Ask the artist: Luca Azzurro

For the few months I have had the pleasure of having at the Manzoni Kunst Galerie in Oosterwolde the paintings of a very young Italian artist, Luca Azzurro (class of ’88), an architect and advertising graphic designer from Lombardy, whom I had been keeping a close eye on for some time for his artistic poetics full of expressionism and symbolism. Luca Azzurro is constantly evolving in his experiments (thanks to his young age), and the cycle in the gallery and the works presented here in the interview show why his art is starting to attract more and more international collectors (to date, his works are in Italian, Canadian and Russian collections). His poetics is based on an expressionistic and unnatural colour that recalls the style of the Fauves, Pollock and Sam Francis: this colour, a hymn to life, gives prominence to the light poles, a symbol of contemporaneity, technological innovation and speed, without which man would not be where he is at the moment.

But let us now give the artist the woords:

You are a very young artist: what do you want to communicate with your artistic poetics?

Painting has always been the medium for me to express my feelings, both positive and negative.

Painting for me has entered a parallel world, my favourite world of course, where I feel comfortable and free to express my feelings as I wish.

Over the years my message has literally changed.

Today I feel the need to represent, to give value to what people take for granted.

What is colour for you? How does it fit into your pictorial idea?

Colour for me is life. You can convey everything, all kinds of feelings, situations, emotions.

We can also create nuances and that makes colour even more important and characteristic for what I want to convey.

Why the choice of light poles as the real protagonists of this pictorial cycle that I have the pleasure of having in the gallery?

I wanted to highlight something that people do not see, but not because they are invisible, on the contrary, they are all too visible due to their majesty.

If we think about their function, they have given meaning to human life and its evolution. Thanks to electricity, man has been able to achieve great things today.

We are surrounded by these structures but we don’t give them importance, as is often the case in this society that tends to overshadow you, to undervalue people and things that are actually the focus of our lives.

Would you explain to the Dutch public why you use wallpaper in such a special way with those writings? What does it give you more than just canvas?

I wanted to create a background that could remind us, everything that can pass through these structures, winds, rain, birds… something that could remind us of movement.

Hence the choice of continuous cursive writing.

You are so young and have a thousand other ideas in your head: can you give us a preview?

Painters are unpredictable sometimes, so I hope to surprise you soon.

I would like to thank Luca Azzurro from the bottom of my heart for taking the time. If you would like to learn more about his poetics, I recommend you follow him on his social pages (Facebook and Instagram) or on his personal website. In the meantime, you are invited to the Manzoni Kunst Galerie in Oosterwolde and to his Facebook and Instagram channels.

Ask the artist: Laura Zani

We have finally left the great heat behind us (at least here in Holland) and can concentrate on new projects, new collaborations, new exhibitions, and the return of the column Ask the Artist (I have to say that I had missed it and I am happy to present it to you again) on the occasion of the inclusion of two new artists in the project Contemporary Italian Art in the Netherlands. Today I would like to officially introduce you to the Brescian painter Laura Zani, who has been at the Manzoni Kunst Galerie in Oosterwolde since April 2022 for the portrait exhibition Het portreit van de ziel. Known through a mutual friendship in Milan (you can always find the best at Milonga Cornici in the centre of Milan), Laura’s poetics immediately captured me and made me fall in love with her sweetness and elegance in combining the child-animal-vegetal world with a profoundly surreal and symbolic world thanks to the use of delicate inks with large backgrounds. Laura Zani’s works give inner calmness and serenity and, precisely for this reason, they are so appreciated and sought after by American, Egyptian, Italian, Belgian, German, Chinese and Dutch collectors. But I do not want to linger any longer and would like to pass the word to the artist.

Tell us about yourself: when did Laura Zani start feeling like an artist?

I have a very romantic idea of the artist, whom I imagine as an individual totally possessed by a personal vision of reality and unfailingly original both in artistic production and in life. If I compare myself to this idealised figure, I cannot feel like an artist: my life is ordinary and my thoughts contemplate every aspect of everyday life. There are moments, however, when I am able to extricate myself from reality: when I am searching for ideas, when I am enraptured by a particular situation or exhilarated by a success, very intense moments when I am creating my work. In those hours my perception of myself changes and I can perceive myself as an artist.  But since my romantic vision usually prevails, I prefer to call myself a painter.

What does the artist in you long for? Have you already realised it?

The artist within me wishes to communicate positive emotions to the viewer. But not only that: he seeks comfort and joy in the gestures that create the work, in the flow of ideas that generate it.

I don’t deny that I think about getting more and more feedback and appreciation from the public and critics, but they are certainly not my priorities.

I think I get my wish every time I see joy and serene curiosity in the eyes of the viewer, or when I hear or read words of gratitude for the positive emotions aroused by my work.

What do you draw the most inspiration from? Why?

I draw inspiration from the things I love: captivating faces and expressions that make one imagine latent emotions; the beauty, unparalleled, of the creations of nature – both of the plant and animal world; works of art by masters of painting and illustration.

And all this because I feel that they belong to my imagination and my inner well-being rests on them.

Would you tell the readers about your painting technique: from the original work to the elaboration that becomes a new original?

