Author Archive

pigments, roses, legs

Posted on: November 30th, 2021 by editor No Comments

It is three o’clock at night when someone rings my doorbell.
I awake, fearing that something might have happened to my sons, all still quite young; but standing at the threshold is Carlo. Carlo is an intelligent and fascinating man, but more luckless than me, or rather than us, a little group of friends who in some way manage to look after his precarious livelihood.
He always enters, whatever the hour that he appears, as if he was expected. I believe that this his way of overcoming loneliness. I make some coffee, but he prefers a beer, some cheese and a Gauloise that I keep in the studio just for him. He leaves after two hours of conversation and long stretches of silence, just as he came. I am no longer sleepy, I feel dazed: what to do? I believe that this is the title of ten photographs from 1984, the unique work of definite importance that I realized during that year, heavy and sorrowful.
For a long time I have been planning the combination of photography and painting; oil, of course, like any genuine painters! I have continued to avoid this encounter, out of misgiving and a touch of cowardice. Today is the appointed day! Like an unexpected appeared angel, Carlo heralded this to me. I no longer have any alibi to interject between myself and the action to be performed. I have the brushes, the paints, the turpentine, the palette knives, a series of small images that were realized for this very purpose and are glued onto tablets. As I write these brief notes, I am looking at the seven painted pictures: the result is quite depressing. Maybe the people who advised me to postpone this project were not so wrong after all! Or maybe the first attempt could not have turned out differently. I don’t know what to say, I feel frustrated and disappointed. I have the strong feeling, however, that there will be further encounters in the future.

Torino, 26th November 1985

Industrial Cathedrals Padova – Italia

Posted on: October 18th, 2021 by editor No Comments

INDUSTRIAL CATHEDRALS
Gabriele Basilico e Paolo Mussat Sartor
Palazzo del Monte di Pietà, Padova
A cura di Jiewen Xiao, Carlo Sala e Davide Sparti

22th September – 27th October 2019

L’esposizione Cattedrali industriali mette in dialogo l’opera di due maestri della fotografia italiana contemporanea, Gabriele Basilico con la celebre serie Ritratti di fabbriche (1978-80) e Paolo Mussat Sartor con un eccezionale corpus di fotografie inedite del 1975 intitolato Industrial Sanctuaries; le architetture industriali di Milano e Torino nelle immagini dei due autori sono inaspettatamente monumentali, prive della presenza umana e cariche di fascino.

Gabriele Basilico ha ritratto una periferia milanese silenziosa dove gli edifici sono raffigurati – per usare le parole dell’autore – “in modo sorprendentemente scenografico” attraverso una visione frontale che ne impone una presenza ‘plastica’ e nitida degli esterni. Paolo Mussat Sartor ha invece lavorato all’interno di una fonderia della FIAT a Torino (sua città natale) realizzando degli scatti particolarmente suggestivi in un deposito di rottami dove trucioli, pezzi di lamiera e tondini sembrano divenire forme estetiche. Nelle fotografie in mostra di Mussat Sartor il luogo di produzione diviene misterioso e pervaso da “luce e bagliori (…) fumi che ricordavano la mitologica fucina di Vulcano”. Attraverso queste due visioni dissonanti, il progetto espositivo racconta di un’Italia industriale che in quegli anni stava profondamente cambiando e a tratti scomparendo.

La mostra è realizzata in collaborazione con il Museo di Fotografia Contemporanea di Cinisello Balsamo.

