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February 3rd - April 5th 2014


Sculpted Painting



Boldness on canvas. Interview with Alessandro Del Pero


Alessandro Del Pero, professional painter for just the last five years. And yet he has already had two shows in Chelsea, as well as various exhibitions in Italy, Spain and Germania. We went to meet him in his apartment/studio in Harlem.


Alessandro Del Pero, you were first an architect and then five years ago there was your professional turning point and you decided to devote yourself to painting. How did this decision come about?
Painting and architecture are two parallel worlds that are however very far from each other. Creativity in architecture consists in searching for the solution to a problem, which is a very fascinating question. Except that it was no longer enough for me. That’s how I came to choose a profession based on creativity and talent. No more than that.


Do you sometimes want to retrace your steps or, at least, take some time off from painting for architecture?
A pure artist never has the ambition of being considered an architect. If anything, the opposite occurs. In particular, certain great names in architecture are keen on being called artists. If I’ve got any regrets about architecture, it’s that I didn’t stop earlier. But it’s okay this way. The fact of having been an architect forms part of my curriculum as an artist. It’s a period from the past of my life which I can live with happily.


You’ve only just arrived in New York: what’s your impression of the contemporary art world in this city?

I’ve got an overall positive opinion of New York. I wanted to be here and at the moment I wish to live here as long as possible. 


The most obvious difference compared to Europe?

It’s a strongly inward-looking world. A significant part of New York contemporary art is based on being introduced by someone who can pull strings. Perhaps it’s the same in Europe too, but here it’s done more obviously, almost shamelessly. It’s especially for this reason, in my opinion, that too much art that you see around this city is impersonal.


Other findings?
I was surprised by the continuous requests for self-presentation by artists. So-called statements. Rubbish. A habit that will soon get swept away.


And when someone asks you to present your paintings, how do you reply?
That I don’t have a statement. If they insist, I reply with a quotation that isn’t mine: “It is only after getting to know the surface of things that one adventures into looking for what is underneath. It is a pity that the surface of things is inexhaustible”. It’s by Italo Calvino.


Truly nothing to add?
That I started late.


What do you mean by “late?
My first official work as a painter was in 2009 in Barcelona. I was 29 years old. That’s where it all started but I’m still an outsider. Even after two shows at the Tazza Gallery in Chelsea I feel that the best is yet to come.


Your latest works contain references to the architectonic space where you live. 
Well, yes, I often paint my wall. In the Facebook epoch I paint the wall I use for working… But my painting goes beyond its contents. Its contents are a pretext. For me paintings are a container of talent. They are manner and substance. and also musical tone.


Can your painting be considered Italian or does this nationalistic idea no longer count for you?
Certainly my painting is Italian.


What does being an Italian painter mean for you?
Nothing. Just my history. Which is also our history. It influences you. As I’ve been influenced by the crucifixion, just to give you the first example that comes to mind. I grew up in the Italian district in Bolzano. In the Alto Adige region there are more crucifixes than women. The German speakers there curse in Italian. In this divided and frontier region the crucifix and cursing are two strong unifying elements.


How is your relationship Christianity? You seem polemical on the question.
No polemics. Quite the contrary. I’m simply afraid of anyone who’s faithful to something. I’m afraid of it. Spirituality is something else.


Why does someone who believes in something make you afraid?
Because it means putting your life in someone else’s hands. Unacceptable.


Who are your true masters in painting?
Without exaggerating, the first is without doubt Roberto Baggio.


The footballer?
Roberto Baggio is a sublime example of someone who wasn’t concerned about what he did, but how he did it. His gestures. His elegance. His goals. I don’t know how to say to you but for me he’s a great master.


And then?
Mohammad Ali or, if you prefer, Cassius Clay. In painting, as in every art, personality is everything. For me great painting has to search for personality and a heart. Like Mohammed Ali when he was boxing.


Your next works?
I haven’t got any project. The figurative situations I paint follow a spontaneous thread. Something that develops by itself and in itself, without ever knowing what’s going on.


Alessandro Berni



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