Memorie Modernissime. Drawings and Little Films by Stefano Ricci
Sottopasso piazza Re Enzo
12 May 2023 – 28 January 2024
It is a story of ghosts. They are comprised of light and can be found under Piazza Maggiore. My mother went there as a child, before the war. She told me about the frescos, the amateur singers and the cinema. She also dreamt about it: two youn girls approach her to show her some clothes; they are wearing the clothes, which are made of transparent fabric have the colour of a dog rose; and I woke up with that colour still in front of my eyes – an amazing colour, partly pink and partly white; and I said to myself, how can I choose, they are both so beautiful!
When I entered there for the very first time, there was a cement mixer turning slowly in the middle of the auditorium and two bricklayers moving around like cats in the background. I immediately wanted to draw them. But Gian Luca said, “and what if it was to become a little film?”. Lorenzo gave me all the photographs he had taken in the building site, archaeological traces layered in time which will remain underneath the plaster and frescoes of the Modernissimo forever.
And so I started animating ghosts. I drew a couple of friends; they entered dancing a dance of love. When they left, Elena, seen from behind, entered performing rhythmic gymnastics; it is the end of year show and she is seven years old, but as I draw, she keeps changing, morphing into an adult before my very eyes.
The cement mixer continues churning with a cosmic movement; inside – in the dark – a white jellyfish swims, as bright as a milk bubble. Close to it, a white horse shakes its mane slowly. There is even an Etruscan behind the scaffolding, together with other friends, cinematic phantoms crossing the auditorium. I want to animate the scenes in my mind. I don’t know whether I can do so in time, but all my drawings will be displayed in an exhibition in the Sottopasso along with the experiments I have conducted in recent years, animating and filming the things I see.
A few years ago I started filming in order to make use of certain physical movements in drawn animations. I use a photographic camera that sits in my hand like a pencil. This practice changed my way of looking at things. In the end, the process is simple: I try to place myself in line with things and I search for the right point of view, height and distance to see them properly. It is also important to identify the light that illuminates them. And so, I entered a room I did not know, full of possibilities, marked by life and intersected – as it were – by space and time.
The little hand-drawn films, several stop-motion shorts using the stitched puppets and animals which I make with Ericailcane, a few medium-length political films – I try to make all these little experiments with image/movement according to an urgency, an internal necessity, which is indispensable if I am to see the people, animals and communities fully come to organic life.