The genesis of my artistic production follows two different paths: one is generated entirely from imagination without relying on real images – this is specifically illustration work: having found the idea for the panel, I make numerous sketches and colour proofs to arrive at the final work.

The other is influenced by photographic images. In these cases, I use photographs to reproduce the shapes and light contrasts while I tend to invent the context and change colours in order to use my personal palette.

Why the decision to create fine art prints? Do you have other projects to bring you even closer to the public?

I decided to produce fine art prints of my works to make my work more accessible to a wide audience. By printing files obtained by scanning or photographing the original works, I can create high quality copies of various sizes, even different from the originals, at inexpensive prices.

I think that in order to approach the public, visibility is indispensable, which, at the moment, I seek through social media – Facebook and Instagram – and the support of art galleries. I am planning, and this is a scoop, to open a studio with windows in the historic centre of Brescia, my city, soon.

I would really like to thank Laura Zani from the bottom of my heart for her infinite availability. From such a wonderful person as she is, nothing but wonderful art can but spring forth.

To follow the artist, I offer you her Instagram profile and her website, as well as inviting you in person to the Manzoni Kunst Galerie in Oosterwolde and to her Facebook and Elisa Manzoni (@manzoni.kunstgalerie) • Foto e video di Instagram pages.

Il ritratto dell’anima

“L’animazione della tela è uno dei più difficili problemi della pittura.”

(Alfred Sisley)

L’evoluzione del ritratto nella storia dell’arte può essere equiparata all’evoluzione della riproduzione dell’immagine dall’età infantile all’età adulta. L’impulso al ritratto è una necessità spontanea e primordiale: partendo da un ritratto intenzionale si arriva, grazie alla crescita personale dell’artista, al ritratto fisiognomico che oltre ad avere tratti somatici concreti analizza anche il carattere psicologico, la spiritualità e il giudizio morale del soggetto. Anche se anticamente è stato considerato un genere inferiore alla scena storica, per alcuni storici il ritratto è il genere artistico più antico e diffuso che segue tangibilmente lo sviluppo della cultura della società: sono davvero rare le epoche storiche e le civiltà in cui il ritratto non viene preso in considerazione.

La mostra Het portreit van de ziel vuole così documentare la situazione contemporanea di questo genere che ha sempre avuto grande fascino. I sei artisti presenti hanno raggiunto l’obiettivo che si prefiggeva Alfred Sisley (1839-1899): sono giunti a uno stadio evolutivo in cui riescono ad animare il soggetto dell’opera, ossia, infondono anima e spirito alla materia aggiungendo il loro personale tocco artistico-creativo. Andiamo a conoscerli meglio.

L’artista milanese Susanna Maccari dal 2015 si sta concentrando nell’analisi della figura femminile ad acquarello: i suoi tocchi vitali ed acquosi sono eleganti e delicati, e mostrano la forza interiore, la bellezza, l’intelligenza della donna con toni pastello di un’estrema raffinatezza.

Con una tecnica estremamente diversa, anche l’artista foggiano Leonardo Vecchiarino indaga la Bellezza della donna contemporanea: affascinanti ninfe moderne dal sapore Preraffaelitico (XIX secolo), dipinte ad olio con colori pallidi e freddi, sono inserite in contesti simbolici completamente surreali realizzati a collage che mostrano frammenti di quotidianità.

Un altro esponente importante per la ritrattistica lombarda contemporanea è certamente l’artista Giorgio Riva che, con le sue opere su legno, stimola ad interpretare la figura femminile in una versione onirica, simbolica e trascendentale che ricorda l’Art Nouveau (1890-1910): gli spazi sono sospesi nel tempo e trasmettono calma e armonia grazie al colore e agli occhielli grafici che creano l’immagine.

Anche la giovane artista bresciana Laura Zani, new entry del progetto Arte italiana contemporanea in Olanda sostenuto dalla Manzoni Kunst Galerie, è ormai conosciuta ai collezionisti per le sue opere ad inchiostro e per le stampe fine art che hanno per soggetto i ritratti di bambini. Grazie ai giochi di luce e alla trasparenza del media usato, l’artista crea un universo puro in un cui la grazia è naturale e, come dice lei stessa “dove si può ancora sperare che tutto sia possibile e dove capita di incontrare le sirene”.

Unica ritrattista olandese in mostra è Marieke Samuels dal Brabante che, grazie alla sua poetica artistica fa fuoriuscire dalla tela astratta il soggetto femminile ritratto come se fosse una visione di un sogno: lo spettatore coglie così il pensiero e l’essenza della protagonista.

Per quanto riguarda la scultura, l’unico scultore presente in galleria è il ligure Claudio Caporaso che si concentra sulle identità profonde in continuo mutamento dei soggetti realizzati in bronzo. Le anime sofferenti ritratte vengono idealizzate e tratteggiano con grande sensibilità lo spirito contemporaneo dell’essere umano.

La mostra Het portreit va de ziel coglie quindi in pieno la società contemporanea odierna, realista nella sua parte fenomenica, alla constante ricerca di una via di fuga dalle inquietudini quotidiane tramite le simbologie, i sogni, le emozioni e le illusioni.

