Pierflavio Gallina, «living the vine is my fundamental color»
«Every day is a timeless miracle, under the sun».
There is no better verse than Cesare Pavese to capture, in a single stroke, the art of Pierflavio Gallina, a painter born in Santo Stefano Belbo, raised in Turin and now living in La Morra, where his atelier is also a guest house for those who want to stay in one of the most suggestive areas of the Langhe. «All my art is a tribute to life», Gallina says, «to the landscape of the Langhe, to the beauty that can - must - be preserved. It is a "thank you" to this miraculous land in which I have always lived, which holds my happiest memories: the sun on the vine trees, the snow between the rows, the moon that shines over the hills ».
Born in 1948, Gallina made the vineyards of the Langa the dominant motif of his painting, the memory of an amazement that the painter has the duty to save and deliver to posterity in an attempt to explain "the violent and passionate love" with the land of Pavese and Fenoglio. The verses of which often appear as the caption of his paintings, poetic inspirations that become pictorial poetry, images that visualize the delicate abstractness of a word.
As a true lover of his land, Pierflavio Gallina has become ambassador of the Langhe in the world. His works were purchased by the GAM of Turin, they reached New York and were protagonists in Napa Valley, welcomed by the producer Robert Mondavi in his Californian winery.
Pierflavio Gallina, why have the Langhe become your main subject?
I was born in Santo Stefano Belbo, after the war. My grandparents had a farmhouse in San Grato and eleven children to feed. Those were hard times. After 10 years of hail, my father decided to emigrate to Turin to look for work. That's where I grew up. But I always spent the summer months in Santo Stefano Belbo, at my uncles' house. I remember those moments as the happiest of my life. The oxen, the wheat, the horse, the life in the fields: I felt great, I could take the bicycle "like a man" and go shopping in the village. And there were the vineyards all around. We spent all day in the vineyards working together: a symbiosis with nature that I have never experienced so authentically. It was at that time that I fell in love with the vineyard landscape of the Langhe, which has never abandoned me and has always been a source of inspiration.
When did you decide to become a painter?
I remember that in Turin, in 1965, I visited the Civic Gallery of Modern Art. There was an exhibition with works by Graham Sutherland. It was a shock. The metamorphoses of the landscapes and Sutherland's symbols, in particular, made me understand that I wanted to be a painter, I wanted to express myself through art.
Since its inception, the vine already appears as the central subject of the paintings.
In my early works, more abstract and symbolic than today's landscapes, the vine undergoes a transfiguration. Become a living subject, a person, an icon of our lives that climb and change over time and space. Living the vine, on the other hand, is a condition that I have always experienced with a certain enthusiasm, as a child and still today, when I wake up in the vineyards of La Morra. In the image of the vine, luxuriant but a little tormented, there is all the effort and wonder of our territory.
One of the themes of Duchess Lia's communication this year is linked to the colors of Asti, Roero and Monferrato, the Langhe. If you had to choose one, which one would you suggest?
The colors of our hills are primary colors. The dark blue of a night sky, the red of the burning sun, the yellow of the moon shining on the snowy hills. They are colors in strong contrast, which I also represent with the engraving technique, black and white geometries. Every so often, however, these violent and pure colors fade into the fog and mist, become mysterious and veiled. I like this contrast, a primary color is enough to make a painting. As in the verses of Pavese: "Who knows what the furrow of the moon lightens with its sweet light, in the remote woods"; or: "Where you are, light, it is morning". A single image, a strong and vivid inspiration, a single color are enough to create in me the desire to paint a landscape.