Twelve years have passed since I had the pleasure and the honour of meeting the Milanese master Maurizio Brambilla: thanks to his guidance and advice, I took my first steps in the field of art criticism even before I obtained my Master’s degree in Art History and Art Criticism at the Università Statale di Milano. I owe my first presentations at solo and group exhibitions, my first contemporary art criticism, and the drafting of my first art catalogues to Maurizio Brambilla, who in twelve years made me breathe quality art, and who brought me up and accompanied me in a competitive and difficult-to-manage world. The years have gone by for me and they have also gone by for the Master, who has completely revolutionised the colour scheme of his artistic poetics without betraying his personal Magic Realism: in his new artistic production, the observer begins a journey between reality and oneiric vision towards a completely transcendental world. The Milanese artist is already present in private collections in Italy, Switzerland, France and Germany, and is now ready for the Dutch market: his works are in fact hosted at the neo Manzoni Kunst Galerie in Oosterwolde and take part in the Contemporary Italian Art in Holland project.
But let us finally get to know Maurizio Brambilla:
We have known each other for many years, but it is only recently that you have completely changed both your colour palette, from intense and bright colours to a more spiritual monochrome, and your painting technique, from oil to enamelled acrylic: what is this radical change due to? Tell us.
After years of painting, I brought with me the magic of continuous discovery. If my previous expressive language was able to reach everyone through comprehensible figuration, in this latest production of paintings I have deepened my reflections and am constantly trying to communicate emotions/reasoning pictorially to the viewer. At first it all seems like a game, but if we pause and look closely at these simple images of mine, the emotions find their way out of our prison, and they do so carry a baggage of symbols: such as the infinite “alpha and omega”, the double paradise, nature, artifice and rebirth, etc. There is a continuity of subjects/objects, and they can be seen in the pictures. There is a continuity of subjects/objects, but I have removed many colours in the name of experimentation and for stylistic growth, in terms of refinement. In recent years, I have faced a consistent loss of colouristic truth: the new canvases are in fact almost monochrome and play even more on an introspective and poetic aspect.
Your works are symbolic and metaphorical. What is the profound message you want to convey with such surreal and metaphysical works? Aren’t you afraid that today’s audience will not fully understand your intention?
Narrative is the foundation of communication, identity, and memory: contemporary life is the result of the loss of narrative. Painting offers us the possibility to start again, to start from a starting point, from an image, from a horizon line or a vanishing point, from a colour, from a new arrangement of everyday forms. To start again by accepting to think, to fantasise, to establish connections. In the apparent simplicity of my compositions and labyrinths, the key word is ‘emotion’.
Your canvases are studied down to the smallest detail and have subtle historical and artistic references that are very current and contemporary. How do you choose the most suitable symbology to include?
The image is the resource that allows us to leave the limits of reality, to exploit a cue, a light to reach another horizon, to expand into another space. A cue becomes in my paintings the narration, of metaphors of life in general. The key word is visionarity. My subjects emerge from the shapes and colours of an everyday reality. Once freed from everyday use and purified, they are reborn in another reality, parallel to reality itself, taking on a different meaning. My research is governed by the inner gaze. A defined or undefined space from which my images emanate, made with everyday objects (boxes, jars, parallelepipeds, cones, labyrinths, spheres, papers) that give off their own light, immersed in a Po Valley fog that envelops the composition of the painting. My ideas are born from everyday reality, and I am interested in tone-on-tone shapes and colours only when they evoke something completely different within me or are illuminated by a new light, diffused in creating an emotion from my own experience and history.
I would like to ask you a philosophical question that I believe can explain all your poetics based on Magic Realism: what does Harmony mean to you?
In these last few years of work, I have cleaned myself of the conventional colours of things and figures to make light/shadows more important and to render an almost suspended representation of silence, a distant settlement of thought, being there when everything seems to have already passed, when the noise of the world no longer reaches us, and a barely audible breath is the usual precious good that resists. This is how I like to see in these latest works the encounter with a fragment of the world that is organised before our eyes. Because the idea, the concept I want to express is to give life and vitality to these pictorial representations of mine. Vitality is not a physical or organic attribute; it is the inner spiritual life: painting is not the place of nothingness but the manifestation of existence.
Let’s talk about the future and projects. How is the Group of 6 – Eoykos, which I had the opportunity to present years ago in Milan, progressing? Are there any new dates to mark in your diary?
The Group of 6 Eoykos is at a standstill for the reasons we all know. The last exhibition of the group took place in Annely Haute Savoie France (stand n° 74). We hope to start again when everything is almost back to normal. In the meantime, I sold in 2019/20 n° 2 paintings at the Ambrosiana Arte Auction House in Milan with much satisfaction. As for my solo exhibitions, I will try to organise them by the end of the year: perhaps Prague, Milan, and Mantua. At the end of 2021, my fourth monograph will be published with great satisfaction because it will include the last three years of my new way of painting: the title of the monograph will be “Labyrinths and Compositions of the Soul”.
I sincerely thank Maestro Maurizio Brambilla for his collaboration and attention in answering questions. I would like to remind readers that they are always welcome at the Manzoni Kunst Galerie in Oosterwolde and can view the Maestro’s works online at www.criticoarte.org/galleria-gallery/maurizio-brambilla/. Works of great historical and pictorial value, of high executive quality, at prices truly within everyone’s reach.