Simone Domeniconi exhibits his conceptual chess-based explorations in “Il Canto della Scacchiera” (The Chessboard’s Song) at the Scuderie Granducali in Seravezza – the opening is this Friday, the 17th of January.
We reprint the artist’s statement (translated by Laura Giovannelli:)
If I were to talk about my initiation to art, I would quote the opening lines of Pablo Neruda’s “La poesía”: “Y FUE a esa edad … Llegó la poesía / a buscarme” (“It was right at that age … Poetry came / In search for me”).
Poetry started walking on tiptoe into my life when I was a child. Even before writing verse, I knew I was a Poet. It felt like a shiver coming down with the night with its smell of laundry and smoke. I soon discovered that Poetry was rooted in sound. Its song rose as my soul drew breath and endeavoured to fill the sounds of words, making verse “resound”.
Dropping the pen to seize the paint-brush was a painful choice, but the wish to put myself to the test in the world of figurative arts was too strong. I opted for an old-fashioned route, “serving my apprenticeship” with painters or academy teachers. The path trodden was different from that of many other artists, since I was burning with the fire of passion and took impracticable roads. I studied the history of art because I thought it was important to know what had been done before I came. Luckily I was never “tempted” to indulge in mere provocation, as instead the current trend goes, since I thought and still think that provocation often conceals a lack of talent. I went through a figurative and then an experimental period up to my peculiar probing into the game of chess, which I have been fond of since I was a child.
What I do consists in “reconstructing” a moment, a precise instant of a game actually played by great champions throughout the decades; I then insert it among images, icons, maps and other figures by sticking the “pieces” on hand-painted chessboards.
If I had to illustrate my work in a few words, I would say that it can be traced back to three elements. The first one is of a “conceptual” kind, in the sense that the game of chess is a perfect metaphor for contemporary society. In any sphere, from politics to social life and sentimental relationships, everything seems to be controlled by self-centred strategies aimed at gaining personal advantages to the detriment of the community and our fellowmen.
The second element could be defined as “historical”: the dates of the games that I pay attention to are connected, in more or less explicit ways, with the figures inside the work of art.
The third element, which I find particularly fascinating, belongs instead to an “aesthetic-conceptual” order. I believe that the apparently cold mathematical rules presiding over this extraordinary game hide an aesthetic ingredient, a sort of compositional beauty made of numbers and geometric design, but especially of poetry and creativity. To explain it better, I would appeal to informal painting. Let’s just think of a painter like Vedova: an observer unfamiliar with his kind of technique is bound to feel confused, disconcerted or bewildered when standing before one of his pictures. On the other hand, an enthusiast accustomed to this type of language will find it easier to “go beyond”, to strike a sort of “balance” even among seeming blobs of colour. I am also thinking of an artist that I particularly appreciate: Paul Jenkins, capable of making colours “sound” by matching them with immense sensibility and finesse. This is somehow what I try to do when reconstructing and choosing an exact moment from a game in the attempt to envisage the harmony, balance and, so to speak, the dance of the chess-pieces while the match is going on. Such is then an element that has almost lost its real connection with the simple rules of the game and ultimately acquires a life of its own. And all this comes about as through a radiography, a “snapshot” of two noblest human thoughts confronting each other and nearly merging: even while unaware of it, these thoughts pave the way for a poetical song on the chessboard score.
Visit the artist’s website, linked here.
“Il Canto della Scacchiera”
From the 17th to the 26th of January, 2014
Hours: from 3pm to 7pm.
Saturday the 25th of January, at 4pm, there’ll be a chess match between the Chess Club of the Versilia and the Apuano Solo-Scacchi Chess Club of Massa.
Previously on Art is Life: