“The body of the woman for me is the sensuality and elegance while the male body represents power and balance…”
ARTSNOB: The body has a complicated structure but works very simply beyond our understanding. As an artist dealing with “body” how do you define the body?
RABARAMA: Thank you for asking, the “body” is really a central theme in my art. Last year I have presented an art-manifesto titled “SKIN ART MANIFESTO” (http://www.rabarama.info/#!skin-art-manifesto/c1667) that was subscribed by many artists and also by a famous brand in the professional cosmetics industry (Kryolan).
Our society is moving towards a total annihilation of the body even if many would say that this is not true because the body is so present in mass media and culture. This is the point: it is really present but as a product, not as the “temple of life” that it is. I think that a way to contrast this is to refer strongly to the harmony and beauty of the human body, to make its inner value explicit: the body is the symbol of life, feelings, relationships, identity.
If it is treated like an object and a product, well, all life will become a product, together with sentiments and spirituality (sadly we see that this is really happening right now). With this Manifesto I invite all the artists, designers and people to support the “beauty” as a real and living value.
ARTSNOB: I love the way you patternise the skin of your sculptures. At İlayda’s booth there were amazing ones. I interpreted it as the effect of the outer world on the human body and soul. Sometimes good sometimes evil. An existentialist effect that us humans cannot avoid. And that flourishes as energy on our bodies. How do you interpret the skin colors, prints, patterns?
RABARAMA: Our body reveals the signs of time, in the same way my “creations” tell through the use of symbols and colors the path of growth and knowledge that every human being faces along the journey of life. I chose a simple way to communicate and to confront the users creating visual cues in support of far more ‘articulated concepts , which refer to the understanding of the reason for our existence in this dimension of space-time.
ARTSNOB: Can you explain to us a little bit about your technique? Since when have you been working on these series with body?
RABARAMA: From the very beginning of my career! Even if I’ve experimented many styles, materials, subjects (from foetus-like works to animal-human mixed bodies) I can surely say that I’ve been always focused on the body.
My creative process starts inside me and then I immediately work on clay with my hands to create a figure. Then I work on it (with all the time I need to think, see, re-consider) on the details and on the patterns, signs that will cover the “skin” of the sculpture. When I decide to realize the final work in metal I use the casting technique of the “cera persa”, lost-wax casting, using the bronze as the material (it is really an ancient and glorious technique, since the times of the Bronze Age). It is a long process with various phases and then the casted work needs to be hand finished for the details and corrections. Then, if the work is meant to be an unique piece, I paint it by hand.
When I decide to realize a work in marble, an important part of the process is the choice of the best material to use (from Carrara marble, to onyx, etc.) because the work will take life and identity from the chosen rock.
ARTSNOB: As some of your sculptures are man, some are woman. And how do you define the body of woman and man? Do you think there is a big difference between the two?
RABARAMA: The body of the woman for me is the sensuality and elegance while the male body represents power and balance: I do not think there are big differences, however, if not those just highlighted. The body is a great work of art and if it was androgynous would be even more complete: I often depicted asexual bodies, this ’cause my need is to speak to all mankind, beyond gender barriers.
ARTSNOB: Your latest sculptures all have a pose of meditation. What is your personal relation with meditation?
RABARAMA: I spend my days thinking about everything that happens to me, about things that I read, hear and see, the people I meet, the coincidences and events that transform my life. I am yet arrived, however, to face a spiritual path on meditation, my mind and my body will ask me when the time is right.
ARTSNOB: You come from a very rich Italian culture but you work more around the concepts of Far East philosophy on your sculptures with the theme of body concepts. How did this sympathy evolve? Did you ever live in Far East?
RABARAMA: Yes, I’m Italian and proud and thankful to the great Italian history of art and culture. But Italy has always been a crossroads of different cultures from the Mediterranean, from the Middle East to Far East, America, Central Europe: don’t forget that Marco Polo, Cristoforo Colombo, Antonio Pigafetta and many other explorers who have created new cultural channels between different worlds, they were Italians.
The richness of the Italian culture is also due to this heritage of mixed cultures: you can see it in the architecture of various cities in Italy, from the Arabic influences of the south to the Germanic ones in the north and with so many cultural shades between them. Like Turkey has a great history of relationships with different countries, so has Italy and I’m sure that this is a great value, a real richness for all of us.
So I feel that the Far Eastern culture was already present in my culture (maybe thanks to Venice, Marco Polo and many others) and when I repeatedly visited China I really recognized the importance of Asian culture (in general). I was fascinated by it, but not only because of “exoticism” but because of a sort of “familiarity”, as the Oriental spirituality is so universal!
ARTSNOB: What is next in your schedule? New exhibition? Project?
RABARAMA: I would like to focus on my creative efforts 🙂 I’ve received different good proposals from art galleries around the world that would like to present my artworks in their Countries and I’m evaluating. I’m involved in very stimulating projects for 2015 and I’m happy to announce that the next year there will be the second edition of the Rabarama Skin Art Festival (with Kryolan) where the best body artists from Italy will be invited to create an artwork on the skin of the models.
In January I will be in Amsterdam at Artist-IQ event (www.artist-iq.nl) and in March there will be an important event in Las Vegas, a charity event with the Cirque du Soleil to benefit the NGO One Drop and I will donate one of my sculpture to contribute (and this sculpture is related to another big project involving art, science, culture but I can not speak of it now…top secret… )
ARTSNOB: You studied in Italy. At the time when you were a student, which artists were you inspired by?
RABARAMA: No doubts: Louise Bourgeois and Lucian Freud.
ARTSNOB: If you could go back in time, with which artist would you like to collaborate with?
RABARAMA: I would have liked to collaborate with Thutmose, one of the most important sculptors of ancient Egypt.
ARTSNOB: What is the main aspect of your sculptures that you believe attracts art viewers the most?
RABARAMA: Initially probably the colors, then the symbols that are part of the collective memory and if we add to this the fact that the canvas on which you find these two elements is the human figure probably the set becomes even more addictive.
ARTSNOB: You live and work in Italy. Have you ever been to Istanbul?
RABARAMA: Yes, I’ve been in Istanbul during the Autumn this year (2014), looking for inspiration from this great city and to meet some interesting people and galleries. I really like the city and I felt the deep historical roots, the cultural mix between East and West, the great energy of the people and their kindness too.
Galata Tower is so fascinating with that small plaza, the lovely cats everywhere, the mosques…all is great but at the same time at a comfortable human-size. In that visit I started to collaborate with Ilayda Gallery (http://www.galleryilayda.com/ ) and some weeks after they brought my works at the CI fair and they were really appreciated. So I’m thankful to many people in Istanbul 🙂