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Collage and Painting

Here the story continues with the series collage and painting. Once I came back to Milan I stayed for nearly two years at my parents house. After traveling for so many years, it was very difficult for me to stay back there so I was desperately looking for my own place.

Coming from a dysfunctional family, as many are, where apparently everything goes well, but in reality is not, all my teens years I had serious difficulty in staying there, I just wanted to get out, but my wisdom told me that it was better for me to finish high school before I leave. So I waited and waited, in the meanwhile I would lock myself in my shell if I was at home, or adopted the families of friends so I never stayed at home. 

In that waiting period my salvation was dance.  For me, expressing myself in it, is where I found my freedom. I danced in theaters and various shows, in a dance company.  

Once finished High School,  the way was open to freedom.

As an excuse to leave home I chose to study anthropology and ethnology at the University of Siena in Tuscany, the only university that had these disciplines with good professors. I was passionate about this matter, because I was fascinated by human diversity in all its aspects. 

The only dilemma was that my teacher had offered me to teach dance at the Milan municipality in her place, because she was pregnant, and I knew that if I left Milan I would abandon also the dance, at least on a professional level, but the urge to leave was stronger.

All this to say that my desire to travel and to know the world was also a bit of an escape from the family.  And so there is also this aspect that has been with me in all my travels and moves.  Therefore when I returned to Milan at the age of 28 and found myself back at my parents house  it was like having to face again everything I had run away from ten years earlier.

While in Milan I had met a wonderful woman  who was a kind of soul therapist and who channeled for me once a month my higher self, Berenice. Since then I have taken the name of Ilaria Berenice, that is the human part together with the master within me.

So while I was shivering to find my house and leave immediately, Berenice, channeled by this lady,  kept telling me to wait , that instead of running away I had to stay, that I had to find my harmony in that context. I didn’t lack money because in the meantime I had received a small inheritance from my paternal grandmother. 

So I waited and waited, trying to find my way again, distracting myself as much as I could and every now and then I painted to feel better. And in the meantime I also allowed myself a small escape by going to India for two months.

After nearly two years, the moment Berenice gave me the go-ahead, once the escape aspect  has been integrated, within few weeks I had found my own home and was out of there.  As soon as they gave me the keys I took a sleeping bag and I was already there to sleep. Later Berenice told me that in that period I had been the artificer not only of my change but also of their own. After I left, my parents bought a much larger house in Milan with a huge terrace and my brother went to live on its own.

My new home was beautiful,  I came in at the beginning of 2000.  It was a small penthouse in Milan, with a terrace where I had recreated my personal jungle, like a piece of Brazil.   Here I started again to recycle materials and to create collages by integrating them with painting. I didn’t buy canvases, but I took fabrics I liked and hoop them. So that the whole picture was made by me and not just what was on it. Finally alone, my creativity was much more intense. I integrated what I had available on the paintings, especially fabrics, small objects, beads and remains of necklaces. etc. The subjects were mostly cosmic and abstract, following the flow. 

In the meantime, I did many group exhibitions wherever I could in Milan,I have always avoided those who speculate on artists pretending to support them, I mostly did exhibitions on premises.

I did my first personal exhibition in 2001 at Le Trottoir, a a two floors premise frequented by artists,  which at that time was in the heart of Brera in Milan. Since there was not so much light, I made an installation by cutting out reflective paper and composing it on the walls as if the whole two floors bar were a large painting. In addition to the Collages and Paintings, I had also hung large posters with in each a poem written by me as if the poem were itself a pitcure.

At the inauguration the place was full of people, they kept going to present me artists, or they presented themselves, there was also a ceramist who had been the muse of Enrico Baj. 

There was a well-known writer who always went to write his books to Le Trottoir,  Andrea Pinketts,  who a few days later called me to to thank me, as since my paintings were there he was more inspired. Obviously I was delighted, and also sold some paintings.

So the story continues through painting, you can read the previous articles here and here you can see examples of the Collage and Painting series.