29 aprile – 26 giugno 2022

Manzoni Kunst Galerie (Snellingerdijk 122, Oosterwolde)

English version

The portrait of the soul

“The animation of the canvas is one of the most difficult problems of painting.”

(Alfred Sisley)

The evolution of the portrait in the history of art can be equated with the evolution of the reproduction of the image from childhood to adulthood. The impulse to paint portraits is a spontaneous and primordial necessity: starting from an intentional portrait we arrive, thanks to the personal growth of the artist, at the physiognomic portrait that not only has concrete somatic features but also analyses the psychological character, spirituality and moral judgement of the subject. Even though in ancient times it was considered an inferior genre to the historical scene, for some historians the portrait is the oldest and most widespread artistic genre that tangibly follows the development of society’s culture: there are very few historical epochs and civilisations in which the portrait is not taken into consideration.

The exhibition Het portreit van de ziel thus aims to document the contemporary situation of this genre that has always had great appeal. The six artists present have achieved Alfred Sisley’s (1839-1899) goal: they have reached a stage of evolution where they are able to animate the subject of the work, that is to say, they infuse soul and spirit into the material by adding their personal artistic and creative touch. Let’s get to know them better.

Since 2015, Milanese artist Susanna Maccari has been concentrating on analysing the female figure in watercolours: her vital and watery touches are elegant and delicate, and show the inner strength, beauty and intelligence of women with pastel tones of extreme refinement.

With an extremely different technique, the artist Leonardo Vecchiarino from Foggia also investigates the Beauty of contemporary women: fascinating modern nymphs with a Pre-Raphaelite flavour (19th century), painted in oils with pale, cold colours, are set in completely surreal symbolic contexts made of collages showing fragments of everyday life.

Another important exponent of contemporary Lombard portraiture is certainly the artist Giorgio Riva who, with his works on wood, encourages us to interpret the female figure in a dreamlike, symbolic and transcendental version reminiscent of Art Nouveau (1890-1910): the spaces are suspended in time and convey calm and harmony thanks to the colour and graphic eyelets that create the image.

The young Brescian artist Laura Zani, a newcomer to the Contemporary Italian Art in the Netherlands project supported by Manzoni Kunst Galerie, is also well known to collectors for her ink works and fine art prints featuring portraits of children. Thanks to the play of light and the transparency of the media used, the artist creates a pure universe in which grace is natural and, as she herself says, “where you can still hope that anything is possible and where you happen to meet mermaids”.

The only Dutch portraitist in the exhibition is Marieke Samuels from Brabant who, thanks to her artistic poetics, makes the portrayed female subject emerge from the abstract canvas as if it were a vision from a dream: the spectator thus grasps the thought and essence of the protagonist.

As far as sculpture is concerned, the only sculptor in the gallery is Claudio Caporaso from Liguria, who concentrates on the profound and constantly changing identities of his bronze subjects. The suffering souls portrayed are idealised and sketch the contemporary spirit of the human being with great sensitivity.

The exhibition Het portreit va de ziel thus fully captures today’s contemporary society, realistic in its phenomenal side, constantly searching for an escape from everyday anxieties through symbolism, dreams, emotions and illusions.

De Lente van de kunst – the spring of art

De Manzoni Kunst Galerie in Oosterwolde, met haar Italiaanse kunstenaars, werkt weer met veel plezier samen met het Kunstcafe in Appelscha om het beste van de hedendaagse kunst op de markt aan te bieden. Evenals de vorige wintertentoonstelling beoogt de groepstentoonstelling in het voorjaar een poëtisch-artistieke dialoog tussen Italië en Nederland tot stand te brengen: de klanten van het café krijgen de gelegenheid om niet alleen geestelijk, maar ook lichamelijk een uniek en niet te evenaren kunstwerk voor een betaalbare prijs mee naar huis te nemen.

De tentoongestelde werken zijn bedoeld om de impliciete allegorie van de lente te vieren. Wie door de zalen van het Kunstcafe loopt, zal dus niet overweldigd worden door de natuurlijke kleurenexplosie van bloemen (dat zou een weinig avontuurlijke associatie zijn), maar door boodschappen van wedergeboorte, hoop, een nieuw begin en nieuwe gezichtspunten en perspectieven voor de toekomst. Hoewel we worden overspoeld met nieuws dat de aangenaamste tijd van het jaar tempert, geeft de lente ons de gelegenheid om na te denken en nieuwe lucht in te ademen, een lucht van positieve verandering die kunstenaars weten over te brengen door hun kleuren, idealen en thema’s. Met hun werken geven de kunstenaars de kijkers een extra zetje om uit de winterslaap te komen: er is altijd een andere manier om te leven en het leven waar te nemen en er is altijd een nieuwe dag om opnieuw geboren te worden en een idee te hebben dat iemands bestaan zou kunnen veranderen.

