1. How was your first approach to art world, what did generate this
vocation? What was born at first, literature or art?
vocation grew up in solitude with rituals that started precociously.
I don’t know if there was an exact moment when I came into contact
or I don’t remember it. What always existed is this companionship,
a natural presence of poetry and art in my life, since when I attended
the primary school.
When I was twelve I belonged to a group named “Niños y
jóvenes escritores” (kids and teenagers writers) that was
used to meet in the historical cafés “Tortoni” and
“Las Violets”, where I made my first experiences as public
When I was fifteen –after a short and clarifier period through
the Trotskyism- I understood,
with the support of a simple practical example, that the change must
pass through the knowledge to avoid to be entrapped, with the first
attempt, in the same model that it pretends to overcome.
So I joined, afterwards, a group of surrealist poets formed in Roberto
Art Park through an announcement published on “Expreso imaginario”
(imaginary Express) magazine in 1973.
2. Did you study art subjects at schools and universities acknowledged
by law or in private workshops?
After having finished the high school, my Philosophy teacher
pushed me to continue her subject studies, my Literature teacher was expecting
I chose Letters.
I didn’t study art subjects in the last two years of high school
attendance, because in Argentina it was learned in the first years, without
history of art and visual basis, a so different syllabus compared with
European high school that I had the opportunity to know teaching in the
Italian scientific high school.
When I was seventeen I knew Krishnamurti philosophy-psychology during
the Sunday open meetings in Rivadavia Park –before police stopped
them for “outraging the family, the Church and the State”.
There it was attempted to speak spontaneously about illusions, death,
fears, and liberty. The first thing that came into my head was the Socrates
image walking in Greece among his people.
This was decisive to considerate Philosophy formal studies as an abstract
route, merely theoretic and, furthermore, it characterized my life since
I was always interested in the mind thematic, in hallucinated and symbolic
creation. In that period I deeply read the English antipsychiatric David
Cooper, Laing and Esterson, but I rejected to study Psychiatry at University
when I realized I should have attend the whole Medical Faculty at first.
Letters attracted me but I had the need of something more vital and physical,
the touch with the matter, so I decided, almost for exclusion, for the
Fine Arts studies with specialization in Sculpture.
No, I never attended private workshops, neither I belonged to trends,
I had an eclectic educational background and I tried to move in the world
in the most complete way.
I preserved the liberty of my individual experience, even if this brought
also going slower and with more tortuous curves.
Which poets did have ascendancy in your poetry?
With surrealist group –none was more than
eighteen years old, we read the Surrealist Manifesto, we made automatic
writing- I knew the French surrealists Andrè Breton, Paul Eluard,
Antonin Artaud, the Symbolists etc.
In those years the surrealism in Argentina had an enormous attraction
among youth people.
In reality the first poet that had in me a visceral ascendancy was Arthur
Rimbaud. I felt so close that always I read him having the fear that his
words drove too much into my head and I were not able to distinguish their
Another great poet fundamental for me was the Argentine Enrique Molina,
a perennial traveller, whose poetry was born from the depth. Someone that
always was walking at my side and that I should have liked a lot to meet,
to speak with him and to embrace him.
Alejandra Pizarnik came to me later, something special: the word vibrates
in her poetry beneath a tension that produces silence.
In Italy, without any doubt the obsessive Dino Campana poetry was the
most revealing discovery, In Argentina I never knew him: a life ended
in a mental hospital, a wild poetry explosion, uncontaminated.
I always understood poetry and art like a way of living, a not blindly
acceptance of what is used to do, thinking, making, a consciousness raising.
My poetry train left pregnant of oneiric images, instinctive visions.
During the years a more spoil environment became predominant, with a deeper
reflective synthesis, a more circular rhythm.
Did any artist influence your pictorial art?
The line in art could start from a very long time before, with Michelangelo
liberty teachings, the Mannerist and Goya, then Van Gogh, the cubism and
the Argentine neo-figurative group.
In Europe the direct meet with that Francis Bacon forms changed under
high temperature pressure, was the best thing that could happen to me,
followed by Lucian Freud lucid and precise bodies strokes of the brush
and Canogar in Spain, another great between formalism and figurative.
In Italy the discover of Afro Basaldella: only colours and some informal
trace on the canvass, but that form an unique symphony, pure poetry, perfect
But I believe that in my paintings, nevertheless, the first characteristic
raises from the fact that it comes from a sculpture background, sculpture
was my first love in art and this can be clearly perceived, is what gives
it a greater strength.
I work on the plane with a lot of material, with spatula, with a special
tendency for the volume, for the space, almost as if it is a bas-relief
or an high-relief.
Also the intagliated carton invented technique, worked on coats, reveals
this tendency on my work.
