Italiano (Italian)

This column will present twice a month a historical figure of Italian Fiber Art, present in the book Fiber Art Italiana. I Pionieri.

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Ivano Vitali was born in 1952 in Campotto di Argenta (Ferrara). He studied at the Institute of Art in Forlì and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna. In 1974 he moved to Impruneta (Florence) where he worked until 1979 with installations in poor materials; from 1983 to 2013 he lived in Florence and came into contact with various groups and associations of artists. Today he resides in Monte S. Quirico di Lucca.

In 1992 he co-founded the A.R.F. (Arte Ricerca Firenze) Group, whose main objectives include experimenting with new materials. His first performances and large installations were created using materials that nature offered him: dry branches, faggots, carved wicker, wood, pressed paper and more.

In 1996 he definitely chose the recovery of newspaper paper, which became his material of choice in his works. Interested in an expression that combines existing poor materials enhanced in their simplicity without any alteration of an artificial kind, he finds in newspaper paper of different colors an inexhaustible source of raw material. Paper, in contact with air, tends to yellow, and as a result all colors become warmer and recall their vegetable origin: in fact, even wood, when cut and exposed to air, turns yellow.

In performances he likes to involve the audience present in his actions: he dresses himself with strips torn from newspapers that he accompanies with the movement of his body; he creates large bags that he makes fly in the air or inflate for people to enter; he tears according to the right direction the pages of newspapers, reduces them into more or less thin strips and moves them in space with precise and hieratic gestures according to spatial movements, obtaining different sounds and assemblages each time that give the action a unique meaning.

He creates works of different sizes: now they are large, fragile installations that animate the space like huge, precarious webs through which to pass, now they are small, compact sculptures of refined beauty.

With laborious work of sorting he collects and sorts the newspaper sheets, dividing them according to the background color, and twists them thickly into very strong paper cords, which he obtains by twisting and joining one strip after another without the use of scissors or glue, so that those approaching can read the words and letters of the used newspapers. He turns the newspapers into balls of thread of all sizes, which will be the basis for all subsequent works.

Ivano Vitali writes that: “Each ball of yarn is like an archive: if you want, you can open and reassemble the pages as in a puzzle. As a work of art, it keeps its contents preserved over time. Each ball of yarn is an artist’s book made of words, content, shapes and colors.” Gomitolo (2010) in its polychromatic vibrancy, has a diameter of 7 meters.

Slow, thoughtful time, accompanied by the rhythm of breath, she shapes yarn and makes herself giant knitting needles from untreated natural wood and crochets of various sizes; she learns knitting, crochet and other traditional techniques from her mother and also learns to use the loom.

He decided to create textiles for his performance outfits: with which he wove the large tapestries of the Tape-stries series, worked with monochrome cords of different colors, and in the first decade of the 2000s large Wearable Art sculptures (non-wearable garments), such as Leo and gigantic accessories, such as Collana rosa (2023).

Some, as he writes in his website, seem to be seen metaphorically through a zoom-in. These include Maxi calzino and Maxi guanto, which in their oversizes go beyond reference to simple familiar garments and become environmental works.

Among the Princess dresses is formed by a polychromatic open lattice and finished with paper leaves. Rosaria, as the name implies, is all pink like the sheets of the “Gazzetta dello Sport” from which it was created, just as Rosa boa bomb-on 2, Rosa boa bomb -on 3 and Rosa boa bomb-on 4 are from 2023. Dresses that are perceptually disconcerting in the truthfulness of their shape, proportion and finish. In 2024 he made a large installation, Filamenti, recovering the various plastic sheets found inside food packages, which he reduced to thread, twisted and hung from the ceiling, creating a colorful waving thicket with each movement of air.

An “ecological” art that enhances poor materials and salvaged materials with simple making and a natural, welcoming aesthetic.

Renata Pompas

Renata Pompas è giornalista, saggista e docente; i suoi campi di interesse e applicazione sono: il Colore, il Textile Design e la Fiber Art. Ha lavorato come textile designer per la moda e per la casa, è stata direttore del corso Digital Textile Design ad Afol Moda dove ha insegnato progetto e colore. Ha tenuto lezioni e seminari in Università e Accademie in Italia e all'estero, ha organizzato seminari aziendali, corsi privati individuali e collettivi. Ha pubblicato diversi libri, articoli, testi in catalogo, relazioni in Convegni nazionali e internazionali.  www.color-and-colors.it