Written by Artemide De Blanc
Photos by Luca De Nardo
When you ask Riccardo Stellini the pragmatic question, ‘what is beauty to you’, the answer comes quickly. “That is something to which you cannot add anything. Nature shows us this: take a flower. It contains within itself the greatest complexity and the purest essentiality. Beauty is essential. And it is necessary’.
Whereupon you realise that one of the deadliest clichés is the false myth of ‘beauty is enough’. Riccardo immediately crushes it with a jumble of works, artistic meditations on, poems about, conceptual-photographic re-elaborations of nature. A personal quest that runs parallel with beaming smiles, working with brands of international renown, film cameras and film routes. In short, behind the shining curtain of appearances there is an artistic heart that beats!
“After my first photos, when I was 18-20 years old, I .left everything and went around the world travelling by ship, because I hate planes. And that richness sprouted inside me. Back in Milan, on the sidelines of my work, I had the desire, indeed the need, to explore art’.
You photograph, paint, write poetry….tell us more about it!
Aesthetics is something I have always cultivated. And I explore it with many tools: for example, with words, with what I call my ‘poems’ and which I published in the booklet ‘Thoughts’ I go directly where I cannot go with painting. Everything leads me to an aesthetic expression. During the lockdown for example, I did a series of photos, self-shots and still lifes or images of objects, and entitled it ‘Submission to Quarantine’.
Because it expressed different states of mind: I was alone at home in Florence, first I substantiated emptiness and loneliness with still lifes, then I reached the phase of awareness, and finally that of panic. When I get angry I feel the need to tear off my shirt and shoes, I feel like getting out of my body. And I expressed this in photographs. I wanted to represent the concept of a surrogate rebirth, not a real one.
Did you say that the concept of beauty is fully expressed in nature?
Yes, nature brings us back to the essential. Here too, I wanted to give my interpretation in my first artistic series, entitled ‘New Contemporary Nature’. That is, nature reinterpreted with a human code. I have been called presumptuous (laughs, ed) but everyone proposes their own vision of things. After all, nature leads us into inner silence, playing with the power of visual impression. I am fascinated by the metaphysics of De Chirico, the timeless fantasy of Rothko, the aesthetic intimism of Richard Long.
And the poems?
Well those embody my essence. The words take you exactly where you want to go.
What about erotic aesthetics?
I say that eroticism by its very nature needs aesthetics, unlike sex, which does not contemplate it. Eros only lives if there is Aesthetics next to it.