Country – Italy
City – Ravenna
Today the Mosaic Review has a conversation with the extraordinary Italian mosaic artist Rosanna Fattorini. The first thing you notice when you meet her is a wise look, an extraordinary calm and self-confidence.
When talking with people who knows Rosanna, you understand that you were not mistaken. Many mosaic artists, and just people who know Rosanna, agree with this assessment. Rosanna, being an artist herself and a bright creative person, is always ready to help with advice or friendly participation.
Nevertheless, a person of integrity with her unshakeable convictions and experience as an organizer is hiding behind a soft appearance. Rosanna is open, honest, sometimes uncompromising honest, although this uncompromising and even provocative attitude may not really be to the liking of the people around her. On the other hand, the reaction to provocation always reveals the true attitude and intentions of the individual.
Rosanna remains the direct and open person in our story.
Rosanna Fattorini was born in Vado Ligure (a little city near Savona, Liguria, Noth-Western Italy). While still a child, she and her father Anselmo moved to Ravenna, the city where she currently lives. For decades her family has been deeply involved in Art. Anselmo , Rosannas father, was a versatile artist, as well as a respected wrought iron artist. Both Anselmo’s greatgrandfather and greatuncle were among those who contributed to the restoration of Palazzo Ducale di Mantova (Mantova’s Doge’s Palace).
It is not surprising Rosanna decided to attend the Istituto Statale d’Arte per il Mosaico “G. Severini” di Ravenna (Ravenna’s School of Art “G. Severini”), where, in 1968, she took the Art Teacher Certificate. Subsequently, she earned a two-year-specialization certificate, together with a diploma in Applied Art.
In 1969, she decided to move to Ipswich, England, in order to attend photograph and painting Courses at the Ipswich Art Institute. Through the various stages of her artistic path, Rosanna has worked with several Ravennese mosaic artists. Some of them were old school mates and/or friends, like Marco Bravura. Marco and Rosanna collaborated for long periods, during which she performed works by Ugo Nespolo, Tonino Guerra and Mimmo Paladino.
She has taken part in several exhibitions in Italy and abroad. Many of her works are in both permanent and private collection.
In 2011, Rosanna Fattorini founded the well-known international exhibition of contemporary mosaic “MUSIWA”. This event was held at one of the historical and important buildings in Florence – Palazzo Medici Ricardi and was attended by the most famous artist in the mosaic world. This magnificent experience and cycle of exhibition concluded in 2018.
Currently Rosanna Fattorini offers mosaic courses in Italy and abroad with a group she founded “INTHREE Mosaico”. InThree is not only a trio of renown international artists, Rosanna Frattorini, Marco Santi and Beatrice Serr, but also a deep and respectful friendship
Like Prof. Luigi Impieri says:
— The Wood element is the first of 5 elements in Feng Shui. This is a growing energy in an upward movement. Rosanna Fattorini pushes herself away and seeks out basic elements for her mosaic works. Rosanna has her long walks along the sea.
Here, at the edge of the earth and water, she collects wood fragments that have been sunburned, soaked in water and worn by the wind. They have become richer due to the work of these four “elements”.
During these initiating walks, she collects “debris” and carries it to her workshop to create mosaics. It is no coincidence that Rosanna Fattorini chooses wood as an element of the beginning of spring revival, with which something new comes.
Movement is a style that is already an integral part of Rosanna Fattorini’s mosaics. Movement to the destination through departure, the path itself and arrival. We know that this movement is a metaphor for time, reflected in the things around us, in ourselves and, therefore, in art.
For Rosanna Fattorini, art is a journey that advances and develops in small steps.
A piece of wood found is the past, that which we leave behind; the pieces of the mosaic that cover the base – this is the present, the mosaic resulting from the alchemical manipulation of various materials – this is the future and eternity.
We know that without the past the present would not exist, therefore, time and space should meet there, in this middle ground, which is the creative experience.
Her creative genius is to give a new life and story through mosaic to a once-living tree. The story is restored from nonexistence, decorated, crowned, ennobled.