De tentoongestelde kunstenaars en werken zijn zeer gevarieerd en kunnen voldoen aan de meest uiteenlopende artistieke voorkeuren.  Zij variëren van de abstracte kunst van Ilaria Sperotto, die u meeneemt op een reis door innerlijke landschappen waarin kleur stem geeft aan de ziel; tot de kunst van het Magisch Realisme van Maurizio Brambilla waarin symbolische boodschappen worden tentoongesteld in doeken die worden gekenmerkt door een elegant en chique kleurenpalet. De tentoonstelling gaat verder met de expressionistische kunst van Gianluca Somaschi, vol met druppels van Pollokiaanse oorsprong, en de realistische kunst van Gianluca Cremonesi waarin golven synoniem zijn met voortdurende verandering. Verder is er de materiele kunst van Giulio Pettinato, de romantisch-impressionistische kunst van Susanna Maccari en de surrealistische kunst van Giuliano Giuggioli, die met beelden speelt om de geest van de hedendaagse mens wakker te schudden.

Speciale gasten uit Italië, twee jonge kunstenaars die nog niet zijn opgenomen in het door Manzoni Kunst Galerie in Oosterwolde gesteunde project Contemporary Italian Art in Holland: Camelia Rostom die het publiek zal fascineren met haar abstracte materiaalwerken en haar olieverfschilderijen waarin de rode draad de dirigent is van liefde en lotsbestemming; en Luca Azzurro die met zijn hoogspanningsmasten vol symbolisch expressionisme leert om andere perspectieven te hebben en met een positieve geest naar de toekomst te kijken.

De tentoonstelling De Lente van de kunst is te zien in de zalen van het Kunstcafe van 18 maart tot 22 mei 2022.
Adres: Van Emstweg 85, 8426 BT, Appelscha
http://www.kunstcafeappelscha.nl

Exposerende kunstenaars: Maurizio Brambilla, Luca Azzurro, Ilaria Sperotto, Gianluca Cremonesi, Giulio Pettinato, Gianluca Somaschi, Camelia Rostom, Susanna Maccari.

English version:

The Manzoni Kunst Galerie in Oosterwolde, with its Italian artists, is once again working with great pleasure with the Kunstcafe in Appelscha to offer the best of contemporary art on the market. As in the previous winter exhibition, the art on display in the spring group show aims to create a poetic-artistic dialogue between Italy and the Netherlands: the café’s patrons will have the opportunity to take home not only spiritually, but also physically, a unique and unrepeatable piece of art at an affordable price.

The works on display are intended to celebrate the implicit allegory of spring. Those who walk through the rooms of the Kunstcafe will not, therefore, be overwhelmed by the natural colour explosion of flowers (this would be an unadventurous association) but by messages of rebirth, hope, new beginnings and new points of view and perspectives for the future. Although we are bombarded by news that dampens the most pleasant time of the year, spring gives us the opportunity to think and breathe new air, an air of positive change that artists know how to convey through their colours, ideals and themes. With their works, the artists give viewers an extra gear to come out of winter hibernation: there is always another possible way to live and perceive life and, there is always a new day to be born again and to have the idea that could change one’s existence.

The artists and works on display are really varied and can satisfy the most diverse artistic preferences.  They range from the abstract art of Ilaria Sperotto, who will take you on a journey through interior landscapes in which colour gives voice to the soul; to the art of Magic Realism of Maurizio Brambilla in which symbolic messages are exhibited in canvases characterised by an elegant and chic colour palette. The exhibition continues with the expressionistic art of Gianluca Somaschi, full of drips of Pollokian origin, and the realist art of Gianluca Cremonesi in which waves are synonymous with constant change. There is also the material art of Giulio Pettinato, the romantic impressionistic art of Susanna Maccari and the surreal art of Giuliano Giuggioli, who plays with images to awaken the spirit of contemporary man. Special guests from Italy, two young artists not yet included in the Contemporary Italian Art in Holland project supported by Manzoni Kunst Galerie in Oosterwolde: Camelia Rostom who will fascinate the public with her abstract material works and her oil paintings in which the red thread is the conductor of love and destiny; and Luca Azzurro who, with his high voltage pylons full of symbolic expressionism, teaches to have different perspectives and to look at the future with a positive spirit.

The exhibition De Lente van de kunst will be held in the rooms of the Kunstcafe from 18 March to 22 May 2022.
Address: Van Emstweg 85, 8426 BT, Appelscha
http://www.kunstcafeappelscha.nl

Exhibiting artists: Maurizio Brambilla, Luca Azzurro, Ilaria Sperotto, Gianluca Somaschi, Camelia Rostom, Susanna Maccari, Gianluca Cremonesi, Giulio Pettinato. 

Ask the artist: Rob Koedijk

It has been a while since the last interview in the “Ask to the artist” column, which aimed to investigate in detail the secrets of the artists participating in the Italian Contemporary Art in the Netherlands project, supported by the neo Manzoni Kunst Galerie in Oosterwolde. At the end of July, we had the pleasure of getting to know a little more about the artistic poetics of the young visual artist Ilaria Sperotto from Vicenza, but, as I had announced from the outset, the project is expanding and opening its doors to Dutch artists to create a constructive and proactive artistic and cultural dialogue between Italy and Netherlands.

