La casa dell'Artista - karam Cannarella

Arrtist’s House

Syracuse, Sicily

We are in Portopalo di Capo Passero, the south-eastern tip of the island of Sicily, a watershed between the Ionian Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, where the artist has reorganised the interior of the house where he was born and lived at a young age, before moving to Milan.

“The Artist’s House” is the brainchild of the artist with the intention of making his works accessible to a wide audience and creating a stimulating dialogue between the works of art and the domestic environment that houses them.

On visiting, the first emotion arrives already in front of the small entrance door with the plaque made on lava stone by ceramists from Caltagirone. As soon as one crosses the threshold of this flat on the ground floor, one breathes in an atmosphere of intimacy; everything inside retains the original, intimate atmosphere desired by the person who lived there. In the first room, the apartment, characterised by its spaciousness, houses works that, unfolded according to a contemporary narrative, narrate everyday life, ancient traditions, celebrating with joy and vital force a spontaneous and fantastic creativity, in which the time of living and the memory of the past mingle. It is possible to admire veritable narrative sequences describing the ancient traditions of the past, depicting scenes set in everyday spaces, showing the lives of ordinary people; witnessing the toil of men and women working the land, fishermen ploughing the waves of the sea and the happiness of children playing with dolls and balls. The recovery of ancient trades, traditions, places and people who animated a country depicted in Cannarella’s paintings stems from the artist’s inner need to represent his land through his own creative capacity. The works highlight, with accentuated tones, the strong emotions that represent the truest Sicilianity, emphasising the colours, the intensities enveloped in a warm and strong light that makes the landscapes and people shine, to the point that every detail becomes fundamental. In realising these works, Cannarella has once again been able to highlight his extraordinary human and artistic qualities that are firmly connected. The visitor who observes these paintings will be drawn in by the colouristic mixture and the strength of the textures, will enter into another man’s dream and make it his own, adding further emotional meaning. This is why Cannarella’s work seems to belong to anyone who looks at it and draws into its vortex anyone who is sensitive to the passionate involvement proper and only of art.

As the visit continues, the visitor can observe other works: in this case, the artist stages a new pictorial cycle ‘Journey into Art’ that harmoniously blends past and present, of the union between the history of Art and contemporaneity. He revisits the works of the Great Masters of the past by following an absolutely unique compositional procedure dictated by his original technical-executive imprint, which allows him to reinterpret the ‘footsteps of the past’ in a modern key, bringing something from the past back to life or giving a ‘new soul’ to that which lends itself to be reinterpreted.
The idea that Karam has translated into pictorial language can only derive from meticulous observation of the source representations and a profound knowledge of them. After observing them at length from the outside, he composes them with the intention of reinterpreting them. Each of his new reworkings is thus developed following a composite process that is absolutely personal and unique. Unmistakable for his original technical-creative imprint, the artist gives the work a new identity even though the differently interpreted object remains.
By reinterpreting past masterpieces, Karam demonstrates great stylistic ability and shows his conscious mastery of execution. Each painting has ‘narrative value’ capable of conveying suggestions divorced from fashion updates and adjustments. With this series of paintings, the idea of mimesis perpetrated and handed down by the tradition of art is revived. These works contain the germ of novelty, which in an era of constant déjà vu, is perhaps the rarest pearl. Karam’s works are striking to the eye because they are not weighed down by useless frills or thoughts, they go straight to the point in showing the intellectual elevation of the artist who compares himself, with great dignity and without fear, with the Great Masters of the past. He concentrates on a broad and profound research that leads him to the creation of works that speak for themselves and need no introduction. Attentive to all the details of the conception and execution process, the artist starts from a focal point, i.e. the work to be reproduced, but inevitably arrives at another point which is that of the implicit subjective reinterpretation and subtle customisation of the work, the dynamism and scope of the overall composition..The artist takes his cue from and symbolically takes possession of the original image, makes it his own and increases its strength, force and energy of essence and content. He brings representations from art history to life in his paintings, revisits them and makes them the living substance of his own painting through the inclusion of sculptures and previously realised works.
The artist stages a contemporaneity that materialises when the image of works long gone in time present themselves in his mind to give free interpretation to new works.
Given the complexity of the starting point, the artist has managed to sublimate different points of view, to merge different perspectives of observation, giving us a unique picture filtered of any superfluous elements. In some ways, Karam’s work almost resembles a restoration activity, which strips the canvases of the patina of time, bringing them up to the present day.
It allows us to appreciate the Great Masters even more, to grasp and transpose into art even the slightest variations, those subtle accents, the most subtle mottling and veiling, which are enhanced by the creative act. This approach cannot but fascinate those who love to observe works of art as it opens up a new way of seeing as well. From these emerge the importance and intelligence of Karam’s gaze in looking at art from the inside, as well as an imaginable way of revisiting the past.