Villa Porto Rapallo meet Giorgio Piccaia, artist in residence

Giorgio Piccaia you are a son of an artist, how did your father Matteo, master of the twentieth century, influence your art? 
I was born in Geneva, where my father was a member of the SPSAS (now Visarte) Swiss Painters, Sculptors, Architects delegation. And in the Swiss city the evenings with his fellow artists were very frequent, I was always present and pampered by everyone. They talked about art and philosophy. When our family moved to Italy, the teacher often took me to Milan, then the center of art was in the Brera district. Even there the attendance was in the world of galleries and artists.  This was my childhood. 

And now? 
In 2018, with my friend Gregory Sinaite, a Greek Orthodox monk from the monastery of Santa Caterina in Sinai, I rediscovered Leonardo Pisano, known as Fibonacci, a mathematician from the Early Middle Ages with his numerical sequence that takes me back to the simplicity of Nature, to the golden rule. My artistic project was born from a free thought, from a desire for a possible return to the origins, for a rediscovery of humanity, for progress in a just and solid world. Nature is divine and its representation with numbers in my works is perfection in simplicity. 

What technique do you use? 
I use oil on canvas, acrylic on paper, on acetate and fabric, papyrus sheets and pieces of recycled plexiglass for my sculptures. In the papyrus sheets that a friend of mine from Syracuse provides me with, I paint the numbers of the mathematician's sequence with monochromatic colours, these numbers are symbols and I create a chaos that becomes cosmos on this ancient organic material. In the series of plexiglass paintings, bright, transparent and with multiple films superimposed, I recreate harmonious mirrors of numbers, a connection between spirituality and materiality, a possible natural algorithm towards a new universe. The small sculptures in recycled plexiglass (industrial waste) are painted in a natural enigmatic numerical game which in their form take us back to an unknown world of aliens, to an afterlife world of another post-human and superhuman dimension, an initiatory ritual towards the light, to rediscover who we are and where we will go. Even in my oil paintings which are almost all large in size, the numbers of the sequence are reproduced in a repetitive and obsessive way. 

How do Mathematics and Art coexist? 
Art is Mathematics. The irrational number phi 1.6180339887… or Phidias constant or golden ratio is in nature. Man has always tried to reproduce the world around him to reach the divine and to search for the self. Art uses for its compositions what nature gives: the perfection of proportions. The golden ratio is the simplicity of life. The Fibonacci sequence which is a succession of non-random but very precise numbers, is an ode to the divine proportion, it is the rhythm of the golden ratio. In my works I reproduce the numbers of the sequence by drawing them in a repetitive way, using different supports from papyrus to canvas, from paper to plexiglass. Repetition is my method to discover, to know, to arrive at the logos, it is my mantra. Knowing is remembering and remembering happens in sudden flashes, where experience has a role of presentation and understanding, and I try as much as possible to keep the light on. The knowledge of numbers in their perfection is not immediately verifiable in reality. Numbers are in the process of reminiscing of the life force that many call the soul in which they have always been present. I am nature and I am part of everything. My artistic work is a ritual, it is the recovery of memory, I use the numbers of the sequence as a way to reach the internal divine proportion and the essence of knowledge. Today, even after the pandemic, the bombardment of numbers to which we are subject is the whole, the formless matter, the chaos from which to draw for the formation of the Cosmos. “Everything is number. The number is in everything. The number is in the individual. Inebriation is a number.” (cit. Charles Baudelaire). Here I paint this. 

Is there a specific project that you particularly love? 
The theme Myosotis (Forget me not) was the prelude and travels in symbiosis with my current works. The five petals (sequence number) are represented with numbers in many works such as some exhibited here in Villa Porto Rapallo. I combine the divine simplicity of this little flower with number: spirituality with the universe. It's always nature that has the upper hand, even in me. I like to experiment. Now I work on perspiration, a special project. It is not me but what comes out in me that produces the work. It's a concept I'm exploring further. 

What do you see in the future? 
My artistic work is in the present. Lisa Pelloso and I with Simon Cat from Villa Porto Rapallo are creating the first Drive in art gallery. An idea born one November afternoon in this magnificent Art Nouveau house in Rapallo. The drive in art gallery is a museum, specially renovated to host my works which have the Indo-Arabic numerals as their common thread. They respect the relationship between the Fibonacci sequence and nature. Acrylics on papyrus alternate with works on plexiglass and oils on canvas. During my last stay in the Villa I drew with Lisa and Simon's two daughters and with a friend of theirs, from which the idea of ​​planning an in-residence painting course open to the world, was born. 

Did your stay at Villa Porto Rapallo influence your work? 
Villa Porto Rapallo is beautiful both for its position in front of the port, a stone's throw from the center and very close to Portofino, and for its history. Lisa and Simon also did a great job making this villa super welcoming, and my art helped. The light of Rapallo and the beauty of the hills and coast certainly inspired me. In my latest exhibition in Como, many works, especially the canvassed papers, are an expression of this light, as are my paintings and sculptures inside this museum. 

Has the history of Rapallo influenced you? 
The artist is curious about his nature, whatever he sees and hears can be a starting point for his work, simply walking along the paths and beaches of the Grifo gulf with the view of the Castle makes you think. I think that Rapallo is a magical place, you can still feel the characters who frequented it in the air. From Lello Liguori, patron of the Covo di Nord Est who hosted Frank Sinatra, Liza Minnelli and Ray Charles in the hotel that is now Villa Porto Rapallo, to Franz Liszt, Guy de Maupassant, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean Sibelius, Kandinsky, Eleonora Duse, Sem Benelli, Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway and Luigi Pareyson. This city of light, was also the site of two important peace treaties after World War I, one between the Kingdom of Italy and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1920, and the other between the Weimar Republic and the Soviet Union in 1922. We also need a third peace treaty, but who knows! Rapallo is a city that releases energy, the energy that I express with my works.


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