With great pride, today I would like to introduce to you the first Dutch artist who has accepted the “challenge”: Rob Koedijk from Assen. What thrilled me about Rob Koedijk’s art is his conception of colour, which he enhances to the nth degree in two totally different media, which achieve a completely dissimilar end result. The first medium used is large and very large canvas in which colour comes to life in enormous backgrounds in addition to various tactile materials, giving rise to works with an abstract-informal material flavour. The second medium used by the Assen-based artist is glass in which, although colour is always the dominant element, the application on such a different medium results in an abstract-informal poetic sign in which the observer can play with his imagination and discover images from his own memory and contrasting emotional sensations.

The Manzoni Kunst Galerie in Oosterwolde is pleased to host some works on glass, epoxy resin and fusion by the artist Rob Koedijk; fine works in different formats and prices that have the capacity to amaze for the high technical quality executed.

Let’s finally move on to the questions to Rob Koedijk:

You are an artist with a profound artistic culture, but where does your passion for abstract art and material informalism come from? What does abstraction mean to you?

For me, abstract art is the expression of my own self and my own feelings through colour. The shape and the brushstrokes I put on the canvas are initially secondary to the feelings I am experiencing at that moment. But as my work progresses, the colours and the way they flow into each other become an essential part of the process. While painting, a painting emerges unnoticed because I give my thoughts and feelings all the space they need at that moment. My work is a way of designing that can be ‘read’ by anyone with an open mind and to which everyone can and may give their own interpretation. Form in general is very important to me. However, in abstracting it by means of colour and materials, I can better express myself.

How did your life change after you learned about art through media and colour?

During my studies at the A.K.I. (Academy of Art and Industry), it was mainly the subjects of Architecture, Fashion, Graphic Design and Colour Techniques that I followed with enthusiasm. During my studies, it became clear to me that what I learned there would become an important facet of my life.

Can you tell the readers something about your creative process, from start to finish? Where do you get your inspiration from until you walk away from the work and say “well, now it’s finished”.

I start by choosing the materials with which I want to make the painting, the colours and the size of the canvas. Subsequently, the thoughts and feelings that enter me at that moment, give rise to spontaneous, uninhibited, and random brushstrokes on the canvas with the corresponding colour spectrum. The complete surrender to my feelings and the freedom with which I can fill the canvas myself evolves from an idea to a finished work. If my work gives me satisfaction after completion, then it is “finished”. If not, I let it rest for a while and start again.

Although you always follow your personal abstract artistic poetics, you execute your works on two totally different supports, canvas, and glass: why these choices? Tell us more about your technique.

Working with multiple materials and supports is a challenge for me. It turns out that my own ‘handwriting’ also changes somewhat through this use. Working on canvas with coarse brushes, for example, can produce a quick result, while applying paint to glass with a palette knife shows completely different. Paint on glass with a palette knife shows completely different structures. Working in this way stimulates my creativity, also because the final result is often surprising and very different.

Do you believe that abstract art can be the key to changing people’s minds and improving the world today?

For the viewer, looking at abstract art and empathising with the use of colour, form and composition of a work can provide a moment of peace. Through his own interpretation, the spectator can briefly detach his thoughts from the reality of everyday life and see the relativity of things. I hope that I can contribute to this with my work.

Thank you very much for the time Rob Koedijk has reserved for our readers. For any information I am at your disposal. I invite you to the gallery to enjoy Rob Koedijk’s artistic poetics or to visit his page on https://criticoarte.org/dutch-paintings/rob-koedijk/.

The artist also gives you the opportunity to see other works in his Atelier.

Art in the Garden – Kunst in de Tuin

Write the date in your diary!

Saturday 28 August 2021 you are all invited to the Art in the Garden exhibition at the Manzoni Kunst Galerie, from 11am to 5pm! The gallery will be officially inaugurated and we will celebrate the artists participating in the project Contemporary Italian Art in the Netherlands and the new entry Rob Koedijk, a Dutch artist from Assen who has enthusiastically accepted the idea of making the two artistic cultures dialogue.
We are waiting for you to drink a coffee, a tea or a glass of wine and talk a bit about Art!

Art in the Garden

Saturday 28 August 2021

Manzoni Kunst Galerie

Snellingerdijk 122, 8431 ES Oosterwolde, Netherlands

from 11am to 5 pm

Artist:

Giorgio Riva

Susanna Maccari

Gianluca Cremonesi

Maurizio Brambilla

Giuliano Giuggioli

Gianluca Somaschi

Ilaria Sperotto

Marina De Carlo

Gianni Depaoli

Leonardo Vecchiarino

Rob Koedijk

Noteer de datum in uw agenda!

Zaterdag 28 augustus 2021 bent u allen uitgenodigd voor de tentoonstelling Kunst in de Tuin in de Manzoni Kunst Galerie, van 11.00 tot 17.00 uur! De galerie wordt officieel geopend en we vieren de kunstenaars die deelnemen aan het project Hedendaagse Italiaanse Kunst in Nederland en de nieuwe binnenkomer Rob Koedijk, een Nederlandse kunstenaar uit Assen die met enthousiasme het idee heeft aanvaard om de twee artistieke culturen met elkaar in dialoog te brengen.
Wij wachten op u om een koffie, een thee of een glas wijn te drinken en wat over kunst te praten!

