Il Filo Di Scarpulla – Light & Paintings | Valerie Traan Gallery

Tramonti Lighting | For Valerie_Objects - By Maria Scarpulla
Sam Scarpulla
Russell Scarpulla
Russell Scarpulla


Il Filo Di Scarpulla

‘A common thread through the inexhaustible artistic source, the Scarpulla family.’


A family in which, like a common thread, the love for colour and shape runs through the veins and the metaphor of the kite forms the common figurehead. Russell Scarpulla, father of Maria Scarpulla and Sam Scarpulla, turned the kite into the family emblem, bright red on a contrasting blue sky. The symbol later returns in his work as well as in the logos of his children. Two kite-flyers who prefer to work undisturbed. A trait of their father. Russell, born in 1947 in New York City, lives and works in the Italian village of Bolsena. Maria (1987, Ghent) and Sam (1985, Ghent) spent their childhood in Italy and now each have their own artistic practice in Ghent.

Maria Scarpulla is the name by which Maria and partner Jori Hernalsteen (1987) shape and produce design pieces in their studio in Ghent. The process is a search for colour and material in which a timeless simplicity is found. Starting with form studies on paper, they arrived at a series of wall lights. In the exhibition IL FILO DI SCARPULLA this new collection of lamps TRAMONTI (Sunset) is shown for the first time. Tramonti by Maria Scarpulla, is produced by valerie-objects and comes in 5 shapes and 6 colours. The lamps can be placed on the wall in a modular and composite way. Changeability appears to be a constant. In less recent work, the coloured top of their table designs could be turned around according to one’s mood. The Tramonti lamps follow this game by being free in their movement. The wall becomes a canvas where the direction of the design and the composition of the lamps can be chosen, making infinite combinations seem possible. Like the crimson kite, they can go in any direction.

In the adjoining studio, Sam Scarpulla works on an oeuvre that is not limited by material. Drawing, painting and sculpture take shape there. He started out as a storyteller, but now aesthetics and technique are accorded a more prominent place. Experiments with collage techniques and relief in paint are reminiscent of Russell’s work from the 80s and 90s. Besides his studio in Ghent, Sam spends part of the year with his father in Bolsena to create new work. The Italian landscape already entered Russell’s canvas and provides a new influence in the paintings of Sam. The narrative figurative gives way to abstraction where, just as in Maria’s designs, form and colour take central stage.

Growing up with stories from their father’s New York ‘rock & roll’ life has meant that Maria and Sam now both seek balance. The focus on their work and the warm calmness that pervades their personalities as well as their work is a counter-reaction to the turbulent life that Russell led. Life in America and the position as studio assistant to Willem de Kooning and Alfonso Ossorio had a great influence on his work. His paintings originate in a different time, a different context. The works contain a tactility that, together with his life story, begins to speak to the viewer’s imagination. With time, pieces of the puzzle are put in place that help to situate his life’s work. With several exhibitions at Richard Foncke Gallery, among others, in the early 1980s, he placed himself alongside names such as Raoul De Keyser, Philippe Vandenberg and Willy De Sauter. Astonishment becomes admiration for Maria and Sam when it comes to Russell’s oeuvre. An inexhaustible oeuvre that likes to experiment and dares to play with words, relief and direction. An inspiring DNA that continues in Maria and Sam’s work. From an early age, Maria and Sam were working together in the studio of their father. Sam with the pencil and Maria with the brush in her hands. The memory of their childhood and the work of their father will continue to inspire them to pursue their work in a fiery way. Similarly, the imagined thread of the Scarpulla’s kite continues to speak in their designs. It creeps into details like the electrical cords of the Tramonti lamps.

Even though Sam and Maria’s studios – like their homes – are next door to each other, they work independently. They seek inspiration from the same genes, which is reflected in their autonomous work. Thus, despite their individuality, they can be shown side by side in logic. Playing with colour and form is unconsciously repeated. The ‘il filo’ in the Scarpulla family’s artistic work becomes tangible in the exhibition.


_ Il Filo di Scarpulla

Light & paintings

Russell Scarpulla, Maria Scarpulla, Sam Scarpulla


Opening weekend

12.02 from 2 till 9 pm

13.02 from 2 till 6 pm

Until 12.03.2022




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