In the last paintings appear lines that cross all the surface and that
can be interpreted as interference, simultaneity or fragmentation inside
In which way does the creative process originate inside you? Are there
differences when you write a poem or you paint a canvass? Do you think
to express better what you want to transfer with one of the two artistic
doctrines or do you feel in the same way with both?
The creative process born from a depth of vacuum, of silence, of liberty,
of spontaneity and community with a greater reality. Those are the characteristics
of a meditation or receptivity state, also when it doesn’t happen
in a conscious way. Besides, it’s not so important if on the surface
of this ocean there is a struggle between colours masses or words that
advance as armies in opposite harmonies, in reality all come from that
depth. It’s almost as, temporarily, the ego limitation overflows
In that alchemic space the individual material transforms itself in something
greater, that becomes universal and coming from this transmutation the
material can, finally, be useful for the others. The others participate
completing it, modifying it or aggregating other meanings.
No, there is no difference between writing poetry or painting, drawing
or engraving, sculpturing or writing a novel in the way the works born
or announce themselves.
Differences and likenesses during creative work come from later, obviously,
from technical characteristics that belong to each art, also from the
size, the materials, the time dedicated to them.
At first sight it could be said that it can be possible to transmit in
another way through the word, that the word hits with a more precise light
and, in the same time, it’s more exposed to deviate itself toward
But this is due to personal uses and routes, not from the word itself
or to the image in itself, the purpose is the same for the poet and for
the artist: restoring inaccessible meanings, going beyond each one own
limits, incorporating distant or apparently opponents echoes.
Even if you were born in Argentina, in what way did the fact of living
in Italy since many years mark you?
It’s possible to make conjectures about probable destinies that
could happen to me if I continued to live all my life in Argentina or
in Italy, there are many possible Gladys Sica but there are not evident
proofs about these possibilities.
From this going and going back, crossing oceans, restarting again, it
can be understood a fondness for challenges, for not stable situations,
for deaths and rebirths as propitiatory conditions for my vital creative
I lost many things in this continuous movement, it become more difficult
building up in all ambits, there is an evident larger effort in order
to avoid dissipating my life.
But, unexpectedly, the final result can enrich itself, because while the
time is passing all that belongs to us come back, it’s conquered
again or at least it happened in this way since now.
I don’t believe that it’s possible to loose a clear destiny,
only that some decisions bring us near or away from ourselves more easily
We can say, in particular, for instance that writing could have surfaced
before or more deeply without the complexities due to living in a nation
where a different language is spoken or where it must start from zero.
Or that it could be another way of writing completely different, as already
suggested before the first departed, with pattern and local situations
blended with a pure poetic language.
But in the same time it’s sure that painting in Italy allowed me
to survive through art, allowed me a maturity in life experience and artistic
consciousness that I believe it could be weaker in my native country.
After the book “Ternura Animal” (Animal tenderness) published
in Argentina, how was the experience of the book “Nel fuoco
del silenzio –il viaggio” (In the fire of silence –the
travel) published in Italy winner of “Antonia Pozzi” Contest?
I never made haste to publish; surely the fact to be absorbed by artistic
activity determined a more slow movement with literature.
Even if my poetic work proceeded with uninterrupted seriousness and, moreover,
is former to artistic consciousness, it remained, in the long run, relegated
to my private sphere. The fact is that, at least since now, my books were
published through contests.
Self promoting trough contests is the most straight way to get in touch
with literature world when a person comes from abroad, it allows also
to know with certainty how your work is understood when nobody absolutely
The negative side is for sure the works disorderly publication, following
each contest limiting rules.
I took part to a literary contest in Milan, just when I finished with
translations. They informed me that I have won the first prize but I have
to convert the poetical prose in verses and poems number in titles. I
answered that it was impossible to accept those requirements and I lost
When I come back in Argentina I sent some texts written in the Seventies
and in the Eighties, I was one of the finalist in a contest and the first
book tardily saw the light in the Nineties completed with poems of that
period, as you know well.
During my second travel in Italy I won, on the contrary, the first prize
presenting another anthology. This was a great gratification, at first
because the book was bilingual, a very important fact. In second place
because the prize has a good prestige in Milan, this opened me many doors
and this, maybe, as all finally, went in the right moment.
In the meaning that I was in the conditions to have a pause in my artistic
activity without many economical risks or continuity gaps.
In these last years literary meetings followed one another in an unexpected
and frenetic way. I believe that the best thing of all is always meeting
What you can say about art made in Europe in this period? What tendencies
Together with visual work shown as exhibited object that uses traditionally
canvass, stone, acrylic, fibreglass, etc. exist all that artistic forms
that in some way come from conceptual art. They go away from art made
for to be hanged on the walls or to be allocated on a base, to go close
to theatre, philosophy or technology.
In this art ideas are shown or even the very creative process, that is
the preliminary drafts, the picture of stages as they are the work itself.