Art in the Garden

Zaterdaag 28 Augustus 2021

Manzoni Kunst Galerie

Snellingerdijk 122, 8431 ES Oosterwolde, Netherlands

van 11 tot 17

Kunstenaars:

Giorgio Riva

Susanna Maccari

Gianluca Cremonesi

Maurizio Brambilla

Giuliano Giuggioli

Gianluca Somaschi

Ilaria Sperotto

Marina De Carlo

Gianni Depaoli

Leonardo Vecchiarino

Rob Koedijk

Alexander Sasha Parkevich (1941-2016)

Today is 13 August and, as well as being my birthday, it is the fifth anniversary of the death of a great artist of Russian origin who travelled the globe, a true Artist of the World: Alexander Sasha Parkevich (Moscow, 1941 – Plain, 2016). In 2018 I was contacted by one of Sasha’s sisters, Natalia Codevilla, a fine artist herself now based in Milan, commissioning me to write a critical analysis of her late brother’s artistic poetics that would accompany a commemorative exhibition in Wisconsin, America. I accepted with enthusiasm because Sasha Parkevich’s works speak to the heart and trigger many thoughts and reflections. Today, in order to remember him and to make him known to those who have not yet had the opportunity to see his work, I present here the art criticism written in both English and Dutch.
Enjoy your reading.

Sasha Parkevich, the creator of Modern Divinities

Two years have already passed since the death of Alexander Sasha Parkevich (Moscow 1941 – Plain 2016), an eclectic artist of profound culture and modern Renaissance man. Sasha never wanted to confide his past history but, thanks to his many works (paintings, sculptures and graphics with sketches and comics) imbued with his distinct sensitivity, even those who were not fortunate enough to know him personally now have the opportunity to enter his transcendental, symbolic and spiritual world.

Sasha was a multi-faceted artist with multiple passions, as he himself said, ‘people need to have a passion for something’. Even from his youth, he was attracted to literature, languages, art history and cultures, architecture, gardening, nature and above all to ‘doing’ in the first person: already during his stay in Trieste, Italy (1951-1958), this philosophy of life soon led him to make his first reproductions of Italian Renaissance works of art, which he took up again later, as he came of age, as evidenced by the quick and incomplete sketch in his notebook representing The Madonna and Child, or Madonna of the Chair by Raphael Sanzio, 1513-1514 now in the Palatine Gallery of Palazzo Pitti in Florence.

His mastery and creativity were consolidated not only by his studies at the Fine Art Institute of Indianapolis in the early 1960s, but also by the numerous journeys he undertook between Chicago, San Francisco, Spain, Germany and Mexico between the 1960s and 1970s, during which he never stopped studying and observing the world around him. It was during this twenty-year period that the young artist produced a large number of rapid sketches of different subjects, transfiguring their souls and elaborating on the many artistic currents he observed during his pilgrimages. In his notebooks, one can see reclining nudes with a clear Symbolist and Expressionist quality reminiscent of Egon Schiele’s studies, but also more composed nudes with Matisse-like masks and Picasso-like African masks, such as Women with Chocolate Cookies. In other sketches, human presences can be found in highly detailed interior scenes such as American Gothic # II (homage to Mr and Mrs Grundenbacker) which pays homage to the American artist Grand Wood, or in everyday scenes such as Homage to Edward Hopper or, finally, in astronomical, symbolic, surreal and primordial landscapes rendered with shorthand mastery that closely resemble the works of Joan Mirò, such as the study for Menzonita Busches.

However, it was his stay in Greece between 1983 and 1985, first on the island of Santorini in the village of Oia and then on the island of Lesbos, that gave the artist his first strong impulse: here Sasha was able to concentrate uninterruptedly on his work, perfecting his painting technique and establishing his new philosophy. Looking at her quick sketches of the island’s stray dogs and her charcoal on paper with Two stray dogs, one can see how important these animals were for understanding Mother Nature: in these works, a new spirituality and Sasha’s transcendent soul are legitimised by the laws of Nature because, according to her philosophy, “we are here because Mother Nature wants us to be here. Our sense are her sense. Our hopes, aspirations, fantasies and loneliness are her also”. This does not mean that the artist has simply rendered the subjects in a passive and realistic manner; on the contrary, they have been reworked according to the emotional value of the experience lived in that instant, according to a markedly subjective vision, in the words of Sasha “my Santorini stay was the experiance of a lifetime. When I think of Santorini, there are so many good memories and so many great experiences”. Greece also played another important role for the artist: here he rediscovered his old love for iconographic art, which was so forbidden in Russia during the Stalin regime. In fact, Parkevich produced several icons on wood, in reduced format, of clear religious value, such as the reproduction of the 12th century Mother of God Eleousa, known as the Mother of Vladimir, now in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow: Sasha wanted to use the traditional Russian iconographic method with gold leaf and natural colours, ground by hand and added with an emulsion based on yolk and white wine, to give the two-dimensional images hieraticity and marked symbolism, thus uniting the sensory world with the trans-sensory and trans-temporal world. All this intense work earned him the title of Icon Painter.