 

nature

Posted on: June 30th, 2021 by editor No Comments

In the Symposium, Plato explains the amorous passions of human beings in terms of the splitting apart of their essential idea, which takes place  in their celestial world: the divided (sectus=sex) soul of each individual thereby assumes a sexual nature and attains incarnation. And thus the principle for us upon earth is the desperate search for our own lost half. Paolo Mussat Sartor, not being able to cleave a living person in two, does just that, for example, with a peat, and by means of a piece of fruit he photographs (or realizes?) the operation which the philosopher had imagined in a daemon.
I do not know whether the persimmons, the apples, the mushrooms of Mussat Sartor are the hideous of the gentle sex, but in any case the he presents to us with monstrous technique the nostalgia for their vegetable unity. It is certain that whoever does not place his eye in front of the magnitying lens, instead of discovering in a melon the aspects of its “Soul itself”, will find only useless seeds.
And here guidance is offered by the Chāndogya Upaniṣad (III, 14, 3): “this Soul of mine within the heart is smaller than a grain of rice, a barley corn, a mustard seed, a grain of millet, the kernel of a grain of millet; this Soul of mine within the heart is greater than the earth, greater than the atmosphere, greater than the sky, greater than this worlds.” So, if he could, Mussat Sartor would make pumpin seeds as big as sun. Isn’t it a creative lens as well?

1973, Gianpiero Bona

paolo mussat sartor “visions”

Posted on: May 30th, 2021 by editor No Comments

VISIONS
Photo & Contemporary
Turino 

On display 25 small-format photographic prints with silver salts with pictorial interventions.

15th September  30th November 2021

After having elaborated for years particular painting techniques in oil and pigments and toning techniques on b/w photographic papers, Paolo Mussat Sartor creates unique examples of prints of great charm and poetry. The theme of travel, visionary, inner nomadism emerge in dreamlike and delicate images, almost suffused mirages, which show us views of landscapes and glimpses of mysterious and surprising cities.
Revelations of a traveller at the wheel of his car, immersed in a solipsistic, almost feverish dimension; a non-stop journey through the hallucinatory obsession of photography as a metaphor for an existential path to pursue a hidden beauty, glimpsed for a moment and then suddenly disappeared.

Dark and dreamy images of Prague, with austere and elegant suspended palaces and flying bell towers in the manner of Chagall, or of Lisbon, melancholy and elusive towards the ocean with its famous stairs and descending streets, before its final consecration in the films of Alain Tanner and Wim Wenders. Or Paris and the Italian cities, Venice with golden reflections, the intimate and clandestine Turin, but also  Rome of the 70s, timidly discovered by the artist in a car, almost encapsulated in its cockpit, which becomes part of the composition.

 

art and artists

Posted on: May 30th, 2021 by editor No Comments

Paolo Mussat Sartor enters the work of artists, penetrating into the temporal and spatial interstices of the work produced, documenting it in its passages. The result is always an image that is also attentive to convey the ethic of how to make art, a new way of putting artists in front of the creation.

1978, Achille Bonito Oliva

Paolo Mussat Sartor trained as a photographer in a very unusual situation: a ‘place’ that tended to characterise the very quality of his vision. This place was Gian Enzo Sperone’s art gallery in Turin, which he went to just about every day from 1968 to 1975. In Turin and in Italy in those days, Galleria Sperone was an authentic powerhouse of ideas where an extraordinary group of artists used to meet and discuss their work. Among the artists with whom he worked, Giovanni Anselmo, Alighiero Boetti, Mario and Marisa Merz, Emilio Prini, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Giorgio Griffa, Giuseppe Penone, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Salvo and Gilberto Zorio. No assessment of Paolo Mussat Sartor’s work can ignore the intellectual and human relations he entertained, and still entertains, with some of them.
At the age of just twenty, the young photographer was involved in recording the unique creative season of Arte Povera, and to photograph performances, precarious installations and works made with ephemeral materials.
Paolo Mussat Sartor, as well as those artists who revolved around Galleria Sperone, photographs other legendary figures in the world of Italian art in the second half of the twentieth century. These include Gino De Dominicis, Mario Schifano, Luciano Fabro, Jannis Kounellis, Enzo Cucchi, Luigi Ontani, Emilio Vedova, and others. During the 1970s he also met and photographed a substantial number of international artists including Joseph Beuys, Daniel Buren, Arman, Joseph Kosuth, Richard Long, Christo, Tony Cragg, Lawrence Weiner, and Douglas Huebler.

