Unfinished Museum

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Stefano Faravelli

Like the Strasbourg Cathedral where they left incomplete the bell tower…the most careful and spiritual exegesis tells us that it was done deliberately because the imperfection of creation is part of its perfection.

The unfinished in the highest sense is a seed.


If I say “unfinished” what is the first thing that comes to your mind?

The painting that awaits me every morning in the studio and that I cannot carry on.

I always do something else, I say “today I’ll go and finish it”, then I do something else, it has been unfinished for months. It’s not like me. It has never happened to me with paintings, instead I have many unfinished drawings. It is very rare that I throw them away, I usually put them in a drawer, then after a while they pop out and I discover that there is always something to save.

The ancient painters re-fined their paintings and used to say that their work was “brought to perfection”: the preparatory work of notes and drawings was not worthy of being shown. With a few exceptions (Michelangelo!) the unfinished is a discovery of modernity. Our century and the previous one have dismissed the work “brought to perfection” as uninteresting and instead focused on the process, on the creative process; informal art is this: to make the painter’s gestures visible. I believe that it is also for this peculiar modern sensitivity towards the infinite that the travel book has so much success: for its ability to reveal the process, to simulate a journey, a path, a movement.

Unfinished what color / shape does it have?

I think of the image of a Persian carpet, an oriental carpet. In traditional carpets there is an unfinished part, deliberately left unfinished. As in the Strasbourg Cathedral, where a bell tower is missing: the building is mutilated, incomplete. The most careful and spiritual exegesis says that it was done deliberately because the imperfection of creation is part of its perfection: you cannot challenge God. Furthermore, the infinite opens to the future while the finite closes and limits it. Inversely, however, you can only escape from the finite…you cannot escape from the infinite.

Is there something you have left undone in your life?

Drawings, projects, but above all I think about relationships. Certain friendships that could have matured and ended because of my responsibility. This is the area in which the infinite is most painful. For the works there is a stronger tendency to complete them rather than to leave them unfinished. And yet even in the finished work there is hidden a non-fulfillment. It is its concealing the seed of that which will follow it. In the highest sense the unfinished is a seed.

 Your favorite fertilizer?

Wonder, ab origins, philosophy is born from wonder, philosophers question the fundamental questions, wonder moves to these questions, I feel more of a philosopher than an artist, artist is a worn out word.

When is a work done for you?

When I start a work, I have a mental image of this work, but then it is the work itself that takes the hand and guides you. So it escapes your hands and the result becomes independent from the imagined one; often there is no coincidence, only approximation. Perhaps it is to react to this heterogenesis that when I paint I am horror vacui personified; if there is a white corner, there I go and paint, in every tiny corner of my paintings there is something. An attempt to take back what always tends to escape. On the other hand, in the pages of travel notebooks I can play with the unfinished, especially as sometimes there is no time to finish them.

3 words that you would match with unfinished?

Seed, mistake, regret.


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