To postpone a monograph for a year is not unusual, but to decide after twenty-eight years, upon meeting Ezio Gribaudo, to print the same volume announced in the 1971 catalog of the Edizioni d’Arte Fratelli Pozzo is more than unusual.
I started to paint when I was seventeen. At the time I was perhaps trying to express something for which my shyness could find no words.
I think I have searched for myself in other people’s faces: it was a way of speaking. And in the meantime painting spoke to me, gave me form.
And when I felt more secure with my canvases, colors and brushes, inanimate matter also took on a face of its own: surfaces of water, mountains, boats, sails.
And something that surprised me happened: the voice (theirs or mine?) was in the colors, and form mattered less and less- a white that made me feel free and a red that made me feel strong.
I started exhibiting my paintings in 1963, when I was 22. In 1971, Giulio Carlo Argan and I decided to prepare a monograph for future exhibits we were planning.
As I was choosing slides from Ugo Mulas’ collection, I realized that I wanted to go back and add heads and human bodies to my abstract paintings, so that I could combine the abstract with the figurative.
I talked to the gallery owner I had a contract with about my intention; he told me that I had to continue with abstract paintings, only adding some variations, because that was what the market expected. I paid the penalty and ripped up the contract; from that day on, I abandoned exhibits and abstract painting. In fact, I could no longer exhibit. Abstract painting would dominate for a long time and there was no room for a young artist fighting the art market.
When I told Argan to stop his work, he was very understanding and we remained good friends.
Mulas gave me the slides in exchange for a painting and said: “One day you will exhibit again, because we all believe in you and your paintings”.
Alan Solomon sent me a telegram extending praise and affection.
Finally, I could go back to painting nudes and heads, without compromising with the stereotypes they wanted to impose on me. I had started abstract painting because I loved colors, but my experience as a painter could not become a routine, for art is constant progress by definition.
Since 1968, I had been publishing books of both poetry and prose with Vanni Scheiwiller. Writing seemed to be the perfect refuge from the “bluff” I had avoided because of my rebellious nature

Annalisa Cima