I paint the things that appeal to me, that capture my imagination as I fly above the world in my vessel, I paint the things I love, as though I were writing my autobiography. Painting allows me to pursue dreams, to give life to the people and places I would like to touch, interact with. It is a simple and primary need for expression; a need to tell, to tell about myself. The series on historic centres and rural landscapes presents another trait: the presence-absence of people in the various canvasses. This is partly due to the fact that human stories are told exclusively through the use of colour, and partly due to the hope that in future man will truly deserve a place on this earth and will create a world which is happier, more industrious, honest, clean, respectful and colourful.
Matteo Boato, Land and Water
Chirac and de Villepin (France), Schröder, Kohl and Schmidt (Germany), Romano Prodi (Italy) are but some of the many European leaders who have leveled harsh criticisms of the way the Ukraine crisis has been handled by Brussels and Washington (What really happened in Beijing: Putin, Obama, Xi — and the back story the media won’t tell you, Salon, 14 November 2014; The New York Times doesn’t want you to understand this Vladimir Putin speech, Salon, 7 November 2014; Merkel, Putin talk as G20 debates Ukraine, Deutsche Welle, 15 November 2014).
Merkel and Steinmeier have already blocked Ukraine’s and Georgia’s accession to NATO in 2007 (Georgia and Ukraine split NATO members, NYT, 30 October 2008) and will do it again (Merkel said to reject Ukraine NATO bid, Bloomberg, 26 November 2014).
They are sincere, open and straightforward advocates of peace, diplomacy and cooperation – wtiness the speech delivered by Germany’s foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the Ural Federal University in Yekaterinburg on “Germans and Russians – past, present, future“, a few days ago (9 December 2014).
This is great news for everyone. It means Ostpolitik is alive and kicking.
It also means that there is an important role to play for an active and informed citizenship committed to the aims of cultural diplomacy.
More democratic participation translates into the reinvention of diplomacy for an age in which citizens are empowered and therefore made more responsible in the decision-making process.
A new diplomacy, a bottom-up diplomacy involving more transnational cultural exchanges and business partnerships (Dominique de Villepin, “The Art of Intervention: Diplomacy and Deployment after Iraq”, University of Chicago – 14 November 2014).
In order to pursue the path of mutual understanding and shared prosperity we need more links between people, nations, cultures, enterprises, (truly independent) think tanks.
We need a new Ostpolitik.
Art is a universal language, it need not be translated. It is one of the reasons why Matteo Boato, an artist from Trento, has made it big in Russia.
In October 2014 he has had his first Russian exhibition in Nizhny Novgorod, with 33 canvases on display. His paintings are being exhibited in Moscow, Yaroslavl, Cheboksary and, in 2015, together with their author, will then return to the city from which they came, Nizhny Novgorod, with new paintings added, inspired by this Russian tour, “a fantastic experience” (Matteo Boato in Russia «Esperienza fantastica», Trentino, 2 dicembre 2014).
In spring 2014, Boato has been invited to spend several weeks of intense artistic production in Nizhny Novgorod – formerly (1932–90) Gorky – devoting several paintings to the fifth largest Russian city and to the architecture of other European cities.
Boato is especially fond of urban landscapes. From the onset of his artistic career, in 2001, Boato, possibly influenced by Trento’s solemn architecture, has mainly focused on buildings, rather then people.
It was only over time that he learnt to tell the story of the people living among those buildings.
Eventually one of the main themes of his art has become, in his words, “human stories told by the structures surrounding them”, often watched from a bird’s eye view. However, driven by the deeply held conviction that, from a distance, most people are indistinguishable, he tends to paint them black, thus overcoming biases, prejudices, and stereotyping.
An architect by training, a world citizen and artist by choice, Boato lets his eyes sweep over vast horizons, all over crowded places seen from afar. Humanity becomes a stream and significant details are marked by coloured dots, and yet his art remains deeply human and humane.
An online catalogue of Matteo Boato’s Russian paintings.