Maretti prize 2013
Tibaldi is immediately attracted to the outskirts, and from the start of his artistic practices they become an important theme of study; he is fascinated by these places, these real places of aggregation, but peripheries interpreted also as mental categories. Each time he has to begin a new work in these areas, he practices exercises of deep knowledge which are, at the basis, the most important part of his work, the incipit from which everything begins.
From: "You cannot talk about an artist if you don’t know their life first."
By Sabrina Vedovotto
To profoundly know the place where he will be going to with his ideas and which will only take form thanks to impulses which come from territories such as these. Tibaldi, though, doesn’t centre only on the places but also, especially and most often, on who lives in them. In his methodology of work, in fact, the artist always traces the same route, as we have already outlined. It is an itinerary of the knowledge of the places, the people, their habits and ways of living, both whether his range of action is centred on aggregation or whether his concentration runs on categories of people. Basically, we begin to define it without fear. The outskirt is that place which we believe is far from us but which often instead, walks beside us.
When dealing with this type of reality, the artist inserts himself, clambers up, appropriates himself with moods, tries his best to live those situations in order to make them his. It is only in this way possible, in fact, to give back an objective version by living within the subjective reality. Walking through those areas, savouring the smells, quite often strong and pungent, feeling the sensations, and creating difficult dialogues, all render the practice of knowledge very similar to that of ordinary life, and talking, talking and yet again talking, - but also listening – allows the artist’s perception to create a web of knowledge and complex social relations. It is necessary that these people, quite often considered by many as the low life of society, view the speaker as someone whom they can trust, someone who they can give the possibility to recount and open up to. In order to do this, the first natural step is certainly that of allowing them to be a part of events taking place in their own ives, so as the trust becomes a mutual one. All of this, I believe, brings us to a psychological wear down but also to an awareness of what we are about to face.
His stay in Licola for more than a year, his longest period of stay in one place which wasn’t his own real home, was probably dictated by his own need as an artist, but I believe also as a man, to want to finally leave and to profoundly and totally insinuate himself in a world far away from his own, to meet people with stories distant from the banal standards. The necessity to introduce himself and to bring to light certain things, certain characteristics of distant lives, becomes perhaps the most obvious thing to do, in a place so unique.
As we have said, Tibaldi remains in seaside Licola for over a year, not placing an objective of any artistic type but simply going and living there, without knowing much about the rules of the place. He rents a house along the seaside, trying to live his life in the most autochthonous way, but with objective resistance, such as the absence of heating, a high level of humidity and thousands of other difficulties connected specifically to the place. He does it in a conscious manner; only by approaching the highest way possible to the modus vivendi of the people who live there would he have been able to perhaps read, in such a clear yet disenchanted manner, the uniqueness of that place and to reproduce an exact photograph. Reflecting in retrospect on his main work, accomplished after his stay, entitled Licola Pop up, one can understand that the state of mind produced in a place like this must be extremely deposited in Eugenio’s spirit, and a physiological catharsis must have had its weight so that later, a work of such important social depth would come out. The pop up expresses strength, character, personality and recounts that place exactly as it is read in reality. My eyes first set place on the artist’s work and then on the place from which everything took off, yet I would have recognised it amongst other thousands, not just because of the iconological and iconographic symbols that exist and that can be seen, but because of the story that is whispered from the cardboard and of the inexistent yet alive presence.
Such a polished and precise representation of a place of this kind obviously did not take place during his months of stay there; in that period in fact, as we have already mentioned, the artist never placed the question about what living in that place would have produced in an artistic point, or what would have arisen; he lead his life in the most natural way possible, allowing himself to slip within all those small details, those paradigms which would later arise externally. Not immediately, though, since a physiological detachment allowed him to see the results of that stay in a clearer and more definitive manner, viewing them autonomously from his emotions.