His return to America at the end of the 1980s, more precisely to the small town of Plain in Wisconsin, gave Sasha his second artistic impulse: here he finally felt at home and built with his own hands his studio and private garden to exalt Mother Nature to the maximum. His analyses and studies did not end there, as he was constantly searching for something in his art and, as his sister Zora Tammer said, ‘he wanted to make something beautiful with his hands’. Looking at the artist’s production over the last thirty years, one can perceive an intense investigation into Nature, man and the deepest soul. Thanks to Francis Bacon, famous for his disturbing and disfigured portraits characterised by a violent expressionistic charge, by the first half of the 1990s Sasha grasped the soul and feelings of his subjects to transport them exclusively onto their faces, distorted and swollen, made by instinctive, automatic and almost casual brushstrokes. These transfigured works include oil paintings entitled Francis Bacon tribute and King Lear, mixed media oil-pastel paintings depicting the portrait of Dragan Parkevich and The Gambler portrait and, pastel works and sketches depicting Eight portrait sketches of Cardinals who almost became Pope, Six Historic Characters, Six Philosophers, and Nadezhda (Hope in Russian). Of the latter work, it is interesting to note what it conceals: during his childhood, the artist heard a tragic story of a young bride who was struck down by a mysterious illness that changed her external beauty and forced her to shut herself away in a monastery surrounded only by books, poetry and a small icon.

It is now clear how important Russian icons were in Sasha Parkevich’s background from an early age but, having made them his own, from 2000 until his death he decided to create new Cosmic Deities, new Icons, which he made naturally without effort and which, in his words, “I never worry if it is saying anything or does it make any sense”. By now he had completely broken out of the vicious circle of religions, instituted by men themselves in order to have no responsibility for their own actions: his modern Deities were exclusively spiritual and based on Mother Nature and her laws, leading him to take up anthropological, geological and astronomical sciences as well. Sasha defined his Deities primarily as objects of art and they were for him “portraits of our souls on the good days and on the bad days”: thus, for example, Galaxy salesman (oil on panel), Preistess from puma-Punka or Dark figure (both oil on canvas), Study of a Saint (oil on styrofoam) and Socrates on the edge of the circle (pastel on paper), represent deified human souls within blinding golden Almonds that stand out in the dark and silent cosmic space. Painted in a symbolic and expressionistic manner, with brushstrokes laden with thick matter that made them three-dimensional, Sasha’s Deities transcend the intent of the subject and become pure spirit, outside of raw and binding corporeal matter, in a Universe-Mother Nature that gives the possibility to create a new spiritual order , as can also be seen in Golden Diety # II (oil on canvas) in which the gold leaf and almond (a typical element of traditional icons) prevail over the entire space of the canvas, thus reaching the apex of the process of deification and complete detachment from matter.

In conclusion, it can be said that Alexander Sasha Parkevich has succeeded in fully achieving his goal: to make himself known only through his works of art.

                                                                                               Milan May 2018

NATALIA CODEVILLA E LA RICERCA DEL COLORE ATMOSFERICO

A grande richiesta riposto una critica d’arte che avevo scritto tempo fa: la poetica artistica di Natalia Codevilla, pittrice di talento di origini russe ma in stanza a Milano, evoca forti emozioni e per questo motivo piace molto agli appassionati d’arte. Oltre che in italiano, ripropongo lo scritto più sotto anche in inglese ed in olandese.

By popular demand, I am re-posting an art criticism I wrote some time ago: the artistic poetics of Natalia Codevilla, a talented painter of Russian origin but based in Milan, evokes strong emotions and is therefore very popular with art lovers. As well as in Italian, I am also proposing the article below in English and Dutch.

Op veler verzoek plaats ik opnieuw een kunstkritiek die ik enige tijd geleden schreef: de artistieke poëtica van Natalia Codevilla, een getalenteerde schilderes van Russische afkomst maar gevestigd in Milaan, roept sterke emoties op en is daarom zeer geliefd bij kunstliefhebbers. Behalve in het Italiaans, stel ik het onderstaande artikel ook voor in het Engels en het Nederlands.

Pur essendo un’artista poliedrica interessata a diverse tecniche, la parte più consistente della produzione artistica di Natalia Codevilla è stata eseguita a partire dall’inizio del XXI secolo con innumerevoli paesaggi naturalistici di valore impressionistico e dipinti floreali di chiaro carattere decorativo e simbolico.

L’artista milanese di origini russe abbandona definitivamente il disegno preparatorio per poter ricreare la realtà che la circonda attraverso il suo talento e le sue emozioni, la sua memoria storica e le immagini a lei care (come diceva Charles Baudelaire nel 1859 “qualsiasi luogo naturale non ha valore se non per la sensazione attuale che l’artista sa introdurre”), senza per questo rinunciare a un volume di forme dato dal colore stesso, proprio come nelle opere di Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) e Camille Pisarro (1830-1903 ), i due massimi esponenti del movimento impressionista del XIX secolo. È il colore che rende la profondità atmosferica dell’aria e dei soggetti presi in esame: grazie a una stesura rapida e precisa, ed in alcuni casi con l’uso di sottili velature, il colore si imprime sulla tela con tratti materici pulsanti e vivi, brevi e brillanti, che recuperano il senso dell’immediato e della realtà.

