Luca Maria Patella, Dice A, 1966. Collezione Fondazione Morra, Napoli. In comodato a Madre · museo d’arte contemporanea Donnaregina, Napoli. Foto © Amedeo Benestante. | Luca Maria Patella, Dice A / Says A, 1966. Fondazione Morra Collection, Naples. On loan to Madre · museo d’arte contemporanea Donnaregina, Naples. Photo © Amedeo Benestante.

The multifarious and multidisciplinary training of Luca Maria Patella (Roma, 1934) appears constantly in his artistic research, and always in the direction of the sort of study that transcends the borders between disciplines and languages. The education he received from his family (his father Luigi, whom he describes as a “humanist-cosmologist and artist”), his scientific training (a degree in Electronic Structural Chemistry), and psychoanalysis (with Ernst Bernhard), encourage Patella to move between painting and object-sculptures, site-specific installations and performance, films and video, graphic art and new interpretations of the book format and of writing (visual art, literature and theory), continually working on the image interpolated by graphic elements, words, sounds, music.
This experimentation pursues the art-science relationship that, beginning in the 1960s, Patella developed via proposals that make use of photo-cinematography (Terra animata, 1967, a film he made together with his wife Rosa Foschi), tracing conceptual tendencies, along a horizon line of action that the artist himself has called “complex conceptualism.” During those same years, the artist showed at L’Attico in Rome, creating works such as Ambiente proiettivo animato (1966-68), the film SKMP2 (1968), and others such as the one in this collection, entitled Dice A (“Says A”, 1966), which is a conceptual reflection on the co-expression of sound, word, image. The artist’s interactive sound environment Foresta parlante was made in 1971, and consists of multisensory elements; the work drew the attention of Christo.
This was the point of departure for an articulated production, especially for the creation of complex installations based on the interaction between the various expressive languages and the multiple symbologies: a case in point is the project Mysterium Coniunctionis, a full-fledged temple of time and memory of evident Jungian and alchemical inspiration, in which the celestial astrographic representations of the northern and southern hemispheres are associated; or the first Vasi fisiognomici and the engraved mirrors, characterized by metaphorical, poetic, and oniric references between psychoanalysis and Renaissance iconographies. This tendency would characterize Patella’s course in the 1980s, absorbing certain aspects of the culture of citation and appropriation, reinterpreted in a personal key, as an explorer of the labyrinths of knowledge and history. In Naples the Fondazione Morra, where Patella showed in 1998, curated three of his publications and promoted the retrospective exhibition of his works at Castel Sant’Elmo in 2007.