On the canvas the mysterious satellite proposes timeless enigmas
Like Leopardi’s wandering shepherd, the moon has always been a faithful speaker who asks questions that have been accompanying humanity throughout existence. It is always there, reminding us of our incompletion. By virtue of its mysterious charms, it captivates and takes us by the hand towards the infinite. However, this tension is stuck in a finite life and world. Paola Romano’s art develops in this suspended dimension, which is neither finite nor infinite. Her works are featured in the Succisa Virescit, Lights and Shadows exhibition that is running at the Abbey of Montecassino, which is curated by Roberto Capitanio.
Her moons are like symbols that invite us to look beyond and transcend everyday life
Her precise and delicate brushstrokes evoke suggestive images that unavoidably refer to something else. Her graceful and rich art reminds us that we are imperfect creatures; thanks to her allusive vocation, the artist succeeds in making us feel alive through an intimate and overwhelming conversation with her works. So, the image of destruction – the one that wiped out the thousand-year-old Abbey of Montecassino in 1944 – conveys a spiritual feeling that transcends war itself. Almost to mean that life is an accomplishment that can never be completely achieved. And, most importantly, that weakness is vital. In this context, birth represents the opportunity to take a journey towards completeness that is never earthly. It is man himself who notices it, in his constant pursuit of what escapes him. So even the most destructive of events is never completely destructive, because the breath of life always survives. Through her many imperfect moons, the artist seems to be willing to arouse in visitors what Roberto Capitanio calls a feeling of “perceptual displacement, which somehow consists in a different interpretation of the same subject, but at different times and under different conditions”. So let everyone find – within themselves – the answer to this timeless question: “What is the meaning of life?” Paola Romano’s painting teaches us that everything is changeable and that it is in this mutability that everyone shall find their own stability. However, she also warns us against deception: even our most faithful satellite – which represents dreams and mystery – shows only one of its two faces to us. But how Italo Calvino – another moon-loving poet – suggested, those who love the moon “are not content with the mere contemplation of it, as with conventional images; they want to see something more in it, they want it to mean something more”. This concept was masterfully taken up by Martina Valente, who said that, in Romano’s art, the Moon is a symbol of rebirth, because of the way in which “it regenerates in the artist’s creative hands every time.” In the exhibition catalogue, Donato Ogliari – the Archabate of the Abbey of Montecassino – observes that these moons are also symbols that “invite us to look beyond and transcend the often uncertain and contradictory flow of everyday life”.
Ombre e luci
Abbazia di Montecassino