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The World of Sarah Patroni

Sarah Patroni

Painter Sarah Patroni has dabbled in many different worlds – born of an English mother and an Italian father, she has travelled and lived throughout the globe, including England, Scotland, the US, Mexico, and France. Yet the world that is most real and compelling for her is her own, her imaginary world, which she depicts on canvas. It is made up of bits and baubles of the “real” world – old toys, bits of cloth, kitchen utensils and the like – recycled into her creations, and all tied together with her own whimsical and gently mocking sensibility. It is a world that could only be explained by an inhabitant – here is the artist in her own words:

I live in an imaginary world. This is what people tell me most of the time. Indeed, the meeting with Massimo and Dantemag has been quite surreal (or virtual if you want), but what made it real is that the second we started conversing, I understood that we were on the same planet. Yet I have never had such a strange feeling of powerlessness as I did when Massimo asked me to write an introspection about myself. So here I am now diving into the depths of my soul. I feel like a pirate adrift in the middle of an ocean, looking for his treasure, when suddenly everything goes quiet and odd! I know what I’m looking for: I’m greedy for emotions, dreamlike visions, emotional shocks; my imaginary world is built on realities, experiences, observations and people. All I want to do is to invite the onlooker to enjoy life.

It can reach the level of a therapy or self-mockery sometimes. I was only six years old the first time I took part in a drawing competition and I won – the first prize! I was very happy with my brand new pencil case. The funny thing is that I completely subverted the subject of the contest by drawing a delirious and unusual couple from a well known TV show. And it worked. Wow!

I enjoyed drawing then and I still do it every day. Anything that I see, people that I choose, colours…all this big melting-pot keeps me alive and creative. I love wandering in the streets, staring at people. I search for unusual objects as if I were on a treasure hunt. When I find something, I step into it and sink into the depths of the outline and imagine a new silhouette. A human body, weird animals, rough textures and, sometimes, choreographic figures take over the whole canvas. It’s the beginning of a story. I’m dancing in the middle of a battle or a myth. All elements play out their stories. Every detail that I add can change the sense, or non-sense, of the message.

From time to time the viewer’s attention is directed toward parody, comic strips, a sort of satirised politics, creative frenzy, lunacy.

My art might be called an “art of recycling.” Why?

In this time, where the environment is a priority, I feel concerned as an artist to participate in this movement.

“In nature, nothing is created, nothing is lost, everything changes.” The chemist Antoine Lavoisier said this in the eighteenth century – and I agree with him! There are treasures everywhere and we can transform them. It’s just a matter of inventing new art, creating a buzz, living sharply and in colour. It’s a real solution, very close to a new Theory of Evolution – full of exceptions, anomalies, bounded only by the concept of not finding anything “pretty” or interesting.

I often work with recycled media. My imagination creates the stages of a Life Theatre – characters who carry me into a dreamy universe. I try to give viewers a desire to look at their old objects in a different way, to place them in another context. Your old colander, old-fashioned frames, my grandmother’s buttons. The hoover’s tube is blocked? Throw it away!

This urge to discard, which we all share, gives me the input to take part in a small revolution which, I think, could perhaps be the spark for a big revolution. To ask some old, used packaging or a rusty piece of boat to become my new unusual character links together a simple process of total freedom. I find subjects with the help of paint and colours. I search for the shapes that will give my work a more or less comic appearance.

The creation of a new work unfolds very simply and naturally. I delve into the idea, the possibility, that one day a new reality might emerge, one not so far away from the ecologically utopian worlds that I visualise and create. This way of working is a way for me to familiarise myself with different, unfamiliar materials that we all use in our everyday lives. Unfortunately we don’t always perceive the enormous power they have to pollute our environment. I hope you don’t think of me as a pessimistic person. I have just discovered in myself this awareness, like an ultimatum – one which animals and nature communicate to us all the time. I cannot wear my Superman costume and save the world. But I do feel the need to exploit this energy and give my public a “mouthful” of oxygen.

So what about my upcoming exhibition?

Basically, I’m the event-viewer, the storyteller of what we live: the daily news, an intense love story, a revolutionary age, politics, virtual realities – they all set my imagination on fire and it starts to run faster and faster, until I reach the stage of laughing so hard, yet not being able to explain why. Then I paint. Threaded through all this is the feeling of a big pressure cooker, ready to explode, and the looming need to escape into a new, imaginary common sense, filled with FUN!

The omnipresence of stolen subjects – all those old things – becomes a real painting in the moment when the alchemy between the lines and the colours gives the story a perpetual conflict. Silhouettes further the way of treating forms and prespectives. I start seeing everything reaching a visual harmony that gives me chills, strikes a comic provocation.

My desire to explore the images of Egypt comes from the extraordinary stories I read in my old school books, a trip to this country fifteen years ago, souvenirs … .

Egypt was the ultimate cradle of the revolutions we see today. A lot of energies were created and transformed: seizures of power, desire for freedom gave me the input to dive back into this crazy world and fabricate some new stories.

I imagined new divinities as if I were an onlooker backstage in a madman’s cabaret. Grunge Gods and animals are just changing their shapes, clothes or hairstyle. They live in my time to write history over and over, proclaiming the victory of a new generation.

They walk our streets, tag the walls, drink coke and smoke cigarettes. They breathe the air and grow old, sunbathe at the beach, and listen to Rock’n’Roll. Some of them are made of plastic, packaging, lights sealed on a contrasting 40s-50s background wallpaper. It’s a blend of everything, a big milkshake of this world and how I perceive it. It’s a free jazz note right in the middle of a schizophrenic and stressful reality. I was actually wondering if all these “strangers” I have brought forth would accept me as a friend on Facebook?

[note] Sarah Patroni upcoming exhibition: October “Espace Lucie Aubrac” Ganges France December. Galerie “Le Neuf ” Lodeve France Form more information of Sarah Patroni’s exhibition, see:


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