Maglie (LE), 1971
“Nomen Omen”, the Latins used to say: in the name of a person is enclosed their destiny. This is the case of the Salento artist Daniele Papuli because of the singular assonance of his name with the Spanish ”papel” which means “paper” and with the French “papier”. The artist comes to the manipulation of paper making it the fulcrum and the means of his expressive language after an approach to sculpture with a series of early artifacts in stone, wood, plaster.
A research path marked by the continue evolution from gravity to the lightness of form, from the solidity of the classical materials of sculpture to others of greater ductility and lightness. In 1993 in Berlin, during an international workshop, he learns the methods of making paper sheets. Since 1995 Papuli has picked paper as his material of choice: from blank sheets to printed pages of old books, telephone directories, typographical waste, scraps, cuttings, shapes that the artist assembles, cuts, thins, digs.
In his experiments, paper is transformed from cellulose mixed with soild, herbs and colors, almost impalpable, to layered matter. Stimulated mostly by the accumulation and juxtaposition of reams in strips and cuttings, the artist transforms paper into a malleable plastic material. The sheet of paper becomes a unit of measurement of complex architectures, for volumes that open and disclose, animated by an internal dynamism.
“Sculpture is my still open investigation in and around paper”, Papuli affirms. In ’97 the first sculpture Sibille, Soprani and Volumerie: they are lamellar compositions based on the repetitiveness of single modules obtained with manual cuts.
The innate weakness of paper is put to the test by the creative process of the artist who, with the manual skill of the sculptor, knows how to extrapolate the form by juxtaposing hundreds and often thousands of modules. The paper monoliths are now precious organisms with natural and delicate shapes, surreal, endowed with an unusual vitality that trap the iridescent chromatic nuances of light and shadow.
In the same way, other materials, investigated for their expressive potential, undergo this process of reduction into slender and multiple units. Strips of wood, vinyl sheets, polypropylene straps, frayed polyester ribbons are juxtaposed, overlapped, interwoven, sewn, in a continuous process of transformation, which leads Papuli to continuous encroachments in different areas: from architecture to fashion, from furniture to stage sets for exhibitions, fairs and international exhibitions.
A continuous dialogue with space, places and materials. The installations become open spatial constructions. Paper is transformed into vibrant, changeable matter and is brought back to the origin of an archetypal form. The forms become fluid in modular structures composed of thousands of strips that stretch out on the floor sliding from one room to another as in the exhibition Metamorphosis in the Palazzo Ducale in Martina Franca (TA) in 2014, or as magmatic infiltrations that cling to the walls, vertically, on the four floors of the building, as in the project The Blue Ribbon for House of Peroni in London in 2014. In the same way, meters of polyester webbing are manipulated and frayed by hand, reduced to a thread, brought back to the origin of their own composition and descend either in volutes immersed in light, as in the installation Mise en mpise realized for Dilmos in Milan in 2013 on the occasion of the FuoriSalone, or suspended as voluminous circular tapestries that dance in space as in Poil Pois Appeal at the Flux Laboratory in Geneva in 2011. At other times the artist prefers to draw the space with small segments of bamboo building impalpable grids as in the installation Uff, for the opening of MUBA, the Museum of the Child in Milan, in 2012, at the Rotonda della Besana.
Recently, important personal exhibitions have been dedicated to him: VIS-à-VIS. Carte sculture, curated by Luciano Caramel, at the Fondazione Calderara di Vacciago di Ameno (Novara) in 2010, Les géants de papier. Projections de la matiére at the Flux Laboratory in Geneva in 2011. In the same year, Scultografie, installazioni e sculture at Castello Aragonese in Ischia and Metamorphosis. Sculptures and paper installations at the Palazzo Ducale in Martina Franca (TA) in 2014.
On the occasion of the 2016 edition of the Salone del Mobile, the artist was invited, for the experimental project DoppiaFrirma, to create an exclusive collector’s piece, in collaboration with the famous Milanese architect and designer Michele de Lucchi, which was exhibited, from April 12 to 17, one of the most prestigious institutions of the Lombard capital: the Biblioteca Ambrosiana.