For my painting, India has been an inexhaustable source of artistic inspiration and a fundamental philisophic point of reference. In 1986, during a period in which I felt my pictoial research blocked, I traveled there for the first time. I had been experimenting with styles ranging from classical figuration to expressionism to neo-figuration and felt I was on a dead end road; that my visual narration, my story-telling, was becoming stereotypical. Nonetheless, despite my state of mind which was a mix of dissatisfaction and expectation, India welcomed and renewed me with its infinite variety of people, idioms, odors and colors.

My concept of color was transformed by the diverse spectrum of clothing worn by varied ethnic groups and also as revealed in the sub-tropical environment which moved around me with a kaleidoscopic rhythm, generating unusual color combinations distant from the ideas of harmony I had reached through my previous pictorial research.

Color and movement were everywhere, be it in the convulsive activity of a big city like Bombay or the frenetic and colorful motion of thewoman's saris,the men's turbans and the shawls of both or the small temples spread amidst the green countryside introducing swatches of red, pink, light blue and gold into the landscape or the particular green of the luxurious South Indian jungle abaze in the relentless equatorial sun, all producing shades and hues unknown to me. The splendid vision of the plains in Deccan, where the color of the earth is a bright red sometimes mixed with a green generated by small mirror-like puddles, accentuated by the patterns and shapes formed by saris drying on the river banks in the sun-told me that the moment of change had arrived - the moment to stop telling and start describing.

The translation of all this vibrancy into my paintings did not come at once; the first few months were intense with decision-making, redoing and retrying. Music gave me a huge support, particularly the chamber music of Brian Eno whose calm progressions (like watching the slow mutations of the clouds), mixed well with my need to fine tune my inner self. This was a solid base for my hard work, the work of animating and giving a visual form to my emotions. After a few years, I began to move closer to the indian musical experience by listening avidly to both popular and religious (Bhajan) indian music and taking my first steps in the self study of the harmonium. When I met Gianni Ricchizzi, a musician deeply committed to classical indian music, a big change occured: I began to study, under his tutelage, the sitar (indian lute), voice and the dilruba (a string instrument of north India).

The musical experience of a raga includes an improvisation of melody, which respects the basic rules of the classical rhythms inherent in the piece, and the rasa, the feeling which drives every individual note are the same expereinces which I impress upon my canvases. Through my aesthetic expressions the motives of my soul are transformed from sound to color and from rhythm to form.

Claudio Lasagni