Mimmo Paladino, I Drammaturghi, 2024 / Photo Andrea Morgillo
Mimmo Paladino: I Drammaturghi
Jun 6, 2024 – ongoing
Teatro Due / Reggio Parma Festival
Parma, Italy

Mimmo Paladino’s work is as difficult to classify as it is easy to classify it; this difficulty lies in not being able to pigeonhole it in a univocal direction, in a single register or medium, and yet so simple since – however capable it may be of moving over an unlimited and unrestricted territory – it is still the action of a painter, a painter aware of his role in the development of the long history of art.

Even in the case of the stained glass windows of the Teatro Due in Parma, Paladino proves that he is the artist who transforms “possibility” into image, suggestion, remembrance, short-circuit. Glass, which carries with it the long medieval tradition of cathedrals along with the twentieth-century innovation of the great masters of the avant-garde (think about Henri Matisse and George Rouault), is the pretext for reuniting the present with the past, demonstrating that art has no time or space, but everything happens in a continuous moment in which the viewer carries the distinctive, destined element. Then the figures of the eminent playwrights quoted, from those of ancient Greece or Apulia, from London to the cold monsters of Northern Europe, are the pretext for representing man, and especially man in his best creative manifestations, as they plumb the soul to hint at who we are, all the more so today where what we would like to seem matters.

And this experimentation is remarkable because it takes place in the theater, which since Plato’s reflections could be considered a place of subversion, and which precisely between the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the next century characterizes scandal as novelty. Two great moments of artistic revolution arise from as many Parisian theaters: the Opera Garnier – which opens to Edgar Degas’s revolution of movement, then the Russian Ballet Theater, which explodes a new form through Émile-Antoine Bourdelle’s bas-reliefs dedicated to Vaslav Nijinsky and Isadora Duncan.

Mimmo Paladino, who understands theater by often collaborating with directors and companies to accompany their performances (the origin of the famous and fundamental Salt Mountain derives from such interventions), has, however, maintained an important prerogative, namely that he has never theatricalized art (something that has been quite fashionable lately), conversely he has appropriated “theater” as one of the many elements that can enter and live in his works, perhaps almost cannibalizing it. I believe that Parma, its citizens, and the friends who have been accompanying our work for years deserved this work, which is (not only) the testimony of a great artist but also wants to be a bit the theatrical memory of all of us. Through I Drammaturghi we better understand how much theater has given us and can give us, how we have grown civilly and become adults, how new generations can take in the cultural tradition and transcend it, move forward.

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