This is a way to prevent the past from dying, which, according to the artist, she updates to bring it closer to herself, her world, her time, and to do this, she will have to fall in love with this wood fragment. She should understand what he lacks and add this, using her special skills of the mosaic artist.
Thus, a piece of wood that has been found, bearing the seal of the harsh effects of air, earth, water and fire, can be decorated with bright mosaic tesseras, that play in the light is illuminate it, as if they were real fire. This is how Rosanna’s works are born, bearing color schemes, dancing in innumerable colors.
Rosanna Fattorini seems to be telling us, to paraphrase De Andre, that there are “modest remnants” of matter in the landfill of time and space, which are also remnants of memory that only the sensitivity of a creative genius can ennoble, transforming them into works of art. Real art.
It seems that the artist wants to restore the life and dignity of this piece of wood, found worthless and discarded as unnecessary, but recovered through the artist’s magic and, preserved and returned to eternity.
The magazine Mosaic Review is very grateful to Rosanna that she agreed to tell our readers about herself. We asked Rosanne to tell about ourselves in a way convenient for her in order to talk about herself to our readers in a way convenient for her.
-“- I had a very serene and peaceful life with two wonderful parents. My father, born in Mantua, has always loved and helped me throughout his life. He was often away on business being a great chemical engineer who was in charge of setting up chemical plants around the world.” : Rosanna said.
“My father’s favorite hobby was wrought iron and as soon as he had some free time after work, he enjoyed making artistic objects in iron and strictly without the help of a mallet but only with the hammer and a forge in the old way.
In addition, my father played the drums and had in the city where I was born, a small band with whom he enjoyed playing on the shores of the Ligurian sea during the summer Saturdays.”
“Mom was a beautiful person, like dad, and has always been a housewife except for some periods when she worked for a baby clothes shop as my mother was a skilled seamstress and embroiderer. At home she always took care of everything while dad was at work.
Unfortunately, my idyllic life suddenly changed the day my father wanted to move to Ravenna for work. I had to leave my hometown, Vado Ligure, at the age of 10 with infinite displeasure because I left my dearest childhood friends and some relatives. Liguria, with its beautiful sea and coasts and the mountains behind it is a wonderful place and I think anyone would have been sorry to leave it for a totally flat region with few visual stimuli and fields, only too many fields.”
“In Ravenna there is the sea of course but quite far from the city and it is not comparable to the sea of my Liguria. As a happy note to this move, it was the lucky case that my parents enrolled me at the “Gino Severini” Art Institute in Ravenna. I have always loved drawing, but I have always been a very shy and reserved girl. For these reasons my parents chosen for me the school which has been the such an important part of my life over the years.
The Art Institute had a fundamental role for me after my move, as well as the subjects that were taught there, the mosaic was in the front row. At school the important lessons for our training were above all: mosaic, drawing from life, pictorial decoration, sculpture, architecture, technology of materials and all the other subjects to follow.”
” The school served me especially well from a psychological point of view, I was lucky enough to have wonderful teachers helped to make me a stronger and safer person. But above all, the mosaics was my cure for a youthful malaise that always made me very sad and shady with everyone… except for my five classmates. Yes, because such a small class made coexistence very easy.
You must know that the science and chemistry lessons were taught by prof. Isotta Fiorentini (the one who founded AIMC ) She kept them on the carriage with horse, the last carriage seen in Ravenna, which was parked in front of the Basilica of San Vitale.
So mosaic was initially a cure for me. As my eight years at the school passed (Yes, 8 years!), my mosaic evolved. It changed over time for drawings (cardboard for mosaic) and technique. My interest in the mosaic increased giving me much satisfactions that I did not initially feel. When you run your own cartoon and then interpret it with modern technique (while not forgetting some rules learned with Byzantine copies) the satisfaction of seeing it grow day- after- day is really deserved.”
“The most difficult part in creating a personal mosaic is always and obviously the initial part, when you have to decide how to start. There are so many choices to make: materials and colors above all, the type of cut you want to give to an area, how to perform the trends and what distance to keep between the tiles and which movements of tiles you want to give to the background etc, etc, etc. “
“Over the years, I am still convinced that mosaic can and should be considered as contemporary art. But, to define it as such, there must be full representation of a design and a personal statement. Otherwise the mosaic remains and will forever remain a craft work. Of course craft can be a beautiful rendering of a painting, etc. But if a personal concept and statement is missing, it simply a good copy or a good execution. It cannot be defined as artistic work.”
