Note biografiche in inglese - Gabriella Capodiferro

Gabriella Capodiferro
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A biography of Gabriella Capodiferro
Edited by Chiara Strozzieri

Gabriella  Capodiferro, born in Chieti in 1942, is an artist with fifty years of  experience belonging to the European Informalism. She has been running a  creative workshop for over twenty years and has been promoting cultural  events all over Italy.
Her penchant for Art did not reveal itself  clearly since her childhood, but Gabriella now still remembers when, as a  child, she used to isolate herself from friends to do experiments with  tissue papers, dunking, flouring and painting them.
She started to  attend the Art School thanks to her careful and inspiring mother. In her  first school years she suffered from recurring headaches that hindered  her from being completely focused during lessons. At the end of the  Middle School her teachers advised her to join the teacher training  school but Gabriella’s mother, a creative and witty teacher, had noticed  her daughter’s sketches so she encouraged her to try the placement test  to enrol the Arts High School.
It was the year 1956 and that was a  difficult examination: among the subjects Gabriella had to pass a  Descriptive Geometry test whose task was to draw a spiral to perfection.  However she successfully did it and she was allowed to attend the Arts  High School in Pescara. So she started to travel daily between Pescara  and Chieti, where her family had moved a few years before, until grim  news alarmed her parents who decided to make her move to the Arts High  School in Chieti.
At that time the Arts High School in Chieti was one  of the best in Italy so Gabriella had the chance to meet such  illustrious artists as Montini, Diano, Spiezia, Quocolo and the  ceramists Bontempo and Bozzelli.
In that school she did learn applied  arts: the school took part in such important competitions as the  National Competition of Ceramic Art in Faenza and she learned how to  design well, and that was very important for her transition from  Figurative Art to Informalism. She also learned how to use ceramic  colours to paint majolica and her passion for tactile arts made her lay  aside graphic arts for a while. During that period she had a strict  teacher, Mr Antonio Di Fabrizio, who used to demand that pupils  reproduce stuffed birds.
In 1960, after her High School diploma, Gabriella Capodiferro enrolled for the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice where she met Professor Bruno Saetti  who would become her academic advisor. He taught her the importance of  “the line” because “In drawing”, as he put it, “it is the line which  speaks and not what it represents”.
Thanks to the period spent in  Venice she gained a great wealth of experience: for the first time she  portrayed a nude model on a two-metre-long piece of paper  using merely a pencil; moreover, she was hosted by the Dominican Sisters  of St. Imeldine in Venice and she started a close friendship with  Silvana and Mariella who prevented her from being isolated by the other  schoolfriends because of her Southern Italian origins.
At that time  Venice was genuine, a cultural city in ferment, not yet the present  popular tourist destination. With her friends she used to take refuge in  the Querini Stampalia Library that was used to be open until midnight  and where she would read up on the History of Art.
During her second year of Academy, in 1962, Gabriella held her first one-woman exhibition of her paintings at the historical Café Eden in L’Aquila and she created her own brochures.
The  visitors’ feedback confirmed all her doubts about her nude paintings  which she herself  perceived too academic, so she realized that she had  to work more distinctively, in a genuine and authentic way.
In 1964,  after finishing the Academy, she became an Art teacher and first worked  for the Technical School for Surveyors “E. Fermi” in Lanciano and some  years later for Liceo Scientifico “G. Galilei” in Pescara.
Gabriella was just 22 and her wish to stand out as an artist took her to the well-known  Margutta Art Gallery in Rome. Once there, Ms Leda dampened her  enthusiasm showing hostility towards female artists who usually abandon  their job once married, causing in so doing a drop in the market value  of their works of art. That was the reason why she refused the young  artist’s paintings. However, guessing her talent, Ms Leda invited her to  go again to assess her progress over time.
On October 4th 1969  Gabriella Capodiferro married Antonio Taricani, her husband for all her  life. He has always been fully aware of her temperament: only 4 days  after their wedding Gabriella organized her first one-woman  exhibition in “San Marco” Art Gallery in Rome. Unfortunately the  exhibition had demanded a great investment and in the end the result was  disappointing. But this event gave her the opportunity to see that  Antonio was a great support to her. In fact, he has always been close to  her and has supported her flourishing art career. He is her official  photographer and creator of her illustrated catalogues.
In addition,  the exhibition in Rome gave her the chance to meet an important person:  at the end of the event she returned to the gallery and found out that  one of her paintings had been sold to a certain Gastone Favero who had  left his address. Gabriella did not know that he was the managing  director of RAI 1, whose studios were at the bottom of the street and  who used to foster contacts with the local art galleries. Gabriella sent  him a quick note to say thank you and to wish him Merry Christmas. He  replied revealing his identity and offering her to be introduced in the  most prestigious venues of the capital city. But Gabriella took  advantage of this opportunity only three years later, when she felt more  confident about her artistic skills and so she contacted Mr Favero.  When she met him, together they organized an event at the gallery “Paesi  Nuovi” in Montecitorio where all her paintings sold out, including her  masterpiece Il bacio di Giuda, bought by the manager of the well-known Ferri Publishing House in Rome.