Tibaldi reflects on his work without considering the viewer, the consumer. While he elaborates and designs, he perceives the stimuli for himself, stimuli which are then used for the transformation of his ideas into artistic solutions. Yet his work is inescapable from the viewer as it is an integrating part in the construens phase and always the subject of interest at the moment of use. Although absolute coincidence between the semantic intention of the artist himself and the decoding of the consumer does not exist, it is exactly this last one that comes closer to the work with a personal aesthetic past. At times, the juxtaposition between who has lived through the story and who is reading it proves to be corresponding and credible. Of course, in a different light and with different experiences. Panosky states that “art expresses society because the figurative object contributes in producing it”. In this specific case, it is society that is subordinated to a precise analytical reading, dictated by in the field experience. Those who had lived through that year in Licola have contributed to the construction of relationships, stories and experiences, and have been viewers unaware of the grid of sensations and ideas which later brought to the accomplishment of Pop up, but also to all the other accomplished works. Neighbours, small shop owners of prime necessities, passers-by, non-European immigrants and children, have all contributed to the implementation of a casus, a course that allowed Tibaldi to conclude in designing an object, a sculpture and an installation of great dimension yet re-closable and transportable.
It is metaphorically like Licola, transportable in mind and memory but also re-closable and thus placed in a gorge, in the realm of oblivion. By all. Yet thanks to the work of Pop-up, the small town of Licola was able, for a brief moment, to become part of a distant reality, the so-called world of art, which sanctioned it from the common and obvious idea that everybody identifies with that place. Many of those who will see this work, which will become part of a museum collection, will perhaps have the curiosity to ask themselves what Licola actually is, where it is located, what actually takes place in a location like this. Perhaps they will think that, with a superficial reading deprived of cognitive support, the identified and depicted elements are only of pure fantasy; it will be reality that will disavow them, if indeed they are interested in going and seeing it in person, and their eyes will identify the small details represented on the cardboard. Licola Pop up, with its minute elements and pertinent details, faithfully recalls reality; there are houses and great buildings, but also the sea and the estuary. And then there are the satellite dishes, the thousands of satellite dishes, which have become the recognisable element of these places, an element which we find in all the outskirts of the world, in all those places where poverty and ignorance, in an etymological sense of the term, define places of aggregation. The inhabitants of Licola, considered as the last block of civilization, people who by historical context of birth and thousands of other characteristics, perhaps are not even recognised by the society itself in which they live. It is a sort of parallel world, identified itself, though, by a strong reality, by stories that accurately trace stylemes, people with needs of survival, children whose eyes have never seen a street outside of that of their home’s, elderly people who would not be able to recognise the quarters of their own city. People born and raised sedimented in one place, their area of belonging, a place difficult to get out of perhaps for objective difficulties, perhaps for fear or perhaps because they simply can’t. Lives born always begin and end in the same place, without anybody considering their social, economic and cultural rights. Licola, and like Licola tens of other scattered places in the world, has a closed structure, an architrave within which makes it difficult to enter; meeting the locals is not an easy task as they are scared of the unknown, of strangers. They have always been used to seeing the same faces. Entering Licola means going to no man’s land, where the rules are different from those which we know as such; there are many others though, it is not a place of anarchy but simply a parallel world. A world where illegality rules, where primary services lack and where very few are able to pay them. People who, in order to live, are forced to have humble jobs unrecognised by civil society. Or, quite often, they are jobs which border with illegality or are totally illegal but that are moreover extremely essential for survival in the so-called legal social apparatus. Thus we arrive at the concept of Siamese reality, two adjoining realities connected by a series of social dynamics but yet distant. Licola, like all outskirts, is defined as a non-place, term utilized for the first time by Marc Augè in his homonymous book, a neologism which became part of the Italian language in 2003; spaces that do not have an identity, history or relation. Tibaldi, on the other hand, who carefully read the book, sets these places in contrast with Augè’s definition by defining them super places, physical and mental spaces from where tales, stories and experiences begin and unravel, places which have become essential for any type of society.