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The last flag

 
The last flag
 
An ironic allegory of psychoanalysis and definitely a celebration of femininity. The artist told me that he wonted to provoke opposing reactions in the viewer, as he often does in his paintings. Psychoanalysis has certainly been the most important and widespread cultural phenomenon of the century. It cannot be argued that people talk about it without knowing what it means, and that the words psyche. Psychology – Psychological have become part of our daily vocabulary. For the ancient Greeks the word “psyche” meant “soul” more than “thought”, so the word “psychoanalysis” would mean “analysis of the soul”.
Many people were opposed to psychoanalysis from the beginning because it offered a provocative interpretation of our inner world, based mainly on sexual impulses; often it was misunderstood and has separated into different schools of thought which have at any rate been in some way inspired by the extraordinary work of Sigmund Freud, its founder.
 The artist depicts, at the center of the scene, a leafy tree (life?) which is growing from an organ, played hesitantly by an old man who is observing a strange musical score. In the old man, the artist wanted to represent Cesare Musatti, the most important figure of Italian psychoanalysis, but also simply a man who even if he has gone through life, hasn’t yet learned to play, and is still trying. A young female figure is pointing to the score and is encouraging him to go on, as if she were saying: “come on, don’t be afraid…” for Di Maio, she is “mother”. Still young and beautiful, like all the mothers in the world. Children get old, often without having learned, but mothers don’t. It is the woman, who is less afraid of love, who tries to teach the man something.
The old pianist is trying to read that music, with his red and sensuous lips which represent eroticism, because it is with eroticism that the tree of life produces its music. He is sitting on two large books ( on one of these the viewer can see the title: “Introduction to the study of psychoanalysis” ) and on the floor there is a pile of blank papers, perhaps what our science has left as an image of itself? Blank pages? On the side, a shabby-looking musician is playing a bass drum, trying to attract attention to something he doesn’t understand. In the background, the viewer has a glimpse of an idealized self-portrait of the Artist whit paintbrush in hand, part Dalì and part Captain Hook. But in this painting women are the protagonists. On the left, settled on a branch there is a figure who is perhaps “Pychoanalysis”, she is playing a trumpet, irreverent as is everything here, turned towards three mannequins in long red robes who are reading books with blank pages. They remind me of a congregation of American priests who wear similar robes. In America Freud was welcomed with great enthusiasm when he arrived there for the first time.
The journalist ran to him and it is said that he whispered to his companion: “see how happy they are? They don’t know that I’m bringing the plague!”
In the center, there is another woman who is burning up in the flames of masculine respectability. Perhaps she is the embodiment of everything sinful and dangerous that woman represent to the male culture, which burns her and desires her at the same time. She is purposely put at the base of the “tree” in the flames of “sin”.
At the bottom, in the foreground another woman, naked, is setting fire to a small wooden robot which represents technology, of which man is so proud; the robot is offering an empty plate to nothing. What good is technology if man doesn’t know how to live? What good is a culture that is a substitute for Joy and that removes one from the needs of the spirit?
At the top of the tree, hidden among the leaves, is a refined fragment of the pulpit of the Pisano of the Baptistery of Pisa.
Art, religion, power. All at the top. Almost hidden. But a piece of pink silk is fluttering in the air; it’s a woman’s slip.
Last flag, permanent, extreme, invincible symbol of attraction, in spite of every inhibition or prohibition.
This painting is an allegory, a book could be written about it. But there is a real character in it.
It is that uneasy-looking child in the middle of all the apparent confusion. The Master made him dress in those strange clothes and painted him while he is eating a pastry. He seems to be wandering: “what am I doing here…?” maybe he is us, we are growing, unwitting actors in the great play of life, and perhaps…one day…. We will understand it.