Time Out Dubai-Antonio Veronese
TimeOut 1. I read that you are fascinated with drawing people’s faces. Why do you find this subject matter so interesting?
If you look closely, I am not exactly painting human faces but, actually human feelings… Everything that can be captured from a pair of eyes. This magical and complex universe of human feelings: love, fear, hope, frustration, hunger, anger, solitude…everything is imprinted in just a pair of eyes…. Could I have a better subject?
2. There’s often a haunting intensity to your paintings faces – is that something you recognise?
It is not my goal, however I do recognize that my work can have this effect on some sensitive souls.. I have very interesting stories about this …once, during one of my exhibitions, I was observing visitors through the museum’s security system and I could see people’s reactions to my work and some were very unexpected to me they ranged from fear and suspicion to emotional kinship… It is similar to music, Gustav Mahler’s music makes some cry and others dance and I believe art is the same. We each have our own feelings and art helps these feelings to « breathe ».
3. How do you decide who to paint?
I do not decide, always is the painting it self who decides what or who I am going to painting.. In the classical painting the artiste has a project, that he tries accomplish… modern art gives to the painter the right of « jazzing » in the sens of jazz music… we are totally free, we can improvise, like in a jam session…I would say the classical painting is Mozart, the modern painting is Charlie Parker…
4. How did your work teaching young prisoners in Rio de Janeiro affect how you saw people’s faces?
It deeply touched me; for many, many years I’ve painted in reaction to this experience. You see, in 1999, before the government of president Lula, we had about 600 minors assassinated every year in Rio. Boys belonging to the same social class of those I was working with inside prisons. Suddenly, I was invited to do an exhibition at the Brazilian NationalMuseum of Fines Arts. So I decided to draw one single face representing each one of those boys who had been killed that year; give every dead boy the right to a virtual image of his face. Drawing these 600 faces showed me the impossibility of trying to drink the entire ocean at once, that is the impossibility to extract every feeling from a human face. Each new face opened to me thousands of new doors, new shortcuts, new traps of convention pushing me forward… That happened fourteen years ago, but I keep trying, trying, trying, even if my painting have completely change. ModestoLanzone from the San Francisco Modern Art Museun told that « my painting is a portrait about the complexity of today’s world ». Maybe he is right…
5. You are known for highlighting violence against children. Is this something you would like people to think about when they see your paintings?
Even unconsciously, my work is a form of denunciation, not only of violence against children, but of violence itself, violence against the human being, against nature, against animals… Each one of us is a very delicate organism, extremely sophisticated and unique. Maybe painting is an unconscious form I’ve found to protest against the whole brutality, the deep and atavistic violence of men.
7. Do you believe that your art is universal and do you think it will have an effect on the audience here?
I believe that art is a universal language since we humans have evolved in terms of our sensitivity all over the world. In the last few years, I have had exhibitions in Chile, Switzerland, US, Japan, France , Portugal, Brazil, and it will be no different in Dubai. We can talk to each human being asking them about their feelings, their weaknesses, their hope and the answers would be similar…
8. I understand that you believe that art can be used to help rehabilitate people. Is there a point where people suffer too much to be rehabilitated in your opinion?
Even when someone is about to die of thirst, a single drop of water can contribute some comfort, some relief. Art only consoles.
9. Do you like to experiment with your painting style?
Every day I try different techniques or processes, different resources, and try to take some risks… that is why I often go through a lot of canvas … but when I escape the traps of conventionality and I accomplish something, I feel at peace and I can go to sleep.
10. Do you believe that art can transcend boundaries – as with the name of the exhibition?
Of course, because art touches us as human beings, no matter of what country, race or religion… is like looking at the sky, not matter what latitude.. that’s the reason I proudly come to Dubai.
More information about Antonio Veronese:
Antonio Veronese’s last exhibitions: