Being inspired in Napoli. A conversation with Christian Leperino.

Christian Leperino  is a Neapolitan painter and sculptor. He teaches Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts. Some of his works are present in museum collections and public spaces, including MADRE Museum in Napoli, MMOMA-Moscow Museum of Modern Art, IICT in Tokyo, Civic Gallery of Contemporary Art of Suzzara, Naples-Mergellina station, Cathedral of the Assumption, Aragonese Castle of Ischia.

He was born in Ponticelli, a neighbor under Vesuvius, located east of the city of Napoli, until recently crossed by the Sebeto river. He is, both as a man as well as an artist, closely linked to the city and is constantly powered by a volcanic energy that he expresses in art. The reflection of time and the memories related to places recur as themes in his most recent artistic productions. Working in Napoli is not like working in other cities in the world. Traveling a lot for work, Christian noticed that when he is abroad, in order to be inspired, he must visit a museum. In Napoli this does not happen because going out and looking around gives you any possible inspiration.

IP – How would you describe Napoli? –

CL – I believe that Napoli represents a great possibility. I mean, as an artist, I can say that in Napoli there is the opportunity to experience the sensation of walking on history, on stories every day. This means experiencing the city beyond its natural beauty. In Napoli, modernity and ancient stories alternate. It is a city that allows you to connect its memory with the contemporary. Napoli is a city that has the ability to give you a lot but also is able to take away a lot. We are citizens of this place that lives in the shadow of the colossal monster that is the volcano. So we move with a constant emotional tension, because ‘he could sweep away all this beauty in a single moment, as has unfortunately happened many times. About Neapolitans they are a complex people. Precisely because of their relationship with fire. Living dominated by Vesuvius which represents fire, and embraced by the sea which is clearly water, they experience a strong contrast. Constantly experimenting with these two contrasting elements and walking daily on layers of history makes us a quite unique people, certainly complex. This complexity makes me reflect on both memory and the future. –

IP – Does it hurt to let go of a work? –

CL – Every time a work comes out of my studio there is always a little bit of suffering. However, it needs to happen because the work is basically an idea, so it is right that this is shared. It is like giving birth after a long gestation. The work must go out, let itself be looked at and set out on its path in the world. –

To be such, the work must necessarily be public. It is right that a child, after raising him and giving him all of yourself, let him be free to be, free to be beauty.

CL – The work ends when the public looks at it. But it is true that this gaze changes over time –

The works are messages and those that Christian expresses through his works are complex. One wonders how Gen Z accepts this complexity.

CL – The complexity of the works gives young people a “broader breath of thought” ample room for explanation. Another thing is when we stop at the surface trap, often in simple works with a faster impact. The works that give me everything back immediately remain on the surface and fill my eyes only. I prefer those that give me depth. –

Landscapes of Memory

Christian works are many and complex. “Landscapes of Memory”, of which you can see the work in progress shown in the images, is one of his many extraordinary projects. It was born in a double monumental installation at the National Archaeological Museum of Napoli, inaugurated on 21 June 2012, unfortunately today it can no longer be visited.

Il Sogno dell’Eroe. The first resident contemporary art work by a living artist.