Paola Valenzano

I was born under the Roman sun in August 1971 and this is probably why the first word I uttered was “yellow”.
Always driven by a great curiosity, my forte is asking questions.

I studied different techniques and disciplines with a penchant for artistic, anthropological and psychological studies.

After graduating in Anthropology at Sapienza University in Rome and studying Restoration, I worked for a few years on the conservation and restoration of art works, where I learned to value the time of care and of transformation and the patience required. Knowledge of Native Art has been the most powerful drive towards my own artistic activity, undertaken in my thirties after studying –  among other things – wood sculpture, photography, engraving, plastic arts and moulding. Since then, I have taken part in several collective and personal exhibitions, mainly hosted at independent cultural spaces.
Mine is an itinerant and ever changing journey, driven by intuition, when I manage not to interfere with the process. Over time the research has turned, on the one hand, towards intimate and symbolic themes, combining psychological investigation and family memories, as well as making use of techniques traditionally belonging to the female universe such as sewing, embroidery and weaving; on the other hand, towards broader, more general and somehow universal themes. I am committed to root out personal and collective conditioning, often internalized and thoroughly hidden within the folds of the mind, customs and traditions. I find myself ever more interested in Participatory Art and Relational art and its developments.

I follow my natural inclination to bring things out of the two-dimensionality of mental vision into a three-dimensionality by creating “objects of symbolic function,” as the surrealists would say. I relish peace when my hands are hard at work and I feel fulfilled when something that I have visualized in my mind finally materializes, so that it can be shared with others. The gaze, interaction or collaboration of others “complete” the work itself and keep it alive.
A recurring theme is that of the holder, the shelter, the border. The theme of the  house and the dialectic between inner and outer worlds. The material and immaterial boundary between the self and the other, and between the private and the public self. At the same time, for several years I enjoyed building a peculiar and ironic personal cosmogony, made of cloth aliens, bird women, totems, spaceships and time machines.

Recently, I graduated in Art for Therapy at Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, developing an itinerant workshop in the company of Chance: The Aesthetic Walk, inspired, on the one hand, by the great social teachings of situationist and phenomenological practices and, on the other, by the great potential of breaking habits and routines that resides in the Practice of Presence. Chance, error and play are fundamental ingredients. At the very heart of it, the relationship with the unusual self and with the otherness, whether an environment, an object or a person.
I am fascinated by coincidences, by chance and error and by the possibility of being integrated into art and life. I have the feeling that they can hide the presence of the Creator and could reveal some of the most interesting aspects of existence itself.
If the most authentic freedom is in the Presence-in-the-Present, paraphrasing the quote from a famous film I could say that: ”There is no moment like this moment, so This must be The Moment”.

Author’s note: the film I am referring to is This must be the place