Marco Arduini, “Frammenti di Viaggio” (Journey Fragments), acrylic and tempera on a map applied to canvas 80x80 cmThe eye and heart are overwhelmed by waves of colour and emotion as we admire the works of Marco Arduini, a gifted painter and printmaker. Born in Reggio Emilia in 1959, he works on wood, canvas and antique paper (from 1800). His “artistic idiom” has clear references to American Pop Art, and his rigorous, essential works, whose details are always significant, never random, deliver a considerable emotional and chromatic punch.
Marco Arduini, “Occhio al cioccolato 1958” (Mind the Chocolate 1958), acrylic and tempera on wood 50x50 cm
Marco Arduini has won wide recognition, including the Mondadori Art Prize (finalist in 2010) in Milan; he has displayed his work at the 54th Venice Art Biennale in the Italy-Emilia Romagna hall and in dozens of personal and collective shows in Italy and abroad. He is present with some of his works and personal pages on Balibart, the French online art gallery, and at the Saatchi Gallery of contemporary art in London.
Marco Arduini, “Viaggio verso Parma”,
(Trip to Parma)
acrylic and tempera on canvas 80x80 cm
Marco Arduini, “1961 Verso Marina”,
(1961 Off to Marina)
acrylic and tempera on wood 45.5x40.5 cm
Wide talked to Marco Arduini, who told us he was a passionate Vesparado. Here’s what he told us.Travel and mobility are recurring themes in your work, which have a “nostalgic” feel. What are the roots of this creative focus? “It’s the result of a latent situation that “matured” gradually in my mind, it all took shape as I frequently saw vintage vehicles on the roads, which took me back in time; I would isolate them mentally to create a story, a dream, but they were also very contemporary for me, motorcars and Vespa scooters with unmistakeable, even unique lines. And I have to say with a touch of pride that I began my project well before the media and commercial revival of that period.”
Marco Arduini, “Club le Ruote 1975” (The Wheels Club, 1975), acrylic and tempera on wood 70x70 cm, 2008The Vespa has inspired generations of artists for almost 70 years and is one of the protagonists of your work, both on antique paper and in your brightly coloured paintings: have you fallen under its spell too? “As a creator of travel stories and with my love for the 1960s, I simply had to use vintage cars and two-wheelers. The pleasure of travel is succinctly expressed in that advertisement that says: when I learned to travel I started enjoying myself…”
As an artist, what particularly inspires you about the history and style of this iconic scooter, famous all over the world? “Since I’m also a Vespa devotee and a fan of vintage vehicles, I like presenting them in imaginary journeys, with almost theatrical landscapes, created ad hoc, with bright Pop Art colours; these are optimistic pictures depicting pleasure.”
What about your personal memories? Have you ever had a Vespa, and if so which model? “I was born in that period and have strong memories, in black and white, which is why I also reproduce them on antique paper, reworking the patina of time. I have three Vespas: a GL 150 from 1963, a 90 from 1964 and a PX Elestart 150 from 1998. I’m a member of two Vespa clubs in Reggio Emilia: the VC Correggio and the VC Montecchio. I take part in official and unofficial rallies.”
Satisfy our curiosity: as an artist who paints “movement”, how do you move around in daily life? “Every day I move around by car and Vespa, but the best journeys, in my imagination, are the ones in my pictures.”
Marco Arduini, untitled, acrylic and tempera on canvas 50x50 cm, private collection
As far as the Vespa’s long association with art is concerned, a visit to the Piaggio Museum in Pontedera ( www.museopiaggio.it/en) is an interesting adventure: the museum houses a number of “one-off pieces” depicting the Vespa by famous modern artists, as well as the celebrated Dalì Vespa. Marco Arduini: “I’m familiar with the story of the Vespa signed by Dalì – it’s a fascinating object – two legends side by side.”
Marco Arduini, “Partenza per la 6 Giorni, 1951” (Leaving for the 6 Days race, 1951”, graphite on antique paper from 1814, 56x44 cm, private collection
(Photo courtesy: Marco Arduini).