I met Marcello De Angelis when we were students at the Polytechnic University of Milan, where his attention to the art world and his remarkable analysis of contemporary artists was starting to be noticed.
Between tests, he used to visit exhibitions, buying LPs and experimenting painting techniques with differents tools and materials.
Today, Marcello is among the 200 emerging Italian artists, recognized for his personal and innovative technique that he called “injection painting“.
His paintings are estimated between 1000 to 9000 € and recently a opera called “Il guardiano del tempo (The Guardian of Time)” has been bought by an important Italian collector that within its walls unites the biggest names in contemporary art such as Burri and Modigliani.
What have in common mathematical formulas with colors and syringes?
Marcello recount it in this interview that he issued for forecastingirl.com
Interview to Marcello de Angelis
Who is Marcello De Angelis?
This is a question to which I have some difficulty replying. If I refer to my studies I could reply that I am an industrial artist focused on art. Spiritually I could say that I am a project artist who examines industrial design. My work greatly reflects my studies undertaken at the Politecnico di Milano, as all my work is planned rigorously, with scientific order and precision. At the start I completed a project using a CAD modelling programme, empirical forms, perfect and harmonic geometrical forms. After that I started to paint and fulfilled the role of an ‘imperfect machine’ that produces manufactured objects.
A necessary question for all artists who use pigments on a canvas: what does colour mean for you?
It may seem obvious but colour is simply a pigment. It is a material which a medium, in my case a syringe for injecting, to bring me to a goal – nothing more. I do not have a big connection with colours and in recent years I have used them very rarely. For years I have used only metallic colours like gold, copper or bronze, while amongst traditional colours I prefer cold colours like green or blue and I strongly dislike warm colours. I believe that this preference is determined by the fact that warm colours are sentimental, while cold colours are more rational and nearer to my research interests. During the last year and a half I have almost exclusively used black and white and my work is more and more monochrome. White and black are opposites, the extremes of all or nothing, they are the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. What interests me more is the chromatic result and the luminosity and what the pigments offer once they are spread on the canvas. Metallic colours allow me to achieve this result thanks also to their mica-based and pearly internal contents.
What does the syringe represent?
The syringe is the fundamental instrument of my research. In our daily life it has two uses: it can be used to cure or to destroy in the continuous contest between life and death. I began painting with a syringe in about the year 2001 and in the course of the years the technique has evolved. Originally it started more or less as a game but with a precise objective. The idea was to rationalise the ‘dripping’ of Pollock: nevertheless it was not a question of dripping the colour onto a surface but to spread it by means of a precise and rational disposition.
All my research which has lasted for 10 years and brought me to define my painting technique as ‘injection painting’ starts from this idea. Working with a syringe is nonetheless extremely complex and brings many difficulties, including physical ones: the colour must have a precise density and squeezing it through the needle sometimes causes me pain in my fingers.
The progression of the painting is very slow and meticulous: if I make a mistake I scratch out all the work and recommence from the start. It can take me two months to finish a picture. This process is the antithesis of and in contrast with the frenzy of contemporary society in which the rule is ‘all and at once.’ The syringe is the means I use to correct the lack of time in contemporary society.
I have officially begun the cycle of portraits…many have tried to understand what is meant by a portrait but no one has successfully explained it…and therefore I ask: what is Marcello’s portarit?
A portrait has many aspects and generally represents the physiological characteristics of a person. In a portrait, independently of the technique used, one can see many aspects of the personality that is the subject, through their distinctive characteristics – for example, from the colour of their skin, the colour of their eyes, from their size, their posture or their clothing. In my work, on the other hand, I have looked for a symbol, a distinctive sign that could represent at the same time, in a rational way, a single individual and at the same time be valid for the whole collectivity: the digital imprint.
‘Portrait of …’ began as an evolution of one of my 2007 works with the title “autoritratto – profilo sinistro” (‘Self portrait left profile’).
These are small canvases measuring 18 x 13 cm in which I present the portrait of the person who requested it; a ‘digital’ not a physiognomic portrait. My intention is to create an oxymoron, a collective unity, which would unite the single individual and at the same time the collectivity, without distinction of sex, skin colour or bodily characteristics. From this comes an analogical-digital paradox. It is digital in its representation of the digital imprint, analogical in that the trace of the person remains, an imprint which remains constant in time, unchanged from birth to death, without modification or change with the passage of time.
How have new technologies influenced your work processes?
Technology and the use of CAD have greatly influenced the modus operandi of my work in recent years. With a computer I succeed in projecting and creating complex mathematical formulae which I would probably be unable to reproduce manually. Sometimes the mathematical projection is so complex that I take a week to complete the model from which I then commence to paint on the canvas. It is a useful, but not an indispensable tool, because I would equally be able to create geometrical forms without the help of CAD.
What value do you give to the successive geometrical forms and symbols in your pictures?
It depends greatly on the original idea that I have. Sometimes I start a design on paper for a draft of a project which later suggests a title to me; other times I start with a title and a project follows. In the second case my work is much more complex because numerical and structural dispositions and meanings are introduced. For example Gaia, a work of 2007 which I keep jealously, represents the planet earth. It was the first diptych that I achieved and the picture has many symbolisms: the two antique ones were attributed to the planet earth, the four geometrical designs at the corners represent the cardinal points, the geometrical designs using ‘injection painting’ represent the horizon and the division line between the two picture, the terrestrial axis etc. Artemide (the classical deity personifying the moon) was produced later to accompany Gaia, and the central part of the ring is illuminated at night.
‘Es Rerum Novarum’, ‘Nocturnalis’, ‘Natura naturans’, are some of the Latin titles you have used for your pictures. Are you tired of Italian?
No. I am not fed up of Italian, but I often search for titles which have symbolic or alchemic worth, and which at the same time are derived from the great classical culture of which we are the inheritors.
What are your next projects?
I have very many in my list but I go ahead slowly and calmly. This year I started the project ‘Portrait of …’ and I want to complete a project I began 11 years ago. Both of these will probably presented at the end of the year in a personal exhibition at the Poli Art Contemporary which is the gallery that presents my work.
The works by Marcello
Marcello has a big sense of humor, proved by his facebook page presentation:
I am organising MY personal exhibition in YOUR gallery (only important exhibition spaces) by publishing a catalogue at YOUR expense and produced by critics who agree to have MY name in THEIR curriculum. Send me YOUR proposals – I will be very happy to evaluate them
Asking what has originated the need to write this message he answered:
Irony at a market system little centred on art.
Below a gallery of Marcello De Angelis works: