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Dicò, the fire artist

Hero’s Journey

Written by Monica Camozzi

Listening to the life of Enrico, a.k.a. Dicò, the Fire artist brings us back to a Gabriele Muccino film, The Pursuit of Happiness starring Will Smith. In particular, the scene in which the protagonist gives the last 5 dollars to an executive of the company where he hopes to be hired, in order to park. A perfect parallelism with the day when Enrico gives the last 5 euros for the taxi that will take him to the gallery of Tony Porcella, De Chirico’s friend, with his Marilyn -now famous but at the time absolutely experimental- wrapped in a solid cloud of burnt plastic that would later become the artist’s hallmark. 

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In all films, in fairy tales, in myths, the Hero makes an initiatory journey that snatches him out of his comfort zone and throws him onto the threshold of an epochal passage: he defeats the monster, risking death and releasing him as an example to the world.

 Whenever I watch Muccino’s film, The Pursuit of Happiness, I cry every time. And the making of my docu-film is right on that director’s table

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In order to put his name on that Marilyn, Henry wounded himself with a screwdriver and the blood signature seems to sanction the crossing of the threshold that will take the hero to Hollywood, that will move Morgan Freeman or induce Sylvester Stallone to take a flight to Rome.

Lamberto Petrecca, his curator, says that the seriality of pop in Dicò becomes uniqueness.

Banksy’s Little Girl, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse coexist with the Girl with the Pearl Earring and Munch’s Scream. Indeed, they revive, they remodel with a soul of light.

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How did all this happen?
All this arose from a very strong pain that bent me at a certain point in my life. I have always been inclined towards painting, as a child I won an art competition at school and my mother sent me to Mimmo Rotella’s workshop, but then I had turned to graphics. Then, a great pain overwhelmed me, the only thing that made me feel good was taking handfuls of paint and tearing up posters of well-known films, a heritage from my experience with Rotella.

One day I was with my son, I was wrapping a sign with fireproof plexi, I was playing with the lighter and the plastic started to burn.

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You mean the unexpected combustion was the incipit?
As I watched the plastic burn, I felt a sense of release from the pain. So I went and bought a blowtorch tank and created a picturesque sculpture measuring one metre by one metre. The Marilyn, indeed. In those days they were organising an exhibition at the Palazzo del Tempo and I had just met a famous Roman gallerist. I thought of taking it to her.

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The famous taxi ride with the last 5 euros?
Exactly. They locked themselves in the camera caritatis and came out saying ok, let’s take it to Miami (where a group show was being set up with works by Warhol, Rotella ed). Lamberto Petrecca, who is my curator today, was also there.

How do you explain this collective passion for your work?
It manifested itself immediately, already there in Miami! I arrived the morning of the exhibition and found a line of a hundred people. There I was, with TV stations wanting to interview me. From that moment on, my life took a radical turn.

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I entered the most beautiful houses in the world. Important actors like Keanu Reeves, Dustin Hoffmann, people like Arnold Schwarzenegger, have started to buy my works.

It seems that your meeting with Morgan Freeman has something epic…
Yes, I had taken the image I worked on from one of his films. He arrives at the exhibition and stops. At first he jokes, then he tells me that he likes it very much, that it moved him. I tell him my story and he approaches me and whispers a beautiful sentence in my ear. Only forgiveness kills anger. We all started crying.

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What do you dream about?
I have the firm intention of getting to Moma. I know that sooner or later I will succeed.  And then I would like to talk to young people, to help them not to fall into depression or get kidnapped by darkness. It can happen to anyone to fall down, but you get back up.

I want to teach children that it is the dream that gets you off the streets or drugs or trouble

Does art require personality?
Yes, you must have a lot of it.

You have to be able to say so many no’s, they seem to take something away from you but in the end they are the ones who take you up

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