Andrea Bellini

portrait and selfportrait

Posted on: May 30th, 2021 by editor No Comments

The unique dimension in the investigation of Paolo Mussat Sartor is their immersion in photography itself, in its language, in its device, along with that instant when, as if in an interrupted birth, there is a sudden leap beyond this snug, secluded paradise of perfection. In front of each one of these images is the expectation, the surprise of wonder about to occur, of a tightrope walker who has promised to his audience never to repeat the same feat of daring. A tightrope act is accomplished, for example, in grappling with one of the traditional and longstanding tasks of photography, namely the depiction of faces. With the portrait, the photographer inevitably discovers centuries of canvasses arrayed in front of his eyes and plunge into the vast historical flow of painting. Mussat Sartor does this with great naturalness. To take up a challenge as in the case of Ritratto di Baj (Portrait of Baj, 1971) posseses the significance of an image in which a subtly pictorial material contrasts with the almost neoclassical pose of the figure. In the portrait of Giulio Paolini, A Giulio (To Giulio1988), there is a subtle dialogue of gazes within the image, which summons up the great conceptual works of painting, from Giovanni Arnolfini and his bride by Van Eyck to Las Meninas by Vélazquez. The figure is portrayed from two points of view, from the right and from the left and the eyes meet in an imaginary mirror. The triangulation of the gazes always engenders a third and virtual image that extends the effect of these resonances. It is as if the viewer were being offered, as it were a secret gift, an unexpected booty.

Herein lies the vital process of further perceptions, of clandestine and unanticipated movements, which is triggered in the presence of the images of Mussat Sartor. This is the case with Ritratto di Pellion di Persano (Portrait of Pellion di Persano, 1973) a snapshot from four different point of s of view, an experiment seeking to pass beyond the two dimensionality of photography.  Like in other “snapshots multiplied by more points of view”: Autoritratto (Selfportrait, 1975), I Gabetti ( I Gabetti, 1976), I Vitale (I Vitale,1976), Giuseppe Salvadori (Giuseppe Salvadori, 1990). At this point the investigation can also turn to play with the aspect of depth, as in the portrait-sculpture Per Elisabetta (For Elisabetta, 1992), a face which emerges from the three-dimensional surface of paper treated with frottage. The distances, the material, the disorienting effect of the solarisation no longer have anything in common with the perspectival box or its deformations. There arises here an investigative dimension which by restoring to the image its physical consistency, revives it vehemently in all its uniqueness and non-reproducibility.
This is the only possible way to allow photography to rediscover its inherent aura.

Torino 1993, Adalgisa Lugli

voyages, cities

Posted on: May 30th, 2021 by editor No Comments

It is three o’clock at night when someone rings my doorbell.
I awake, fearing that something might have happened to my sons, all still quite young; but standing at the threshold is Carlo. Carlo is an intelligent and fascinating man, but more luckless than me, or rather than us, a little group of friends who in some way manage to look after his precarious livelihood.
He always enters, whatever the hour that he appears, as if he was expected. I believe that this his way of overcoming loneliness. I make some coffee, but he prefers a beer, some cheese and a Gauloise that I keep in the studio just for him. He leaves after two hours of conversation and long stretches of silence, just as he came. I am no longer sleepy, I feel dazed: what to do? I believe that this is the title of ten photographs from 1984, the unique work of definite importance that I realized during that year, heavy and sorrowful.
For a long time I have been planning the combination of photography and painting; oil, of course, like any genuine painters! I have continued to avoid this encounter, out of misgiving and a touch of cowardice. Today is the appointed day! Like an unexpected appeared angel, Carlo heralded this to me. I no longer have any alibi to interject between myself and the action to be performed. I have the brushes, the paints, the turpentine, the palette knives, a series of small images that were realized for this very purpose and are glued onto tablets. As I write these brief notes, I am looking at the seven painted pictures: the result is quite depressing. Maybe the people who advised me to postpone this project were not so wrong after all! Or maybe the first attempt could not have turned out differently. I don’t know what to say, I feel frustrated and disappointed. I have the strong feeling, however, that there will be further encounters in the future.

Philippe Hardy, 2000