Roberto Rizzo is a painter who was born in Cernusco sul Naviglio (Milan) in 1967. He attended the Art high school (Liceo Artistico) and graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera in Milan. “I started to paint very young. The Art high school was what formed me the most, the teachers were real artists, persons still feeling art as a politic, intellectual and human engagement. After, during the Academy years, I have grown in a different framework influenced by the postmodern idea of disengagement”. During that period, the main password of our times was created: “contamination”, as a confused and unwitting parody of the human utopia also expressed in a new version by the twenties century avant-garde artists.
How did you reconcile these two so distant different pictorial philosophies?There is not reconciliation. In Italy, the artistic debate, as any other debate, was conditioned by the political-ideological activity. I am referring to the ’60 and ’70 years of the last century. At the beginning, it was most probably very interesting, but then it became something more related to a power, cultural and economic hegemony. People were seriously thinking that in a new society the Art should be free and total, without any specialization. The new society did not arrive, but the new art did. It is neither free nor total, but rather superficial and unlettered. During the’80s, the art masters learned how to ride the new art market. Painting was allowed to survive only if it was not disturbing too much. It is known, history is written by winners. Only they can review the past and build the actual models. The present time, however, is not very good. Maybe it is time to review some things.
What do you mean with “commitment”?
I am referring mostly to a human commitment rather than an ideological engagement, to the will to avoid staying at the surface of the actual, and going deeper in all the things. It means, in my case, feeling responsible for the comparison between myself and the space in which I work, the picture. Very often, works showing social or politic matters are considered committed, but they are only instrumental vehicles not able to influence the real human life. For me, to be committed means working on the language structures and on the human perceptions, on the link between the space in which I am acting and the framework in which it is contained.
As for you the artwork is independent by the used tool to achieve it, did you experience a new approach?
I am a curious person and I am attracted by all the different artistic languages. But I don’t like to be superficial; I’ll never become a video artist from one day to another, without experience and without study. I know, nowadays the dilettantism is fashionable but it is not for me. I am a painter. A pictures painter. Picture is a space, physically defined, but ideally absolute. I am not interested to overcome the picture space, what I want is investigate its limits. If someone defines me as an abstractive painter, I do not mind. However, knowing that the true motifs of a picture stand on its reflexive level, instead of the figurative one, and considering the opposition pointless between figurative and not figurative, I simply prefer to consider myself as a painter.
Can we state that your research is about the possible infinite?
Yes, I like it, it looks very pragmatic. I want to paint what comes after the monochromatic painting reset; I want to rebuild, not remove, the deconstructive experience of the ‘900 arts.
You never called your works “Art”, neither you called yourself “Artist”; are they labels you avoid?
Nowadays, considering all are artists, it is ridiculous. I am a painter and this is enough for me. Others have to tell if I am an artist or not, history will tell us.
Interview by Alice Manieri
Courtesy of the Artist