefer not to contemplate too deeply however, and I'm more interested in asking you the following: As artists, do we have a role or a duty in our lifetime? If we do, what is that role, or that duty? Do we as artists have important responsibilities other that just seeing out, as best as we can, the descent into nothingness as depicted in your painting?

2017-02-05 06:30

Hiya Paul,
No, I don't think you do, not as artists, nor as any other titled pursuit. Roles, and duties are acts that are only meaningful if you believe they are. In the same way, if a mathetician knew how to reconfigure all the derrivations that ultimately equal 360-degrees, and in so doing discovered a more plausible explaination for all this, I don't believe it would be her or his responsibility to inform anyone.

2017-02-05 12:31

Hello Gigi great to see you here. I thought Vincenzo and myself were the only ones left standing at artprocess - all the others having long ago abandoned the sinking ship.
Back to the painting entitled "Fading Life" with the artist's comments being "Life fades towards the nihil". The youthful splendour of the subject staring grim-faced, splay-handed, as she precipitates uncontrollably towards the night. I'm wondering if the redeeming quality, if there is one, are the colours of the descent itself. And it's exactly there that I'm curious to listen to your (and Vincenzo's) thoughts on what, as an artist, you consider valid (and consequently invalid) engagement during the fall. Can you do anything? If you can, must you do something, i.e. do you have an obligation to act? And if you do, how best to undertake and perform that commitment?

Your mathematician friend has discovered an improved understanding of the law that describes 360 degrees. I believe you infer that he is not duty-bound to divulge this, and of course you are correct. On the face of it, his new way of seeing does not change the agreed convention, it is just the process of obtaining it that is new. Could I counter with the idea of opening a door, previously unknown, behoves the finder to inform of it's existence through a simple requirement of diminishing our ignorance, even if it opens on already familiar territory? Is it right for your friend to keep his secret to himself thereby risking the possibility of enhancing, in some small way, a collective awareness and appreciation of the colours as we plunge to the depths?

Quite dramatic I agree, nevertheless it is probably the artist's intention, by virtue of this work, to provoke somesuch.

2017-02-05 17:31

Hi JP,
As it regards the painting, I wanted express the feeling of sadness for the death of a person (not a woman and not young) without resorting to the usual clichés .
On the other hand I think that the artist has not a duty but fills a role . Back to the mathematical example of Gigi : the scientist or researcher of any field has no responsibilities about what he finds but fills the role society ask of him. The artist, often unconsciously, mirrors some of the inner feelings of the viewer and when he succeed has filled his role.

2017-02-08 21:53

Ah.. then I apologise. I thought the painting was perhaps a visual philosophical metaphor on the issue of life and death, but from your words, it's possibly more a reflection on the impact of the pain you personally felt at the abrupt loss of someone dear to you.
Did the act of painting, and the resultant work help you with coming to terms with your loss?
Despite the redeeming swirl of excited colour, the mask-like face and her accusing stare as she appears to begin the fateful descent make this a most sobering and solemn pictorial statement. It's as if we must feel only anger and resignation in the face of Death. Is that what you intended to convey?

2017-02-09 00:44

I am sorry for your loss Vincenzo.
I think you have captured how your sense of loss felt in this picture. I don't see the anger, or the accusing stare Paul speaks of; I see the loss, and what that loss must have felt like for you. It looks as though, from the expression on the figure's face, that s/he didn't expect to die at that particular moment. I also see a saddness/bewilderment over the realization (yours? her/his?) that what you had together is now ended. I agree with you Vincenzo, when you ssay that the viewer projects their own feelings onto the picture. That's what the Rorchach Ink Blot Test is all about--projection. We interpret everything through ourselves, and we project ourselves, our reality everywhere, whether it be interpretation of an image, or the probing of science, and everything in-between.

2017-02-09 11:39

Thank you both for the deep comments .
I have submited the photo to some friends and every one has expressed his/her ideas (does the girl come forward or backward; the abyss is like a flower or something organic ? ) as Gigi says, everyone has mirrored his/her feelings. Did I fill my role ?

2017-02-09 22:47

Although it is indeed intriguing to read of your success in mirroring multiple and varied inner feelings of the viewer(s), I am really more interested in the artist's relationship with the painting, and should wish to learn more regarding the choices and decisions that were taken during the creation process, for example:

1. What where you considering before you began the painting?
2. In avoiding ¨usual clichés¨ (sic), why did you choose this female subject?
3. What motivated the selection of colours and forms of the background?
4. Did you encounter any difficulties during the work, and (if so) how were they resolved?
5. How long did it take to complete?
6. Is the resulting image as you had imagined before you began?
7. Are you satisfied with the work, and why?

My apologies for the interrogation list! However were I to visit your studio, these are the kind of questions I would be putting to you in good faith; eager to hear the response of the artist. I hope you´re not deterred by my being so forthright, and that you do decide to dedicate a few minutes to speak in more detail on your artwork.

2017-02-18 16:47

I try to answer to your interrogation list:

1 “The Death” is a substantive and it is usually presented as an alive skeleton with a sickle , sometime riding an horse, ( think of Durer Death and the Devil) whereas I consider it an event or a process strictly connected to life.
2 In Italian the term Life is “Vita” and is feminine and I think that it fits better to my beliefs than the neutral term ( Das Leben )
3 The main idea was something going from warm to cold colours up to the absence of colour: the black. The form should be an organic abyss.
4 The main difficulties came from the background and I do not think to have solved them entirely.
5 I work quite slowly since I do not need to spare time, so I did not count it.
6 Not entirely but near to my expectation.
7 I am never completely satisfied with my works but I am glad if I succeed to transfer at least a part of my feeling to the viewer.


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