• Johanna Kandl
  • Matvey Levenstein
  • Manu Muniategiandikoetxea
  • Thomas Scheibitz
  • Nicola Verlato

curated by Luca Beatrice

September 18 - October 31, 2003

The exhibition brings together the work of four foreign artists, whose paintings are being shown for the first time in Italy, and an Italian artist. Seen together, these pieces reveal how the magmatic, contradictory and evolutive nature of painting today stands apart from its predecessors. A common thread linking these artists is their timely reconsideration of the assimilated linguistic codes inherent in painting belonging to bygone avant-garde moments and movements (abstraction, informal, surrealism, hyper-realism). Here, the citatory tendency, typical of the post-modern era has been dropped in favour of a new analytical-cum-essayist approach.

There is really no use in seeking the boundaries between figurative, and aniconic or abstract painting, the latter being widely accepted as an inadequate means of representing a contingent reality dominated by images and their seductive force. This new language has steadily been gaining momentum since the beginning of the 21st century by reviving both the most synthetic versions bound to the signary in abstractness which bear a rational-suprematist matrix, and those gestural happenings of the old informal style, prematurely liquidated as a retro form of painting owing to antonomasia, or its academic and superseded character. Nowadays, we can witness a different critical awareness at work, new choices make filtering through the use of images indispensable (sometimes implicit and sometimes disclosed). Otherwise we can see their fusion with architectural structures and visual frameworks which make up most evident meeting point with what is real. Added to this - and this is one of the principal innovations - is the focus on surrealism and hyper-realism. The first element is born aloft fairytale wings, suspended in time and space; it expresses itself through the introduction of a localist element, a sort of transversal genus loci which brings those areas that were previously considered peripheral back to the centre (painters from northern and eastern Europe, the Iberian peninsular, Latin America and the Mediterranean now share the stage with artists from Anglo-Saxon speaking countries, Germany and Italy).

What is even more important is the comeback of hyper-realism: the most short-lived of the avant-garde movements; labelled in the 70s as painting’s defiant last stand before its temporary eclipse. A revival in fiery, solitary and maniacal painting, when any artificial means can offer better results, means once again recognising the power of useless fascination peculiar only to painting.