MYTHIK“S GERI PALAMARA
I once wrote "MythikÚs Geri Palamara. A blood-stained prophet surging from the seed of the sea". In the depths of the legendary Mediterranean (Thalatta for the Greeks; Mare Nostrum for the Romans) where lie those ancient myths made of gods and blood, Ulysses sails on together with rhapsodist Homer. This is the key to the magic world of what I would define as an existential pantheist, like Palamara. An artist - we mustn't forget - is not an abstract entity, he is a man who struggles, falls in love, suffers, just like every other human being. His work originates from this, it is a magma of reality and dream, of pain and hope. Palamara is human, right to the very core, he is intuitive like a wound; he is a many-sided figure (painter, poet, musician) who manages to transform existence into a miracle which must be lived. His art can be interpreted as an orphic ritual, in which he celebrates the mystery of the universe. The universality of his visions - a symbolic Reality - represents one of the most significant examples in the present international figurative arts. Palamara is an authentic, original artist, and I consider him to be one of the most important artist, of his generation, in contemporary painting. I have often written about by close friends Fontana, Lam, Neruda, AIberti, Borges, Quasimodo to name but a few, but I also consider Palamara one of those revelations of the blood which need no "theory" to be understood.
What umbilical cord led Palamara to the revelation of his Miticas Islas? His symbiosis with the sea, the link between the Aeolian Islands and his life reveal a sense of his being, lived as a ritual. He is in fact of Aeolian origin (he was born in 1939), and his childhood and youth have remained within those magic bounds. Palamara wrote, "Every sunrise and sunset the sun colours my islands gold. Their names are fairy-like: Lipari, Panarea, Filicudi, Alicudi, Stromboli, Vulcano, Salina, Basiluzzo. From the very depths of my islands, vases and cinerary urns look up at the sun and live once more through time, timelessly, within the infinite dimensions of the elements". Palamara has been living and working for many years in Milan and its internationalism, with short stays in Lipari and New York. Each summer, however, he returns to his islands to talk with them, he revisits the cradle of his dreams, to be - like a seagull - a fragment of energy in that macro-dream which is the universe. After several aesthetic experiences and "pathological" work (the only academy that can teach you to be someone) and after having studied the great masters again and again, Palarama eviscerates himself and defines his personality. In fact in 1970 he begins to create his Mythical Islands; the sea, the sun, the sky, the rocks are the natural elements which fuse inside his metabolism; they can be seen in the iconography of his symbolic landscape, like an ancestral alphabet forming the root of his message, a message sent forth from the Sicilian blood which flows in his arteries; very distant and recent memories of the cosmology of the pre-Socratic Empedocles from Agrigento: water/air/fire/earth. His painting seems like a story of the unconscious in which deep-rooted anxieties, the flow of memory and emotional magnetism enucleate to from one single oneiric whole. It is pervaded with a harmonious fusion of symbols, it raises a fascinating metaphor, a profound poetry soaring through spaces. Shapes and colours, signs and imagination are born in him through the metamorphosis of reality and its symbolic nature, generating transcendent meanings. It must be pointed out that Palamara has made a notable synthesis of structure and colours in his search for expression and has therefore created an originally lucid and aware type of language at its highest dimension.
Undoubtedly it is the expression of a master, the work of a man who sees universality in emotions and feelings, and through him we live this wordless ritual. When we examine the visionary nature of his paintings closely, everything seems to reveal a sensation of mystery, the sea, the sky, the islands, the rocks, the vastness of the spaces and that enigmatic star in the distance; everything branches out into fantastic presences. It is the vision of a magicien or a poet who communicates through witchcraft. Everything is enclosed in "timeless time" with the rhythm of continuously resurrecting elements. The light, of a metaphysical beauty, with its sensitive pigmental vibrations, mysterious azure, turquoise, pink and white, suddenly becomes a poem of the infinite, music and silence, oracle and fairy tale, chant and holiness. It is like facing a new dimension, the point of contact between the visible and invisible.
I have spoken about Palamara's human and aesthetic values as well as his existential ones which can be seen in his famous performances It is another dimension of his personality. Papers, magazines, radio and television have documented his originality, and at this point I would like to recall his participation in the Venice Biennale in 1976 as well as his performance of Scogli Promessi Betrothed Rocks) (Pietralunga and Pietra Menalda) symbolically married in 1981 at the Aeolian Islands during the "Festival del mare" (Sea Festival), (this festivaI was created by Palamara and is held each year on the islands). I also remember his 1984 performance in New York City (at the Plexus Gallery) where he recreated, the Americans rediscovered, the "Myth of the Islands", the "Marriage of the Islands", messengers of a palpitating human truth. The marriage is a symbolic message of love and peace. "Ever since man lost his myths and imagination the artist has tried to regain them". I also remember his September 1984 exhibition in New York at the National Arts Club in the Gregg Galleries. For an artist - indeed for a person like Palamara life seems to be endless, as though he had guessed the secret of immortality.
Milano, gennaio 1985