Those are healthy reflection necessities that lay bare what is behind
the work, we can say the artist kitchen and that are useful to complete
the image liberation of the artist from the artisan. But this is not enough
for itself, all depends from each artist veracity and capacity, as always,
not from the used style or method.
There are many works that move themselves in the body art, land art and
performance courses, following Joseph Beuys, Richard Long or even Duchamp
The element explanatory predominance of right social, artist, ecologic
theories of fascinating reference to Jacques Derrida, Jean Baudrillart,
very interesting to read, produce, on the contrary, many events whose
results are often enough poor o boring to see, where the only one that
enjoys himself/herself is the author.
There are also surprising achievements made by groups or single artists
that unite many technology to artist sensibility, these languages contamination
due to the introduction of the information technology and video use, especially,
is making big strides.
The last Venice Biennial Art Exhibition, for example, was full of audiovisuals,
but many halls insisted exaggeratedly on this artist expression.
I think that artist can move and think, without renouncing to propose
a deep vital energy avoiding to follow established parameters that reduce
themselves in a low irony or in the repetition, hidden as subject innovation
or as life system critic.
9. About what subjects do the European poets write? What are
the most recurring arguments?
The pluralities cohabitation and languages contamination that exist also
in poetry is a simultaneous phoneme in almost all the continents.
It could be said that authors poetic like Paul Celan is a general reference,
for me was an important discovery.
There is a movement that tend to language reflection, to poetic act, to
poetry and thinking relation, the word and the things.
I believe that all this self asking on ourselves going away from the world
and from the ego, have left the poetry free from explanatory and communication
responsibilities among people.
In Italy, after hermetic poetry, had a lot of importance all that comes
from experimental poetry –term that was born before with Pasolini
in the “Officina”(Workshop) magazine- with “I nuovissimi”
(The newest) and “Il gruppo del ‘63” (The 1963 group).
This group formed by among others Sanguinetti, Porta, Balestrino, comprehended
different subjects like art, aesthetic, music. Umberto Eco was one of
their critic, about art this group had relation with abstract, informal
and conceptual movements.
In the Seventies apart from experimentation with sonorous and visual poetry,
it started the upsetting towards daily and politic reality; poetry started
to merge more and more with colloquial words, different languages and
dialects, technical and scientific terms.
The risk is always the same, that this set free zone remains again suffocated
from an only intellectual creation, life and emotions put away from that
totality that, theoretically, should attend to recover and live.
In this century, I don’t know if for the internet massive use or
for the urgent necessity to show in public the personal sphere, there
is together with the multiplicity of poetical forms difficult to define
also an overproduction hard to digest. But all this intricate tangle shows
an unusual interest for poetry, even if in a chaotic manner, with different
quality and without relying on authorities and mass media recognition.
How was born your recent novel idea? Are you actually working on any
The idea of writing a narrative text is rather recent in me, in the past
it touched on me fleetingly twice, during a convalescence from a sickness,
it can be said that the third opportunity was the definitive one.
The creative process was fast and magic, it seemed that all was ready
to born, something mature and kept inside me for a long time without I
realized about it.
The book “Ritratto di un viaggio” (Portrait of a travel),
in reality is a short novel and with a lot of poetic prose. I didn’t
want to develop other matters that seemed temptress as the political-social
context of that period, or the secondary characters historical-psychological
I remained inside the main topic that is, behind the protagonist travel,
the responsibility that everyone of us has on our own destiny creation,
the night of our soul that all pass through in a certain moment and the
liberty to choose in the heart of our conscience. It’s a little
bit detached vision that allows to see some subtle motivations of things
and the destiny synchronic movements that, many times, the tendency to
accuse the others with what happens to us or the superficiality and the
fear prevented us from perceiving.
Let’s will see what will happen, until now is unpublished.
Actually the idea to incorporate a certain technology in my art is more
and more stronger.
It’s not that I accept that art intended in a traditional way is
dead or it doesn’t satisfy me, it’s rather the wish to add
other instruments with which I pass a lot of time.
Bur for the moment it should premature to speak about because there is
nothing concrete, only the construction and the updating of my website.
Painting, photos and texts, can be better complemented with video projections.
What is important is having things to say, how to do them sometimes is
revealed during their making, above all it’s important that is intense.
It can be discovered that we are able to arrive farther than we believed.
What counts for me in a period characterised by extremism renaissances
and confuse priorities is keeping an open confidence and, in the mean
time, a careful lucidity.
*Raúl Luis Calvo (1955) Poet, social psychologist and director
of Argentine Magazine “Generación abierta”.
Sica, art exhibition with poems reading,Villa Casati Stampa di Soncino,
by © Gladys Sica
rights reserved. Unauthorised copying, reproduction, printing and/or
circulation are prohibited without author’s authorization