In February 2014 I visited Frankendael in Amsterdam for a meet-and-greet with an artist. It is Flavio de Marco, a thoughtful Italian based in Berlin who is fascinated with landscapes. He is here for the vernissage of his exhibition. Follow my trip from Amsterdam to imaginary Stella and from arty Berlin to the Milky way, from which place I viewed Rome.
Exhibition Stella in Amsterdam
The beautiful mansion Frankendael is led by deep red lipstick. Behind it is the director Nathanja van Dijk. Did she pick the sweet cupcakes herself? The snacks are just as romantic as the mansion that is wallpapered with the world of Flavio de Marco. For the last time today (February 23 2014). Wallpapered, indeed, with sketches, brain waves, and final results in the shape of large paintings. Having Marco in the corner of my eye as the shining center of attention, I start my travel. Through the mountains and forests of the idyllic island Stella to her beaches at the Egeian Sea.
The island Stella
The 2d travel across the island of Stella is a trip through the imaginative world of Flavio de Marco. Or do you actually travel across your own imagination? The project Stella has a philosophical edge that invites you to research the concept of landscapes. It is an exploration of what a landscape needs to be a landscape. What can we erase so that we still recognize it as one? Is the suggestion of a horizon enough? Is a landscape seen through a lens or a on a laptop screen still a landscape?
Coincidentally, I am following a course in environment for work and we thought about the concept of landscapes in class 1. I discovered that, for me, landscape can be totally deserted by human beings. My ideal landscape is one with a main role for nature (except in the case of my favorite cities). Flavio might have the same opinion, because in his work about Stella, mankind is totally absent. Stella is wild and it is not even clear if between those trees, or under those waves, there is some wild life.
Benefit of having no signs of human life or fauna is that you are the only human being taking part in this landscape. How do you still influence this landscape by looking at it? What happens in your mind when you look at this landscape? Which memory do you create of it, which feelings ascribed to it? Is that the same as the landscape Flavio painted?
Flavio’s studio in Berlin
Crossing Berlin on an orange bike, it cannot be more typical. I am on my way to the neighborhood Wedding, where Flavio has a large studio. There are megasize paintings on the walls, some of which I have seen in the exhibition in Amsterdam. Others still get a place in future exhibitions. What a challenge to get there paintings to other countries and museums. But I don’t mind, because Flavio takes his time to make me a strong cup of espressio worthy of his Italian heritage.
A planete somewhere in the Milkyway
Flavio’s next project is a series of paintings about a planet somewhere in the Milkyway. Perhaps real, perhaps imaginary, just like Stella. There are some studies of the work in Flavio’s studio. My first impression is that they are way darker and deeper than Stella. But Flavio tells me that it can still change completely, because the planet has no concrete exterior in Flavio’s world yet.
The exhibition Stella in Rome
In June, Stella travels to Rome for another exhibition. There it will be on view in Galeria Nationale d’arte Moderna until October 5 2014. And after that, Flavio continues with his next project.