Art is like wine, it creates connections. An interview to Ugo Nespolo
Ugo Nespolo is one of the great artists whose works “illuminate” Art Park La Court. We interviewed him to find out how art, landscape and wine interact.
Taking art to life and everyday life to art, away from the galleries and museums and into the places where people live and work. Ugo Nespolo, born in 1941, is a complete artist, or rather, a man-artist, as he has been defined, whose works encompass disparate materials, spheres and contexts.
These range from painting, sculpture, applied arts, installations, experimental films, stage set and costume design and advertising to collaboration with philosophers such as Giancarlo Ferraris and humanists like Umberto Eco. All of this while maintaining a vital, joyous, “poetic” energy in its most etymological meaning, that of the Greek ποιέω, the “creative making” that composes and invents new worlds. “Artists should not set themselves limits – he says. “Art is the intrinsic element in all the means with which I create my works”.
The Turin-born artist applied the same inventiveness at Art Park La Court. Here, in 2013, on the 10th anniversary of its opening, Nespolo created Door to the Vineyards, a sort of multi-coloured entrance to Michele Chiarlo’s museum among the vineyards. The Door’s exuberant colours and Pop Art style invites visitors to get into the spirit to enjoy a new experience, one which combines the magic of the scenery, the workaday rows of vines and the poetry of art
Ugo Nespolo, can you tell us how you met Michele Chiarlo and why you decided to create the Door?
I was invited by the Chiarlo family to the celebrations for the 10th anniversary of Art Park La Court. I was immediately fascinated by the idea that strangers to the art world, people totally committed to vineyards and winemaking, were interested in and appreciated my work. However, when I learned that more than ten years ago, Michele Chiarlo and his sons had established an open air museum, open to everyone, in a setting as special as that of a vineyard, I became truly enthusiastic about being involved.
How did the idea for the Door originate?
My intention was to create a symbolic door to and on the hill, a kind of three part sculpture, an entablature that acted as both a rite of passage, of entry to a new world, and as a frame to highlight the surrounding landscape. It was important to do something on the hill, in contact with the hill.
Could it be described as land art?
I’d say a landscape work, rather. Working with the landscape means respecting it. My door is something very light, transparent, almost ethereal. The aim was not to create a theatrical effect or overload, but to reveal what was already there and is still there – to put the focus on the landscape, not relegate it to a supporting role.
What is your relationship with Monferrato?
Monferrato is a wonderful place that is no less enviable than other more famous hills. Maybe it is less touristy, but that should be seen as a positive – it has kept its natural, authentic aspect more than other winegrowing areas. An authenticity that is not only natural, but also human.
Is it true you love Barbera d’Asti?
While I’m not a great drinker, I do love Barbera. It is “our” wine, a traditional wine, always on my grandparents’ table, an everyday wine. Perhaps it is simpler than Barolo or Barbaresco, less renowned. What is certain is that it is more authentic, a wine which, like art, expresses the best of itself when it creates a rapport between people.
You have recently signed the Corporate Art Manifest, which promotes the encounter between art and brands – how can the two be reconciled?
The great avant-garde movements have always worked with industry. As much as the detractors would like, I don’t see any contradictions. Companies are one form of society’s lifeblood, one of its lungs. Working with corporate entities means connecting with the real, productive world. Trade has always brought closeness and influences, laying the way for relations between people and creating ties, one of the things that fascinates me most and is central to my life as an artist.