The Power of Art and Beauty
Eugenio thinks people should be kind, intelligent and generous, places beautiful and protected, not spoilt, and social relationships supportive and harmonious. This is not the result of obtuse Rousseauan romanticism, but rather of a sort of artistic faith in the possibility of constructing a utopia with lucid emotion, as he constructs it on the canvas. Aristocratic and elegant, Eugenio is not easily offended.
From various writings by Eugenio Carmi:
What makes us human is instead the desire to create beauty and convey spirituality. The arts, generated by the human mind, have this invaluable yet mysterious task.
Abstraction is in us, in our daily lives. The scent of a rose is beautiful, but we cannot describe it because it is an abstract perception. I tell my students: ‘Imagine you have never seen a rose and have to explain what it is.’ This is impossible: you cannot describe the scent of flower.
Inventing does not mean taking a brush or pencil and doing something on canvas or paper. Inventing involves living. Thus art is life.
I believe it is important to work within a civilization, allowing one’s emotional and cultural world to explode, so to speak.
Confronted by the unexpected question ‘What is creativity?’, I replied: ‘Painting the bison instead of killing it.’ In effect, the prehistoric person who seventeen thousand years ago painted the bison of Lascaux was a contemporary artist and his creativity, his emotions and his innate need for beauty were identical to those of a person living today.
Art is the activity, still unknown, produced by the perfect computer located in our brain and that, unbeknown to us, transforms the unconscious into reality. Perhaps it is the desire for the myth of beauty, perhaps it is the desire for a dialogue with God, or perhaps it is the desire to discover the mystery of the universe.
My most recent works attest, above all, to what fascinates me in the Greeks; I have sought — and I continue to seek — to make visible the beauty hidden in the laws of nature that they investigated two thousand five hundred years ago.
Art in all its aspects attests most convincingly to the fact that the result of the work is constantly provided at the highest level attainable by its creator, without being conditioned by the level of the consumers. This is the sine qua non for the level of perception of those looking and listening to increase progressively until it is attuned to the work of art in front of them.
As an image-maker, I am in search of happiness because ‘freedom also springs from these acts of imagination that runs wild, rejoicing in its own happiness’. But it is also a quest for behavioural systems that are stimulated by unconventional fields of vision and transform a passive world-view into a new Weltanschauung governed by the imagination.
I remember a visit I made to a primary school in Taranto. I went into a classroom and, after a brief introduction, the teacher pointed to a child with her head down, saying: ‘There’s nothing I can do with her; she can’t even hold a pencil.’ I approached her. She was very shy, with two big dark eyes; she did not dare to speak — she was completely repressed by family and school. I talked with her for five minutes, trying to evoke images of everyday life. It was wonderful, both for her and for me. She looked at me and I asked her to do a drawing for me. She did this and it was also a beautiful drawing. For the first time, through a natural relationship with another person, she had freed her creativity.
Activating the mechanism of creativity does not necessarily mean making works of art, as many people still believe. It means, first and foremost, looking, judging and choosing according to the criterion that allows us to see our age for what it is and not for what we are made to believe it is, living in the present with its codes of conduct, accepting the past without regrets and facing the future with the power of the imagination.