Rino Stefano Tagliafierro is a director, art director and video artist. From museums to the digital world, he explores the spectrum of our nature and emotions with depth, passion, and sensitivity. In 2014 Rino Stefano published BEAUTY, a short film that gives life to classical paintings and brings them into the 21st century.
This film, in particular, was one of my inspirations to create Mr.Bacchus. It made me realize that there was a way to share my passion for classical art, with a personal take on it, and that it was possible to connect art history with a diverse and large audience.
So, to get a proper start to 2020 and after 6 years, it felt appropriate to share his work with you. To do so, I got in touch with Rino Stefano who kindly accepted to answer a few questions.
Life and human emotions are very complex subjects. You explore them both in your film BEAUTY. Why did you choose to do so using Classical Art?
When I felt the need to create a shortfilm about strong human emotions and human life, it came naturally to use Classical Art paintings because they have always aroused strong vibes in me. With BEAUTY I wanted to pay tribute to my favourite artists and their masterpieces.
Many directors are inspired by art history to set the mood and inspire the photography of their films. Instead, you used the works themselves to tell a story. Was it a deliberate choice to kind of “go back to basics” or was it just an obvious choice for you?
The idea of “giving life” to a static image has always fascinated me. Before BEAUTY I had applied a similar approach with the video MY SUPER 8 . In that case, however, I used hundreds of animated photographs with a morphing technique. When I was a child, my parents took me to visit museums and I was so entranced in front of the paintings that I lost myself, imagining the characters moving on the canvas. In this sense, I believe that using the original works to tell a story was inevitable and effective for what I wanted to achieve. It was probably written in my destiny.
Museums are working intensively to attract a younger audience, especially by using social media. I believe that your work helps to do that as well. Is there an educational side to your work? Did you get any feedback from museums?
When I published BEAUTY for the first time in January 2014, I never thought it would be so successful. I have never had the pretention to educate someone else, because I am not a historian or an art critic, only a simple fan.
It is true that by spreading my works, many unknown pieces have been seen by millions of people. However, I believe that this is a simple and positive consequence of the online network, not a deliberate choice. Obviously I’m glad that it happened and that somehow, thanks to my work, some long forgotten masterpieces of art have been rediscovered. BEAUTY brought me the attention and compliments of many museums, and I had the opportunity to collaborate with some of them. For example, recently for the bicentenary of the Prado in Madrid, I created the work Belleza y locura and I had the honor of getting close to the incredible masterpieces of the collection, such as Goya‘s The Naked Maya or Las Meninas by Velazquez.
Do you think that Classical Art is still relevant for today’s society? if yes or no, how?
Personally, I believe that all art is always relevant for each historical period. However, I am convinced that Classical Art manages to dialogue very well with the contemporary world because it brings up unanswered questions that are more relevant now than than ever before. Also, it focuses on a concept of beauty that is never trivial but shows a sublime and sometimes violent beauty which shakes the mind without needing explanation.
What advice would you give to a reader who thinks that he/she doesn’t have the “codes” to understand a classical painting?
Compared to Contemporary Art, Classical Art is probably easier to interpret, let’s say with a less complex message … Of course, it is certainly littered with codes, but it is not necessary to know them all to admire the beauty of the works. Just open your eyes well, free your mind and get carried away by the emotions they transmit.
Could you tell us what you have going on for 2020? Exhibitions, projects…
I am currently working on a video on Japanese art. I will animate the Ukiyo-e prints creating a story that, from the narrative point of view, will be more complex than BEAUTY. This is a project that I have been working on for some time and that I will finish by the end of 2020. With my company, Karmachina, I am dealing with the creation and design of some immersive environments – mainly designed for museums – where the visitor will find himself at the center of a multimedia installation, completely surrounded by images and sounds.
Last but not least, on Mr.Bacchus I like to ask my audience what they like in music, movies, contemporary or classical art etc… Could you please share with us some of your inspirations?
Among the Classical Artists, I particularly love Caravaggio and William-Adolphe Bouguereau. Among the Contemporary ones, Chris Cunningham, Matthew Barney and Nagi Noda.
David Lynch, Federico Fellini, Shin’ya Tsukamoto, Gaspar Noé and Xavier Dolan are my favorite directors, while among the musicians I like Radiohead, James Blake, Caterina Barbieri and FKA Twigs.
In photography, Gregory Crewdson, Antoine D’Agata, Anthony Goicolea and Luigi Ghirri, in short, I like to seek inspiration in everything that surrounds me, in all the art forms that I can see, feel and breathe.