“I found the colours of Celleno in a shop in Montefiascone. My father had taught me
about colours, he was a master painter. I learnt about the effects of colour and light.
Without light there is no colour. I use six colours, three of them are warm and three are
cold colours. I use two different yellows, and two different red and blue colours. Like an
alchemist one can mix them into substances of burning fire or a chilly cold, into space or
I was asked what colour Italy is. Look, the function of colour is spatial and colour represents
light. With this notion as a starting point there is a different colour experience everywhere. In
order to find out what colour Italy is one could watch the painters and notice that in Italy there
are a lot of frescoes in which the pigments make a direct connection with the chalk and
consequently have a special lighting effect. Dutch paintings are built up with oil. Of course
there is a difference in landscapes and skies. To me Italy offers such a large palette of colours.
Dutch and Italian paintings, each with their own materials, have the same value for me.
I have been on a work trip to Celleno twice. The first time was in the spring of 2014. After a
long drive from Almere, the Netherlands, I was especially glad I had found the place. It was
already dusk and seeing the wall of the monastery was reassuring. And the castle stood out,
with its exciting silhouette.
I was wondering if I’d be able to work well at CAM. At the beginning I wanted to understand
where I was. So I went to the butcher’s, had a coffee among the elderly gentlemen, bought my
cheese and groceries at the small supermarket and went to the local market. These first days I
had to get used to the spot I was at and to the house with its sounds as well as to the peace and
quiet and the grand landscape. Now, thinking back, what I think of first is the view from the
house when the sun is rising. Because of the view this spot became one of my favourite places
to sit in the morning, with the shepherd saying hello and smiling, without any further
conversation between us. The morning ritual of the sheep spreading like a big wool coat
across the undulating landscape in front of me until they were only little, moving dots.
I worked in and around the house a lot and went to the village. I also went to the neighbouring
villages of Banoregio with its Città che muore, Montecalvello, San Michele and Civitello
I installed my workplace and unpacked my stuff such as my drawing material, charcoal and
painter’s gear. I had actually intended to wait and see what I was to find in Italy. I found the
colours of Celleno in a shop in Montefiascone. They were Italian colours like siena, mouse
grey and opal yellow. I also found cobalt blue and transparent light magenta. I bought some
Fabriano paper, took notes, and made little sketches of a pretty blue and green lizard. Tiny
landscapes of paint, pencil, charcoal and chalk saw the light.
Monica Carello and Rosario Formicola of Aqua Rubra were very important people to me.
Together with Rosario I worked on a glass work of art. The two helped me a lot and I was
invited for a meal at their place. I tried to visit Rosario in Viterbo since I was working on an
object of glass art with him. I got lost near the Palazzo dei Papi in Quartiere di San Pellegrino.
My second stay was in the late summer of 2015. During my first week there my car had a
major breakdown. Both Rosario and the Dutch organization for traffic and tourism (ANWB)
helped me out well. The car was in the garage in Celleno, so I walked into the village and
home again, eating moist nuts and walking past all kinds of small wild gardens where people
were working in the morning. I got to know all the dogs there. Once the car was repaired I
drove to wonderful places with ancient walls and to antique gardens with monsters, and I
visited cathedrals. I drove to the Saturday market in Tuscania and along Lake Bolsena and
had an afternoon glass of wine in Montefiascone.
After meeting Leonardo da Vinci in the beautiful book in the library at CAM, I saw the
landscape and the light through his eyes.
I have seen and watched a lot. I saw churches, castles, museums and squares and have visited
the garden of monsters at Bomarzo. In Orvieto I searched for Etruscan traces in the landscape.
This is also where I saw the town with its impressive Duomo in Roman style with its beautiful
implementation of strict black and white stripes. It made me think of the artist Sol LeWitt
straight away. He has seen this with his own eyes. Since he had lived and worked in Italy for
some time I decided to look for his studio. I found it in Spoleto but unfortunately it was closed
In Italy I did get a lot of impressions and I did work at a steady pace, but even after my
second stay it was in my studio back home that all my impressions found a breeding ground.
Looking at my notes and sketches now, I notice how many landscape experiences there are
that I want to go on with. It was only in 2019 that I showed the first paintings and colourful
In the summer of 2020 I am joining Incontro. I want to put a series of notebooks and
sketchbooks in a showcase. I want to create a stilled wall ‘in situ’, with painted iridescent
circles. In them I want to place ceramic objects in colour and objects in bronze according to
dimensions of the Fibonacci Sequence. These dimensions will determine the work on the spot.
Translation Hans Kal