La carta ricorda is a journey, in the company of the papier-mâché craftsmen, into the inner being of paper, into its memory, into the myriad ways it can come alive. The video work focuses on the material and symbolic value of paper, departing from visiting the Paper Masters of Putignano (BA), famous for creating the carriages for the Carnival parade in Puglia.
(Caterina Riva.) Could you tell us more in detail about the process behind the making of the video you realised in Putignano last summer?
(V.V.) I went into the Putignano Carnival workshops for the first time in December 2019. It was a very cold day, and there is no heating in the hangars…, I was introduced to the Fondazione del Carnevale di Putignano and to three Maestri Cartapestai: Deni Bianco, Vito Mastrangelo and Domenico Galluzzi. Entering their workshops, witnessing all the labour that precedes the carnival
is astonishing: you discover the variety and complexity of the assemblage of a Carnival float, a colourful world characterised by patience and mastery. (…)
So, I started getting closer to paper, the true protagonist of these workshops, and to tell the story of the paper’s bowels, secrets and voice. A very important choice was that of telling the story from the point of view of all workshops as one. You don’t see floats or faces (…).
The lockdown caused a pause in the production of the work, a time of reflection that gave us the possibility of seeing the hangars and its inhabitants in a less chaotic moment than that of the Carnival, and so more favorable to the dialogue and collaboration. That’s how I discovered that newsprint, if worked with glue of water and flour, turns into papier-mâché; and it has the memory of the cast in which it dries, and it can also lose this memory (…).