The Italian artist Veronica Barbato uses the language and dimensions of street art, keeping faith with the promises of love between sisters
an article written by Carmen Line Hust
ARTICULATE Promote | April 2021
Thus, he lived not knowing and not seeing the possibility or know what he was and why he was in the world, tormenting himself for his ignorance to the point of fear of suicide, and at the same time opening up firmly in life own road, well traced and all its own.
Anna Karenina, Lev Tolstoy
According to the Italian artist Veronica Barbato (b. 1981), the movements of the early 1980’s were reflected in the trio: reflux, armed struggle and heroin. The three elements that characterized that tragic period. Telling an increasingly widespread topic, social unrest, rebellion, drugs and freedom. This story is the one of her sister.
At the age of 23, Barbato’s sister, Mary committed suicide. The aim of this project is Barbato giving her sister the life she never lived. Orienting herself towards the contemporary, Barbato uses the language and dimensions of street art, keeping faith with the promises of love between sisters and making her sister travel the world, as she was unable to do. An exhibition and a communication strategy inspired by street art to make it an icon. An exhibition that develops with the natural involvement of people and artists from all over the world.
Barbato launched a communication campaign by means of posters. Defining the fundamental role of art in defining perception. A photographic exhibition in continuous movement "on the road". In the photos she inserts bright colors to represent hallucinations, phrases taken from the secret diaries of her sister, glitter describing the false illusion of drugs, mixing the past and the present.
TUA SORELLA was born from a letter received five years after the death of Mary – it was undoubtedly her. The same words, the same way of expressing through another person, who acted as an intermediary, this letter saved Barbato from a continuous gravitational collapse. The project is the result of a social redemption, bringing back the sister of Barbato, the protagonist of a life never lived. Barbato was inspired by the idea of fragility and the relationship between death and life. Time freezes when a loss becomes infinite.
TUA SORELLA was created with the intent to describe the love, devotion and education that Mary managed to pass on to Veronica in the first 12 years of her life, despite being a drug addict. Breaking down the barriers of prejudice towards fragile people. Barbato had the desire to make her sister become the protagonist of a life little lived and to make her travel through street art in the world.
The medium used for the TUA SORELLA project is urban art, documenting everything on Instagram. Barbato immediately chose the iconic photo while developing the project. It took her a year. The iconic photo is Mary at 17, in the 1980s in juvenile prison after carrying out a mugging. The pill on the eyes is to anticipate the means used by her to commit suicide at 23. Barbato chose Street Art to make them travel the world, as people and other artists became curious about the story, many helped her to make it travel. Her sister Mary became the protagonist of a life never lived.
Her works arise mainly from experiments focusing on the effect of drugs. Barbato pulled out every memory, started interviewing family and friends who knew her sister, even though no one knew her more than me. She read and reread her secret diaries and went back to the houses where they lived, to the house where she went to live as a married woman and to the one where she took her own life. Barbato identified and documented the effects of drugs and developed the project describing the false illusion of drugs with glitter and the distortion of images to describe the vision of an addict's life and the fluorescent colors of the LSD alteration. Barbato extrapolated phrases from her secret diaries, and a few of Mary's clothes that she recovered when she died (Barbato was 12). Each photo speaks of his life.
Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to take away.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Consciously Barbato has abandoned the perfection and the photographic technique, in order to make a truthful portrait of herself and her sister. She managed the composition of the photos based on their story, abandoning all forms of prejudice. Truth, irregular lines, the use of altered color, imperfect and without precise edges. The subject is the protagonist (her sister) and in the background a great desire for redemption. The main effects of a composition of a southern family full of tragedies, but with an immense heart and with ancient values, always remaining united. A focus on life without rules. A particular expressive force of the feminine beauty of Mary, a rebellious and free woman to the point of sacrificing her life because she was too fierce against herself. The focal point on love that always wins over everything.
Barbato has a long list of artists who grab her attention. Her first and greatest love is theater. She comes from Contemporary Dance on a professional level for more than twenty years. Her muse is the German dancer Pina Bausch (1940-2009).
The work of Barbato, is influenced by music, perfumes, memories, books read, travels and exhibitions seen. She is attracted to the great Italian artist and photographer Mustafa Sabbagh (b. 1961), with whom she had the honor of doing a Masters in 2020 at Spazio Labò in Bologna (Italy). In paintings of Italian Andrea Saltini (ARTICULATE #4), Massimo Lagrotteria (b. 1972), the artist Mirko Frignani (b. 1985), Alex Dorici (b. 1979), the Swizz Ugo Rondinone (b. 1963), Street Art artists and many others. Of these artists Barbato loves their truth, their freedom and that in each of their works, she is moved by so much beauty and culture.
"Love does not end;
death does not separate us."
This article about the Italian artist Veronica Barbato is part of the ARTICULATE Promote program, supporting and reviewing contemporary artists and their work.
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