Patrizio Di Massimo
Ritratto dell’artista da vecchio / Portrait of the artist as an old man
video alta definizione, colore, suono / HD video, color, sound
11 minutes



Exhibited at: Voglio Vivere Così / I want to live like this, T293, Rome




When I was at art school, at the academy and I was in my twenties, I remember that I wanted to be a famous artist, as many of my peers of course, we were all willing to do that, and I remember that I started to look at the position of the artists that at the time were grand, those artists that were everywhere, in the biennales, in the magazine, and so I started to imitate their work.


The thing is that I felt that I was not as in control as I thought of what I could have done. You think you want to do something… but then indeed what you can really express is just related to you and this is not controllable. And this was difficult to accept but was simple to do at the end. And this simpliness made me feel very embarrassed, but beautiful.


And at that time I remember that was such an effort for me to combine these two problems, that of rejecting the positions I had previously incorporated in my work, and secondly, that of accepting that my work, was not exactly what people mean for avant-garde.  You know, the avant-garde of thinking in language terms – after this comes this, if something has been done, you cannot do it again.


This idea of the Darwinism of language – I always rejected it and I said, well I will lead the life of a loner, an artist dwelling on the forest edge, I’ll become a ‘best-kept secret”.


And I think that that was when I realized that becoming famous, that was not the point.


I remember I said to my-self: if you can’t be famous, you can at least be infamous!


The thing is that I’ve always tried to paint men and women as my erotic imagination impelled me and create images that have not been classified under any ism but simply as my images. Pictures that may appeal both to my care-taker or to the most sophisticated people in the world. Something that I would have enjoyed doing, and people who have enjoyed looking at.


So that’s why I think I took up this method that was the one of taking something about drama and dramatizing drama. Make drama out of the drama. And no matter what the stage would have been, I mean as a stage I mean the content. You can take  the most anonymous backdrop, the pre-Victorian book that you like to read, do a portrait of your self, the so called self-portrait. Really whatever works.


And to be different from all the other artists, but quite the same, because I wanted to be part of the game.


Yes that’s true, I made some works based on knowledge, on history, on the past. And although they may have been understood as didactic, it was my youth, and these things had to be done. The reason why I wanted to do deal with these things, to do these works, is that I wanted to be everything, I wanted to speak with everybody, I wanted to bring up on the table some kind of topic that everybody may have felt part of his own history. But yes it was difficult to make it work properly in a way because the quest for everything is nothing. And one thing, one thing can be everything instead.


Regarding my work, that was many things… it was very serious, but very ironic, it was committed to ideology, politics, philosophy, but was also erotic, and was very visual, and it had to be traversed, and yes it’s true it was never flat, and this idea of traversing it, it implied an effort, which I think I got in return, because there is a light of touch, that people recognise. And it’s true that is reticent as well, that is secret, but hopefully it gets revealing, and in its decorativeness, in its being sinuous, becomes mirroring. And it’s true also, that has never been defined in that sense. But I tell you – that never vague!


You see me… when I was young I had much less freedom than I have now. And much less I have now in return.


In this span of life, the more delightful way I have been spending my time, it was the one in which I became myself.


You know I just always repeated to my self, you have your instinct, that’s the only thing you have.


Yes I think my objective has been seeking for an easy life and not having to lie anymore . To be one of the crowd who believes in what the crowd does. In other words to do evil, genital arousal, catastrophe, magic potions, surgery, rumour and spelling, excitement and fondling.


It’s like with dancing you know… you do a movement and than you think you can dance forever, and it was just that first movement. Now with painting is the same, you just start, you make a sign, and you think you found your method and that you could go on, for the eternity. But then the reality is that the day after you go there and you try to re-create the same circumstances. But never works, it never happens to work, and every time you have to start again, from the beginning, and re-do everything again. It’s painful.


Well yes this was very much clear to me that we were in the new millennium and that the old twentieth century was gone. But that was not the point. You can not make a content out of this. And what I always wanted to make clear with my work is that man is always the same, whatever millennium we are talking about. Art shouldn’t reflect the times, it should reflect the man.


I tried many self-portraits in my life but I have to admit that not all of them became interesting.

For example… I never represented me through me, and through my self. Either it was someone else – my father, pictures found in the internet… or me aged… which of course was not me.


I have always been thinking about the future. Projecting my self into the future. Until the future has been. I just think it is wonderful not to know anything about the future.


I live you my portrait so that you will have my presence, every day and every night that I’ll be away from you.