That was the time when she made the important decision to refuse any tie-ups  with art galleries in order to develop her artistic skills freely. In  fact, after the success of her last pictorial cycle she would be asked  to paint in the usual style that she felt dated because too easy for  her. Whereas, in her opinion, art should be a torment; it should  question and stimulate her till the last stroke; it should push her to  look for new techniques. So she decided to go back to her native  Abruzzo, where she was free to experiment with new techniques and at the  same time to keep on organizing exhibitions all over Italy, such as the  one held in 1972 in the church of San Rocco in Este near Padua. That  event was very important for the artist who was fascinated by the new  and distinctive cultural context where art is not regarded as elitist  but within everybody’s reach. So people from different social  backgrounds showed interest in her works of art and all the paintings  were sold.
In 1978 she spent five days in prison followed by a period  under house arrest as she was charged with dissemination of pornography  to pupils. Actually, she felt the moral responsibility as a teacher to  give educational tips to her pupils who were confused about the contrast  between the sexual freedom flaunted in the 60s and the true situation  of a town where that freedom was still morally unacceptable. So, she  dealt with the controversial issue in a highly professional way, using  all the media, including magazines with nude photographs. It became a  nationwide case and many people expressed solidarity with her through  letters and even financial help. However the judicial process weighed  heavily on her, so even though she was finally found completely innocent  and her project defined by the judges “morally relevant”,  Gabriella  decided to leave teaching and once again devote herself to art.
She went back to Ms Leda of Margutta, who introduced her to the well-known  art historian Marcello Venturoli, who guided Gabriella toward an  important turning point in her career. At first he criticized her openly  for having a poor background; then he praised her for some sketches  which Gabriella was reluctant to show because they were drawn during the  years of the trial. The eminent historian affirmed that those sketches  might be the beginning of something interesting and asked her to paint a  diary about her painful experience.
Thanks to Venturoli, Gabriella  Capodiferro resolved her distressing inner conflict and started to paint  the cycle called “Qui si vive”, a frank pictorial account of her  experience of life. In 1980, when she showed him her work, a touched  Venturoli said: “You make me feel reconciled with my job as a critic.  Now you are born”. On more than one occasion he exhibited her paintings  and since then Gabriella has been often invited to exhibit: in 1983 the  remarkable exhibition in the popular Astrolabio Art Gallery in Rome and  in 1988 the exhibition in the Sant’Isaia Art Gallery in Bologna.
In  1985 Ms Leda visited her studio and she went into raptures over one of  her paintings. “You are a Gabriella Capodiferro” she said, and she  finally decided to organize an exhibition in the famous Art Gallery in  Margutta street in Rome.
In those years her art developed from its  iconic phase into Informalism. This new creative mode characterizes her  work today and it has made her a well-known artist.
In 1987 she  organized painting workshops for adults in her studio in Chieti after  experiencing a project on behalf of the local council in a disadvantaged  area of Pescara where, thanks to her, painting became an important  pastime. The workshop, which later turned into a cultural group, was  named MGC, “Movimento del Guardare Creativo” (Creative Watching Movement).  In the last 24 years the movement has promoted a series of cultural  events such as art exhibitions and guided tours and has caught the  attention of the local media.
The MGC’s aim is to organize art  workshops where the master passes on his knowledge without limiting the  pupils’ own artistic style. The cultural association, then, felt a  strong sense of responsibility towards the local community to promote  such events as the show held in the National Archeological Museum “La Civitella” in Chieti.
Gabriella  has been invited to exhibit in such important international art  festivals as the 59th edition Michetti Prize, the 11th edition of Vasto  Prize, the 52nd edition of Termoli Prize and the 37th edition of Sulmona  Prize.
Her works are kept in prestigious buildings and are included in privately-owned  collections all over Italy. Furthermore they have been displayed in  important galleries in Perugia, Treviso, Bologna, Padua, Rome, Milan,  Modena and presented by eminent art critics like Piero Arcangeli,  Antonio Gasbarrini, Giuseppe Rosato, Giorgio Seveso, Leo Strozzieri and  others. Moreover she has exhibited abroad: in 1993 she held a memorable  exhibition in the art gallery Du Pommier in Nauchatel, Switzerland and  in 1995 she took part in Malta Arts Biennale.
In the Abruzzo Region  she has supported many arts events with the aim of promoting the local  cultural growth: the travelling exhibition called La mela di Eva held in  1989 and sponsored by the Abruzzo Region administration; the solo  exhibition promoted by the Arts Museum Foundation in the castle of  Nocciano (Pescara); the 2008 commemoration entitled Sulle tracce di  Gabriele D’Annunzio held in the museum Casa natale di Gabriele  D’Annunzio in Pescara.
In her life Gabriella Capodiferro has  undertaken many research projects in the field of Art that led her to  remarkable findings, always convinced that art is “occurrence”. So she  will never deny what happened in her personal and artistic life and she  will be always open to a unique evolution.

ultimo aggiornamento: 30 novembre 2023   
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