“To transform mosaic and raise it to a work of art in my case, I took advantage of a discovery I made many years ago during the walks that I used to make on the beach or in the hills. I discovered the beauty of the many forms of recycled wood. Wood is a material, together with glass, that I loved. This gave me the inspiration I was looking for. It also offered me the opportunity to find solutions (the most difficult thing to find in mosaic) for my future artistic works.”
“There are many recovered woods that can be found during a walk but there is always one in particular that strikes me, a piece of wood that tells you: take me and you and I will do beautiful things together. A piece of wood, that has some peculiarities that all the others do not have, a piece that is different in shape and color from all the others, a wood that immediately lets your imagination fly and grabs you and won’t let go.”.
“So that how my works begin. Then follows some drying and cleaning of the wood from all impurities. Next stage is the choice of color that still follows an idea. I should also say that many of my works are dedications, as I am thinking of someone or something particularly dear to me. And, for many of my works I write a short poem for inspiration.”
“When I admire some mosaics by other artists I always keep in mind the fact that this mosaic must excite me. Perception of author’s emotion in mosaic is not a rule but something that my own sensitivity as a person and an artist pushes me to ask why I appreciate one work more than another. In my opinion, for a mosaic to be considered a beautiful work, I must first feel a sensitivity in the color, and in the typology of the cutting of the tesserae. The such sensitivity – how to dip tesseras, tilt them, or how to alternate them one way or another, can arise only after years of working with mosaics.”
“Some of the mosaic artists who have excited me the most were my teachers. I fell in love with their works for their sensitivity and I find in the first places: Sergio Cicognani, Santi Marco, and Ines Morigi Berti (a great interpreter of mosaics but not an artist). They are from the school of Ravenna. And I must add Luciano Petris, Nane Zavagno and Giulio Candussio from the school of Spilimbergo.”
“I have also had the great honor of knowing Prof Isotta Fiorentini, first as a teacher and then as a great friend. I had the pleasure of continuing my work with (AIMC), the mosaic association she founded. This association was born with the aim of uniting the great mosaic professionals and sharing their experiences and ideas. Importantly, this was intended to be ‘not for profit’.”
“I was part of AIMC initially as support to Isotta Fiorentini, and then also as Vice President. But unfortunately, over the years this association has undergone a great transformation and today nothing remains of it’s guiding spirit.”
“Once I discovered the changes at AIMC, as an alternative I decided to create an ongoing exhibition of mosaic artists. My goal was to gather the best of the mosaic world by pursuing Isotta’s ideas, recreating and continuing the vision she fought for and wanted so much.”
“This is how Musiwa was born. I found collaboration with two accomplished people in Florence who were respectively responsible to find locations of great prestige, and in the preparation of the exhibitions themselves. The Musiwa exhibition project has worked very well for the last seven years.”
“Many professional artists have been selected and participated in exhibitions in one of the most prestigious buildings in Florence; the Palazzo Medici Riccardi.”
“But after seven years I decided to finish my collaboration because someone tried to do business here first of all but this was not the purpose for which I founded Musiwa. So Musiwa has now ended for me and I have become involved with an exciting new teaching venture.”
“During the Musiwa artist selection process, I had the great pleasure of meeting many wonderful people and among them, Beatrice Serre. Beatrice is a delightful person, a great artist, and she is extremely sensitive and highly intelligent. I asked Beatrice and my great friend, artist Marco Santi if they would like to teach mosaic courses together, and thus share our professional lives and experiences.”
“So the group of INTHREE mosaic was born, united by great respect and friendship. INTHREE organizes 360 degree mosaic courses and the group goes to where it is invited to teach. That’s how INTHREE has traveled from Kefalonia (GR) to Gallipoli (Puglia) to Paris, and Florence. The expectation is there will be many more engagements to follow!”
Mosaic never stops. And the Mosaic Review is also moving forward with the mosaic!