Giacinto Di Pietrantonio
Art, including visual art, has always been expressed in many different forms, including that of writing as well as lettering, as the Anglo-Saxons say. On this occasion, PP = Paolo Parisi has created the work called MUSEO, for the Museo Novecento. It is a 4×42 meter inscription with characters, each letter having been taken from works containing writings exhibited in the museum’s collection. Hence, the first thing the artist tends to establish is a relationship with the artists of the museum and, more broadly speaking, with the tradition of art. In other words, art in whatever form it takes, does it within the framework of a tradition. As a matter of fact, more than seeking to draw inspiration outside, as he usually does, the artist, in this case, has created a museum-specific work, which stretches across the façade of the building, inserting itself in a significant tradition of that line of art that is very present in Florence, ranging from Futurism to Concrete and Visual Poetry. It concerns forms of art that on one hand have a conceptual form, but even more on the other hand, a form of energy and therefore an active body of free characters. It is well known, in fact, that after Milan, Florence was the fatherland of Futurism starting from the brawl at the Caffè Giubbe Rosse in Piazza della Repubblica between futurists from Milan and the artists of the Florence-based magazine «Lacerba», a settling of accounts from which a friendship sprang up, so much so that «Lacerba» went from being the enemy to becoming the official magazine of Futurism. It is within this tradition that we must set the work of Paolo Parisi MUSEO, or PP, because it is Futurism that gave life to the use of the word and/or of the letter in the form of modern art, so much so that all the resulting movements in this sense and sign owe it something. In Florence, there is a tradition in this sense with Fluxus artists such as Giuseppe Chiari and Maurizio Nannucci, as well as the visual poetry artist Miccini, among others, so Parisi’s work is more interesting as it is possible to relate it to this significant tradition that boosts the impact of historical expressive truth. However, using written language in the form of visual art is also a form of contemporaneity from another point of view, i.e. communication, inasmuch as the form of the network between computer and above all cellular phone – that expresses itself through writing not only of letters, but also of icons, images – is our daily contemporaneity that also seeks direct or indirect aesthetic responses. It is through this aspect that art is invited to intervene, so that Parisi, invited by the director of the museum, Sergio Risaliti, to conceive a work for the museum, decided to take this opportunity not to confirm his work, but to open up to the creation of an unprecedented form. Until now, it was color and landscape that interested him, but the artist wondered if these, especially designed for interiors, made sense on a façade facing the church of Santa Maria Novella and then Leon Battista Alberti, the architect, but also the writer, mathematician, cryptographer, and therefore of those who set at the core of his research not only architecture, the mother of all the arts, but writing. On the one hand it is through this visual optic that one must read this work by Parisi, while on the other hand it is related to language, to the use of writing in our time. We live surrounded by signs, images, writings, texts of communication, advertising; we are immersed in a landscape of signs in which art cannot fail to be there, indeed, on which it must reflect and produce works to make people think. Therefore, Parisi’s MUSEO also becomes the logo of the Museo Novecento, giving art the chance to extend its language to that of graphics, without being a work of graphics, but of art, as has been said about the futuristic heritage. We know that Futurism was against the museum and fought for its abolition and never wished or hoped to become its acronym. However, we know that the beauty of art is also that of overthrowing art, and we delight in this upsetting that goes from art to graphics to the communication that Parisi has produced with his MUSEO language.
© 2019 The author, Carlo Cambi Publisher, Museo Novecento, Florence. Sergio Risaliti, curated by, Paolo Parisi, MUSEO, with texts by Sergio Risaliti, Giacinto Di Pietrantonio, Helga Marsala, Marco Senaldi, Paolo Parisi, Stefania Rispoli, Poggibonsi, 2019.