It is not the title of a song but a cultured and palpable quote. Because that “Nostalgia for a golf, a very sweet blue wool sweater” that includes the 69 drawings, mostly unpublished, made by Paolo Conte from the seventies to today, exhibited until January 7 in the recently inaugurated rooms of graphic arts from the Uffizi Gallery. , they establish a direct contact, an emotional closeness, a fine red line with the clueless, lucid and astute style of the musician from Asti, a universal singer-songwriter but also, as we know, a charming “illustrator.” They are small colored surfaces and on a black bench like many 45 rpm decks of the past. Portraits, jazz musicians at work, metropolitan views with a Syrian flavor, trains, cars, carriages, flashes of movement like futuristic palettes, a world full of menthol cigarette smoke, tango fantasies and dazed milongas that have a lot of Fellini amazement. when not imbued with modernist and expressionist trajectories (Egon Schiele whispers his orgasms) represented through a wide variety of techniques, markers, pastels, watercolor. Paolo Conte’s dream book, visions that have often accompanied the release of his albums, sway to the rhythm of jazz, immersed in the sulfurous climate of the historical avant-garde, finds its exemplary representation in the multimedia work Razmataz, defined by the Conte himself. as a “sound storyboard”: composed of a collection of drawings, accompanied by music and dialogues, it narrates an encounter-clash between different cultures in a hallucinatory, chaotic and seductive Paris of the 1920s. And some of the more than 1,800 illustrations that make up Razmataz ended up on this occasion at the Uffizi, witnesses of a work no less exquisite than that for which Palo Conte is justly and universally famous.
«I have already had the opportunity to confess that the vice of painting and drawing is older in my life than that of music and songs – explains Conte with the usual irony – also confessing that musical composition dominates me in the form of excitement, while painting and drawing give me calm and lightness. After the exhibitions held on the occasion of the publication of Razmataz, I ceased my frequentation of the fine arts, also out of legitimate concern that the notoriety acquired as a singer might lead people to think that I wanted to take advantage of it to free myself to a different stage. Then, my works returned to my drawers, like the nostalgia of a very sweet blue wool sweater.” The director of the Uffizi, Eike Schmidt, echoes this: “Many artists were talented musicians and composers, and in the collection of self-portraits we see that some painters represented themselves with the instruments they played, and that they evidently constituted such an important complement to their personality that you have to present them together with your effigy. Now Paolo Conte’s exhibition wants to bear witness to the double artistic soul of the great musician and draw the public’s attention to this perhaps less known, but no less fundamental, aspect of his creativity.
On January 7, at the end of the exhibition, Paolo Conte will donate his “Self-Portrait of an Idiot” from 1978 to the museum, which will become part of the Gallery’s famous collection. «We are infinitely grateful to him for the gift – concludes Schmidt, curator of the exhibition together with Chiara Toti – which, in the self-flagellating strangeness of the title, reminds us of the supreme irony, the irreverent force of the titles and lyrics of his songs. ».