From purple to the Imperceptible
Born in Bologna but living in Rome since the age of 3. "Painters are born, note made," says artist and art teacher Veronica Piraccini, "if I was not born with this vocation, I would never have come this far." Veronica started painting at the kindergarten, showing her natural talent, which led her to win her first professorship in painting at 23. From scarlet to subtle substance, from artistic tradition to innovation: this is the journey that Veronica makes every day in her personal way of thinking about painting.
When did you realize you wanted to be a painter?
Almost immediately. When I was at the kindergarten I already painted myself from behind drawing on a canvas some artistic figure. I think I was born painter. Teaching came later, as a result of my love for art.
Painting and teaching are therefore one single thing in your life?
I became a teacher at 23. After attending the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, I won my first professorship in painting. Then I travelled to Milan, Palermo, Frosinone and came back to the Rome, where today I am master of art in the same Academy from where I left.
What is the painting of Veronica?
I think making art means creating beautiful works that teach and launch a message to the viewers; in my work, I always try to melt tradition with artistic innovation with elements I developped.
What do you mean?
In the 80s and 90s I founded the a theoretical movement called "Antirappresentazione" together with the poet Francesco Leonetti and the epistemologist Eleonora Fiorani. It is a new way of perceiving reality in different flows of communication through the use of tracks, tangles and points in a space where figures and people appear. The use of purple in my painting is very important; it is an ancient tradition used to dye fabrics thanks to the extraction of this material from a marine mollusc called Murex. I love the purple because it does not oxidize with light indeed; it seems increasingly shining with a unique colour ranging from red to violet.
Is there any personal touch that makes your work different from others?
Surely the use of the Invisibile (the so-called Unseen): it is a new chemical substance, the result of a long research that I experienced for the first time as "Imperceptible".
What is the reason this name?
The substance appears in the painting only in certain conditions. I have used it in a life-size reproduction of the Holy Shroud. In this case the cloth appears empty; only by turning on a special ultraviolet light suddenly the image of Christ appears surrounded by red and blue elements (due to the Unseen); bright and intense colours that invade his body representing the signs of martyrdom and the scourge blows he suffered crucifixion.
Thinking about young people who would like to approach your same career, do you think you can make a living out of painting today in our country?
I think so but there are different ways of making art. It is definitely not an easy time for painting in Italy but as Plinio said "the beauty of art is that it always rises again." What I notice today is often the lack of tenacity to paint; it is also important to have one’s own artistic integrity, a style and not to "prostitute" one's own talent to earn more. It is crucial to have and maintain one’s own mark in painting.