Paola Picchiotti Napoleone possesses a clear conception of the underlying principle of her work which it is important to draw attention to here. Her elegant lampshades – so original and appealing, and yet always meticulously related to the space which they will occupy – derive from a quite specific thought process.
The forms which they possess are the fruit of a careful research which is conditioned both by their material and their purpose: this gives rise to a series of clear “visual ideas” which – once suitably brought to life – perform the function of a light-shade. Even though these may be splendid embellishments to an interior, we are not speaking here of creations that are merely decorative objects for a room.
These are genuinely artistic productions, created by an artist of considerable experience and ability from carefully evolved figurative designs in such a way that they actually become the defining characteristics of the space which they inhabit, not just superficial decorations to it. In the process, our artist draws upon the most varied sources and re-works every inspiration in a way that clearly distinguishes her personal style.
The impulse which gives rise to the creation of these forms comes from specific observations, or from often fortuitous encounters: in one case, it is an African mask; in another, Norman Foster’s Hearst Tower in New York; in another, it is the detail taken from a beautiful mask by Luigi Ontani which proves decisive; and in yet another, it is a conversation with her husband who suggests creating an illuminated book-case that provides the inspiration.
Alongside all this, however, there are the artist’s wide-ranging reflections on Futurism or on the Russian Avant-garde, and even on what might appear a commonplace such as the idea of the lampshade as millinery. In this way she takes what might seem banal and then re-moulds it with that same creative passion and feeling for the life inherent in the forms and for the clarity of their presence – her aim being always to create those planes of colour which, like the changing faces of a polyhedron, determine the creation and construction.
In addition, the artist’s sketches, a large number of which have been included in this book, clearly reveal the profundity of her approach. Picchiotti Napoleone claims for herself an aspect of that humanistic importance which is rightly given to the figurative arts, distinguishing herself markedly as a creator of hand-made artefacts by the sheer quality of excellence.
This whole book can be seen, therefore, as the artist’s ingenious dialogue with the forms created by her mind, and as a thoughtful and sensitive meditation on the felicitous morphology of structures filled by light and delicate translucence.