Siracusa 3D RebornJanuary 26, 2021
The WetlandsJanuary 29, 2021
Davide Bramante, the art 'extremist'
I meet Davide Bramante in Siracusa, his hometown, on a cold January evening. We arrange to meet in Piazza Duomo and decide to head to the Montevergini Gallery to be able to chat somewhere less draughty, and because, a few decades ago, this was a place celebrated in important art magazines, a place that showcased young artists - including him. The first coincidence.
In the shadows of Via Santa Lucia alla Badia, we happen to meet another man, in his seventies or ‘settantino’ as Andrea Camilleri might write; he’s peering between the bars of the gate to the Alagonian Library. Davide introduces me to him. The second coincidence.
The man is Alfredo Romano, Davide’s teacher, the “strange professor bursting with energy”, thanks to whom Davide though still a young student at the Art High School, realised that he wants to be an artist at all costs. From that moment he became an “Ultrà dell’arte” - an art extremist. At fifteen, he already knew all the publications of the prestigious art magazines Tema celeste and Flash Art, and in the large studio in Ortigia, he worked day and night alongside his teacher as he prepared works to send to the Biennale in Venice, and at the same time, hosted famous artists who came to Siracusa, often for the exhibitions organised by Demetrio Paparoni in the Montevergini Gallery.
Davide Bramante, Celestiale Shanghai, 2007
Davide Bramante, Ortigia dal Mare, 2017
Today Davide is an artist who has made a name for himself in the world of art photography, and his works can be found in important private collections, in the large banks and companies like Barilla and Lavazza. He uses one of the most fascinating photographic techniques, more common in cinema, of multiple exposures during shooting, several shots on the same part of the photographic film, while getting out and about, travelling the world taking pictures. Instead of using them in a documentary reportage, he turns them into a new work of art, a different world.
“My way of taking pictures is identical to my way of remembering, thinking, dreaming, hoping”, he says. “Everything happens in temporal and spatial superimpositions”.
The results are visions that are simultaneously of large cities, assembled parts of his journeys and his thoughts, evocative and seductive works of art that have been exhibited over the years in over seventy exhibitions both collective and personal, in national and international museums, foundations and galleries, including MoMA New York Museum, the MACI in Isernia, Palazzo delle Papesse in Siena, the Galleria d’Arte Moderna and Museo Riso in Palermo, the Kunsthaus Tacheles in Berlin and the Korea Foundation in Seul.
Davide Bramante, Palermo (Natura Dolce), 2015
“My way of taking pictures is identical to my way of remembering, thinking, dreaming, hoping”, he says. “Everything happens in temporal and spatial superimpositions”
Davide Bramante, Lisbon, Night and Day, 2007
His career, about which he talks freely, is made up of many happy coincidences and a personal capacity to work within the art ‘system’, recognising when it’s time to fight and when to keep calm. In Turin when he was very young, he spent some time in the art world and became assistant to important artists like Michelangelo Pistoletto, but then he decided he had to go it alone, worried that he might remain yoked to them and lose his way. During his studies at the prestigious Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti in the piedmontese capital, he held his first important exhibition, and others followed thanks to acquaintances he made which revealed his talent to well-known institutions like the Fondazione Morra at Naples.
He was already quite a well-known artist when he decided to leave the places and circles usually associated with contemporary art to see what effect it might have. When he was twenty-nine, he left London to return to Sicily with the idea of making art in his home-city of Siracusa, which was just enjoying a cultural rebirth. He wasn't discouraged when he experienced difficulties first-hand and he continued to cultivate his rich network of relations in Ortigia where he lived until quite recently.
“People who feel like an artist - he confesses - carry a dream inside them, a wish to have a museum, a foundation, a place where one day they can collect the results of a life's work. I gave myself this present for my fiftieth birthday". The present is called San Sebastiano Contemporary/Casa Bramante, an art gallery created in a completely-restored house in the historic centre of Palazzolo Acreide, the little town that Davide has always loved, and that he feels is a magic place, full of energy, ideal for developing projects because "the people of Palazzolo are people who know how to be in this world”.
Third coincidence: when Davide falls in love with the house he will then transform into his Casa, one that has been abandoned for fifty years, the estate agent refuses to accompany him to see it when he enquires about buying it, because it’s full of pigeons. Davide doesn’t give up because his great passion is breeding homing pigeons. Yes, our art extremist races his own pigeons!
The opening plans for the San Sebastiano Contemporary/Casa Bramante were interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, but the ideas are still there and his contacts are active; from Easter to August every year, he plans to fill his gallery space with a full program of exhibitions, then from September to April he will host artists in residence. This will be space which can welcome people and tell stories all year round.
How can he support these projects? “This is my creature - he replies - and like all creatures, I have to look after it, as if it were my child”. I perceive that his strength is his network of relationships and he confirms “you can’t get anywhere in life by yourself”. And this, for a Sicilian, is no coincidence!
Una vita passata a raccontare storie con le parole, la penna, la macchina per scrivere, il computer, l’obiettivo. L’ultima in ordine di tempo, nel libro Il patrimonio degli equivoci. Allarme beni culturali in Sicilia. Non ho resistito all’idea di guidare SiracusaCulture, di cui sono Direttore responsabile.