Viale Corsica, 99, 20133 Milan

Giorgio de Chirico (Ramo Collection)

Ettore Tripodi answers questions from
Irina Zucca Alessandrelli, curator of the Ramo Collection

What is your relationship with drawing and Italian art history of the last century?

I have always drawn a lot, my father is a painter, and so, perhaps out of emulation, from an early age I spent a lot of time drawing, in his studio, at home, at school in the hours when it was allowed and also in the hours when it was not allowed.
Drawing has accompanied somewhat all phases of my life, consequently the motivations that drive me to draw are very varied: certainly there is a playful dimension, then over time I have developed a fascination with other draftsmen, a desire to manifest a feeling, to give shape to an idea, drawing as a tool to design something else.

When I draw I chase an idea, an atmosphere, a smoky, insubstantial image because it is a set of sensations. The moment I start drawing this insubstantiality changes into something that betrays that primal image. It is a matter of dialoguing with the image in my mind, with the limitations of the technique and the material I use. When I am surprised by the drawing I have traced on the paper, it is because it has become something other than the first image I had thought of. It is perhaps this process that drives me to draw.

Regarding my relationship with Italian art of the last century, it is difficult for me to make a general statement; I could cite a list of names of 20th-century Italian artists I love, but I fear the list would become too long.
I can say, however, that among the artists in the collection I have a certain fondness for De Chirico. The first thing that comes to mind of De Chirico's endless production is a cycle of illustrations of the Apocalypse of John, which certainly does not belong to the work that made him famous but which I loved very much.

I think of the incised stroke that clearly describes the figure, like the mark of Botticelli's Dante engravings, but with a grotesque slant that vaguely deforms the features, which seems to mock the model to which it tends; of course it is vaguely perceptible because at a glance it looks like a 1500s engraving even De Chirico's, but it is precisely in this slight deviation that my fascination lies.

Why did you choose this work by De Chirico?

I chose this work because there is an atmosphere in it that reminds me of that of my "Nocturnes," a series of drawings I made between 2018 and 2019, which together make up a film-like sequence. The closeness seemed so strong to me that for a moment I thought that De Chirico's drawing could easily have been inserted as a frame within my sequence. There is this tendency toward ancient drawing and at the same time that amused sign of De Chirico, which is always shot through with a light irony that leaves you suspended between laughter and melancholy. Perhaps there is a similar paradox in my nocturnes as well, seemingly romantic and restless even if veiled in irony.