Ramondino was born in Palma de Majorca. She lives and works in Rome.
She has exhibited in: Florence, Rome,
Naples, Bologna, Cologne, Paris,
Some essays on Annalisa Ramondino's work:
Paolo Levi; "Annalisa
ramondino's Utopian Cities"
by Giovanni Gugg................................................................
present time, with its many possibilities of transcultural dialog, shows
how much it is more and more factitious to establish a clear-cut break
between "Us" and the "Others". This is specially
evident in the exhibition "Arte & Gioco in Mostra" ("Art & Game On View"),
where African toys gathered by Enrico Castelli and Alberto Fortunato
show a part of the creativeness of a vast and variegate continent that
contributed, with its three dimensional universe, to the great revolution
of modern art by freeing European artists from the rigid and conventional
rules of classic art.
Ms. Ramondino, we'll begin with your singular stylistic choice. What started your interest in the discarded object and its usage in an artistic key?
I don't know. For years I collected old papers, old pieces of fabrics or buttons… and also broken objects like a grinder… in brief, anything was beautiful for me. I still have several trunks filled with these things. I kept them because they moved me. Discarded objects fascinate me. Residual pieces, leftovers, relics, that are cultural waste, that have a stratified memory of gestures, occurrences, calamities that molded them little by little. They are thrown away, but they are alive and I want to revive them and I am desperate if I can't save them, rescue them from exile and disuse.
In what way do your works come into existence? What is your favorite subject?
Looking at my works, now I realize which
are my preferred subjects: first buildings, houses, factories, and then
the army. But not at the beginning. Everything happened by chance. In
the village where I have my studio they often renovated old houses and
so they gifted me with ceiling planks, some painted white, others covered
with newspapers and then painted over, so I thought at once of houses
having scraped walls, the same houses from where the material came from,
the houses that were about to disappear. My houses look like old white,
pink, stone colored hamlets seen from faraway, from a train, passing
by: they rise in the remoteness and look like mirages. Then I finished
the wood and I went into despair. But I had old drainpipes that came
from the same old houses, they were metal-gray, the army color, and
so the war camp was born, with its varied war machinery. When it was
done, I was amused by the idea of having a personal army to defend me
from life. But it didn't. It was only tin.
Every object has and is a story, and its artistic expression almost seems to want a connection with its past. There is, in your work, a sort of "Search of Lost Time"?
Memory and nostalgia are always present.
As Cabrera Infante says, "memory is the first and the last time engine.
There's only time and memory. Nostalgia is the soul's memory",. These
objects have a story, they have an elsewhere, For example, the wood
I use for the Boxes is from old discarded boats and have many layers
of painting that make me think about labor, fatigue, about the experience
of living. In my work I always pay attention to the recovery and the
safeguard of memory, but with a peculiarity: I don't recover everything,
but only what moves me, what arouses my curiosity and amazes me.
Your work strongly refers to the game, are there any playful moments in your art?
Always. When I have materials, always. I'm amused, I play every time I am creating something, but just finding materials is very amusing for me, it's a source of inspiration. My only critical moment happens when I don't have the material, it's like the lack of paper and pen for a writer or colors for a painter. But each time a scrap moves me, I'm certain that sooner or later something will come out of it.
African objects that are the other soul of this exhibition, could be considered what Claude Lévi-Strauss defines as "Science of the Concrete" where the bricoleur "performs his work with his own hands by employing means different from those used by a professional" and ssucceeds in "adapting to the tools he has at his disposal". You yourself fix things, you patch them up, you transform, express yourself with what you have and communicate the idea that you made a practical experience: so maybe you are also a bricoleuse, don't you think?
Well, as a matter of fact, sometimes I am a bricoleuse because I like to construct my sculptures with my own hands, other times, after I plan them (materials to be used, shapes, proportions, dimensions) I ask for the help of others for the realization of the project. I have, for example, a good welder who solders some objects. Our collaboration is more than ten years old, it was difficult at the beginning because somehow he felt debased by these odd objects of mine, but then he became passionate about them and now he supports and valorizes them to others
Ms. Ramondino, in what way do you define your work? ....................................
I wouldn't know exactly, but maybe I can answer you with the words of a friend of mine, who says that my sculptures are "transfigured objets-trouvés, pieces of material placed in another context, bricolage-narrations, where materials are stratified in a coherent array of heterogeneous stories".
You said that discarded objects inspire you. Do you believe it to be pertinent to interpret your sculptures as disapproval of the opulent and consumerist society?
As a matter of fact I've never thought about it. Maybe it can be more appropriate to those people who pick-up old coffee tables or shelves, abandoned armchairs and so on, to use them for the same purpose.
In what measure were you inspired by what is commonly called "Ethnic Art"?
My many travels in Africa and elsewhere,
and also the excursions I took in the Italian poorest countryside, taught
me a lot. The freedom of mixing different colors and materials. For
example: in a rich country a door is made of one piece, in a poor country
it can be made of leftover pieces of various colored woods, a bit of
bin, a net, a piece of tin sheet and so on, and it looks like a modern
There are some aspects of your art that remind me of Ettore Guatelli's aesthetic and museum-building work. He said that is was "a big crime" to prevent evidences from past times, even in dumps, to be recovered. Like the mentor of Ozzano Taro, do you also think that your sculpture contributes to the recovery of a memory of marginality?
I agree with Ettore Guatelli, who I
know and admire.