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I have always been fascinated by fairytales and myths, oral storytellers and by religious and folk imaginaries and drama. I love their richness of detail, symbols, and their apparently light quality in conveying the human condition and psyche in its essential aspects.

I pursue this sort of narrative and form- that of integrity and genuine resonance.

In my childhood, I was absorbed in fairytales and legends, and the overwhelming esthetic universe of a novel, byzantine, southern Italian baroque world: mosaics, stern saints, pierced hearts, angels and demons, flowers, pomegranates, sirens, winged horses and opulent gilded churches.

This universe come backs to me as a reminiscence and a play in my works. Being able to get involved, make them come alive again- perhaps in a pop form- or to turn these elements upside down is a privilege and a gift.

Furthermore, I believe that exploring and processing elements of culture history and art history is a key to understanding and critically approaching contemporary life.

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Signals and reflections: The symbolic maps of Alessandra Sicuro.

By Varka Kozlovic.

Signals and reflections
Alessandra Sicuro is an Italian visual artist living and working in Copenhagen.

Alessandra attended various courses in painting, graphics, drawing, illustration (Holbæk Kunsthøjskole and Skt. Martins School of London). She regularly exhibits in her adopted country of Denmark, including from her Copenhagen studio, as well as the artistic associations of various institutions including the World Health Organization, Novo Nordisk, Multidata as well as other private- and public organisations, as well as international exhibitions, such as Zonta, Kulturkajen Docken, Artival festival and Art Nordic. She is a member of Kunst2100, Immart and other local artistic groups.

Born in Puglia, you studied in Bologna and live in Denmark. How are these phases of your life reflected in your artistic path?

The biographical element is always there, implicitly or explicitly in the works of those who process art. It is the same for me.

Painting and storytelling: What role do they play in your life? How do these two arts combine in your work?

Storytelling is an essential part of my work. The inspiration comes from fairy tales, votive art, folk art, or the Commedia dell’ Arte, enchanting and complex forms of expression, capable of conveying with ease, with a sort of lightness, universal and profound languages.

Both in your paintings and in your drawings there are often subjects such as Adam and Eve, the lions, the shoe, the book. Can you tell us about your artistic alphabet?

Some figures reoccur in my work. A cup, a coffeepot a chair recall everyday life. Others recall habits, family rituals. The set table, for example, has a strong symbolic connotation, as if it was a temple. Yet it is a set table. The eye moves from the earth to the sky and vice versa.

Adam and Eve, archetypal man and woman, evoke the condition of innocence or illusion before and after the Expulsion from Eden. Some historical periods have deliberately represented this mythical event, associating guilt with femininity.

Books are for me a sign of belonging, memory, preservation of culture in the strict sense and in some way a warning. On the other hand, they also are "books of life", the precious path traced by each single existence.

Some angels fly, some figures move with raised arms, wild cats wander next to the unconscious crowd or the set table. The “good” reality that I paint embraces its otherness. There is place for joy, courage, stupidity and spirituality.

What are the educational or artistic experiences that have most influenced your work? What are the main sources of inspiration?

I grew up in a family where art was read and appreciated and have always been interested in fairy tales and myths. My region, Salento, the bare rock and dry stone walls, angels, saints and the fantastic shapes of the Lecce Baroque made me familiar to fantasy and drama.

Enrolled in drama, art and music studies at Bologna University, I met the turmoil of the creative Bologna of the 1980s. There was "fantasy in power," music, there were political- and satirical reviews (Il Male, Frigidaire…). In general, however, my humanistic background, sociology of art and theater, have formed me. Later on, I approached European figurative art, an endless source of inspiration that I continue to cultivate. I love the Middle Ages and the importance given to symbols, signs and the clarity with which good is distinguished from evil, for example in religious images. The bizarre perspective, the dynamism in Mannerism or the Baroque. I am as well interested in folk and contemporary art.

Where do your works come from, how do they develop and why?

Art can offer a fantastic premise for research. In my case, a painting begins or develops around words or images (a biography, a photo, a classical or contemporary verse). That can lead to exploring collective cultural elements and facts, processing them, placing them (also joyfully) into an incongruous context. Petrarch dialogues with an imaginary second girlfriend, a fork in a yellow room thinks about Lautrec or the Borgia family, a giant watering can stands next to a solitary Danish isle. Mixing ancient images and symbols and current data, is not a form of escapism but a sort of investigation. Art cites, remembers, asks questions about the collective accumulation of experiences, memories, historical facts, myths.

Is there an inspiring principle that characterizes your artistic production?

Searching, understanding, processing.

What are you working on now? Can you say something about your next projects?

On 4th and 5th of December, I will participate in the annual exhibition at Docken in Nordhavn. The weekend of the 19th of November I will hold an open atelier at my studio in Århusgade in Østerbro in Copenhagen. In March 2022, I will be exhibiting at Musicon in Roskilde.

In addition, I am interested in illustration. I' m working on an adventure for children and some sketches for graphic novels.


Varka Kozlovich, Slovenian, currently resides in Copenhagen. Artist , member of K.K.S, the Danish Women’s Artist Association.

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Published by APULIART-2016

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Published by APULIART-2016.

Alessandra Sicuro is a visual artist living and working between Copenhagen (DK), where she currently resides, and Salento, Apulia.

Alessandra studied languages and literature at the universities of Bologna and Milan. After moving to Denmark, she attended various courses in painting, drawing, and ceramics. In addition, she also continues to teach language both in Studieskolen and in her own company, Italiaviva.

Since 2006, she regularly exhibits in her Copenhagen studio and for artistic associations of various institutions including the World Health Organization, NovoNordisk, Byretten, Multidata and WHO.

She has as well joined several art fairs, such as Zonta, Kulturkajen Docken, Artival festival, Art Nordic.

My source of inspiration are fables and myths, seen as archetypes of human behavior, and cultural heritage: for instance Roman mosaics, the Middle Age, Renaissance, art of the eighteenth century, literature and poetry, which I often quote.

Alessandra Sicuro’s art reflects her origins and what she learns on a daily basis, not only from Scandinavians but also from other cultures. In Denmark she met Nordic “cold” colours and atmospheres (Hammershøj, Ring, Zahrtmann, design from the ‘50s).

It was a sort of sobriety, with implicit religious and cultural connotations … such a difference from my Catholic and southern background, which comprises bright colours, contradictions, drama, guilt and indulgence.

Her background, made of the Byzantine and Baroque features, colours and scents of Salento, is challenged by the Scandinavian cultural sobriety as well as by her travels outside Europe. This contrast generates a creative, flowing threshold: her original art.

Alessandra Sicuro grew up in a house with walls frescoed by her grandfather and with a love for art: discussions, paintings, a few books observed with extreme, endless attention.

Painting is for Alessandra a wonderful journey of reflection and discovery of the past. Together with formal, expressive and cultural issues, her deliberate approach is one with a sort of conscious naivete.

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