Ad Personam to Sergio Mario Illuminato, Professor Marco Bussagli


We are all students. Even those who are now professors, if they take their condition and role seriously, are students. One never stops learning, and one should never be satisfied with what little or how much one knows or thinks they know.
For this reason, I have allowed myself to entitle this reflection on the work of Sergio Mario Illuminato in this apparently provocative way. Technically, Sergio Mario Illuminato was one of my students, but my students are my teachers because I learn from them how best to convey what little I know. Not to teach, but to tell. Little or nothing can be taught, and Socrates explained this to everyone because to know something, anything, one must look within oneself and seek there what seems to be outside of us. If we do not find it there, we will never be able to learn it.
St. Augustine wrote it clearly in De vera religione: Noli foras ire, in teipsum redi, in interiore homine habitat Veritas (XXXIX). Thus, we learn from each other to look within ourselves.
Sergio Mario Illuminato, who does not seem to have a random surname (nomen omen, meaning “a name a destiny”), interpreted this maxim by turning it into a method of reading ourselves and reality, as well as an art movement because, by looking within ourselves, we cannot help but realize that we are fragile.
He started with his thesis, entitled Corpus et Vulnus, and then continued with exhibitions and various initiatives, always following in the footsteps of Duchamp, such as Vulnerar(t)e, which is a path never closed or to be closed because it corresponds to life.
The latest initiative, in chronological order, was at the former Pontifical Prison of Velletri – a place of over a thousand square meters built in 1861 by the Romani family but now abandoned – carried out by a group of students, painting and sculpture technicians from the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, as well as teachers, professionals in photography, cinema, dance, and music. The transdisciplinary project ‘iosonovulnerabile’ was born, which from its title has the double value of reference to the architectural complex and to all the operators who will remove it from oblivion by adding their fragility to it. Indeed, fragment, memory, synesthesia, the double exterior and interior territory, metamorphosis, and alchemy are the ingredients of Sergio Mario Illuminato’s art, who, like a modern Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, pauses at the edge of his own soul to transform the surrounding reality into the glowing material of his canvases.

Marco Bussagli, writer, art critic, and professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome