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Anna Madia: Complex Experiences!


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  1. Sleep and coma are key elements of the new series entitled “Sleepwalking.” Could you tell us about your 2014 body of work and how it progressed over time?

“Sleepwalking” was my solo show in France at the Art Center, Camac. This exhibition was an opportunity for me to present new directions in the way I envision the portrait.

Some complex experiences in my personal life prior to 2014 changed my approach to painting. “Sleepwalking” started as an homage to the women of my family as well as the south of Italy where I had spent part of my childhood. But it’s actually much more than that. It is an homage to all women.

Sleepwalking was my solo show in France at the Art Center, Camac. This exhibition was an opportunity for me to present new directions in the way I envision the portrait. Share on X


  1. Do you believe in figurative art? What is your view on figurative and abstract art?

I am currently a figurative painter, but if one is lucky enough, life can be long. We’ll see what happens! Someone said to me that in the distant future I will paint only red lines!

For me the most important thing is to have something to say with my art.


  1. “Today this tradition is for me a rite of love and liberation from the symbolic stigmata of sleepless nights, nightmares and infirmity. The bed once again becomes the crib in which a new cycle starts.” Could explain that to us? What is your source of inspiration?

Childhood memories, intuition, and a deep melancholy are always a deep part of my work.

I want to share this poem, “Elsa at the Mirror” by Louis Aragon:

It was in the middle of our tragedy

And all the day long sitting at her glass

She combed her bright gold hair. To me it was

As though her calm hands quieted a blaze.

It was in the middle of our tragic days.

And all day long sitting before her glass

She combed her bright gold hair as one who plays

In the very middle of our tragedy

A golden harp without belief, to pass

The long hours, sitting all day at her glass.

She combed her bright gold hair and it seemed to be

Martyrizing at will her memory

All the long day while sitting at her glass,

Reviving still the spent flowers of the blaze,

Not speaking as would another in her place.

She martyrized at will her memory

It was in the middle of our tragic days

Her dark glass was the world’s facsimile

Her comb, parting at the fires of that silken mass,

Lit up the corners of my memory.

In the very middle of our tragic days

As Thursday is in the middle of the week.


  1. Is art an imitation of reality for you?

I love what Paul Klee says:  “Art does not reflect what is seen, rather it makes the hidden visible.”


  1. Why does art matter?

Art is education. Art can change people’s lives and can open doors to create new ways to see life. Sometimes I work in schools with both children and adults, and artistic experience can really help with personal growth. When I meet students in the street there is always a big smile and the same questions of “When can you come again?” or “I want learn more!” My colleagues in painting, theatre, music and other creative avenues all feel the same. I believe art is the real backbone of humanity.


  1. A frequent topic of philosophical discussion is whether beauty and other aesthetic values are objective or subjective. What is your opinion on this?

Hard question! An old Italian proverb says: “Non è bello cio’ che è bello ma è bello cio’ che piace.” It’s the same meaning as David Hume’s words: “Beauty in things exists merely in the mind which contemplates them.” But it is so complex!


  1. What drives you to paint and how often do you paint?

I try to paint or draw every day. I need to because it is my form of meditation, my secret freedom. My studio is a sanctuary, a cocoon where I shelter myself from the outside.


  1. Seneca said: “It is not because things are difficult that we don’t dare to do them; our lack of daring makes them difficult.” What’s your view on that?

I prefer a more dangerous approach.


  1. Why portrait?

The first portrait I ever did was one of my little sister when I was 7 years old. I still remember that moment, the bedroom and this little baby sleeping in the crib. She had her hand near her face. It was a sort of a revelation. Since that moment, I have never stopped drawing portraits. I’m interested in the mystery of people.

I have tried to paint landscapes, but I think the problem is that I don’t know nature very well. And that’s good because I have a new direction for the future!


  1. What is your favorite piece of art, quote?

There are too many to choose! Actually the paintings of Antonio Mancini, Vrubel, Anselm Kiefer, the sculptures of Medardo Rosso, Kiki Smith and Camille Claudel, the theatre of Emma Dante…I could go on and on! So much is inspiring!