Nei suoi paesaggi russi e siberiani, mediterranei, americani, africani, cinesi e giapponesi, Natalia Codevilla riesce a ricreare il realismo e la verità ottica della natura con l’impressione della realtà, come si può vedere in Winter-Spring, melting snow del 2002 dove l’artista evoca chiaramente la tecnica di Claude Monet (1840-1926) ed in particolare la sua Impression: Soleil levant (1872, oggi al Musée Marmottan di Parigi): nella pittura della pittrice c’è la visione di un fenomeno naturale nato nei suoi aspetti impalpabili; il mondo reale viene così smaterializzato in una luminosità evanescente che lo rende più evocato che descritto.

Grazie alla sua esperienza e a tutto ciò che ha visto ed amato, direttamente e indirettamente, l’artista estrapola la memoria e la imprime sulla tela con un gesto rapido, quasi a macchia, che ricorda molto da vicino la tecnica della corrente dei Macchiaioli (seconda metà dell’Ottocento). Ne sono un esempio le tele con Paesaggio russo sul fiume Volga del 2005, Strada nel bosco, Autunno del 2012, Ruscello nel bosco del 2012, Paesaggio italiano con fiume del 2015, Paesaggio russo con prato di betulle del 2017, ed infine Sardegna, Mare in tempesta con barca a vela Liberty del 2018, in cui il fruscio delle fronde degli alberi e la potenza dell’acqua sono resi da piccole pennellate di materia macchiata.

Infine, in altre opere paesaggistiche, come nel Passo dello Stelvio del 2005, nei Giardini pubblici di Milano del 2008, nel Lago Hanghzou della primavera 2014 e nel Paesaggio russo con betulle e ninfee del 2015, Natalia Codevilla va oltre: per rendere al meglio i riflessi dell’acqua, l’evanescenza del cielo e la profondità delle montagne, l’artista procede attraverso velature leggere, sfumate e omogenee di ascendenza leonardesca, prendendo così in considerazione sia la prospettiva aerea che quella cromatica.

La produzione della pittrice milanese è anche ricca di dipinti che hanno come soggetto i fiori, non più considerati come un semplice accessorio, un’arte minore, al servizio dell’arte maggiore come abbiamo assistito con l’evoluzione della storia dell’arte, ma come un genere con un proprio chiaro valore decorativo e simbolico. Nate dalla vita e dalla bellezza femminile, le opere di Natalia Codevilla non possono quindi essere definite nature morte o Vanitas, ma veri e propri esempi di riproduzione impressionista della natura che gioca con forme, volumi e colori. Come si può vedere in Fucsia al vento del 2008 (che ricorda l’impianto compositivo e cromatico dell’Altalena del 1767 di Jean-Honoré Fragonard e oggi alla Wallace Collection di Londra), in Girasoli grandi del 2008, in Rosa del Roseto di Monza del 2012, in Rose gialle Joy del 2018 e in Vaso blu con iris bianco del 2018, le pennellate cremose impresse sulla tela con tocchi guizzanti ricordano da vicino le composizioni floreali di Claude Monet e Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), senza però dimenticare il ritmo e la proporzione, l’equilibrio e l’armonia che sono il biglietto da visita di Natalia Codevilla.

NATALIA CODEVILLA AND THE SEARCH FOR ATMOSPHERIC COLOUR

Although she is a multifaceted artist interested in various techniques, the bulk of Natalia Codevilla’s artistic production has been carried out since the beginning of the 21st century with countless naturalistic landscapes of impressionistic value and floral paintings of a clearly decorative and symbolic nature.
The Milanese artist of Russian origin definitively abandoned the preparatory drawing in order to recreate the reality that surrounds her through her talent and her emotions, her historical memory and the images she holds dear (as Charles Baudelaire said in 1859 “any natural place has no value except for the current sensation that the artist knows how to introduce”), without renouncing the volume of form provided by the colour itself, just as in the works of Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) and Camille Pisarro (1830-1903 ), the two greatest exponents of the 19th century Impressionist movement. It is the colour that renders the atmospheric depth of the air and of the subjects examined: thanks to a rapid and precise application, and in some cases with the use of subtle glazing, the colour is impressed on the canvas with pulsating, vivid, short and brilliant strokes that recapture the sense of the immediate and of reality.
In her Russian and Siberian, Mediterranean, American, African, Chinese and Japanese landscapes, Natalia Codevilla succeeds in recreating the realism and optical truth of nature with the impression of reality, as can be seen in Winter-Spring, melting snow of 2002 where the artist clearly evokes the technique of Claude Monet (1840-1926) and in particular his Impression: Soleil levant (1872, now at the Musée Marmottan in Paris): in the painter’s painting there is a vision of a natural phenomenon born in its impalpable aspects; the real world is thus dematerialised in an evanescent luminosity that makes it more evoked than described.
Thanks to his experience and to all that he has seen and loved, directly and indirectly, the artist extrapolates memory and impresses it on the canvas with a rapid, almost blotchy gesture that closely resembles the technique of the Macchiaioli movement (second half of the 19th century). Examples of this are the canvases Russian Landscape on the Volga River from 2005, Road in the Woods, Autumn from 2012, Stream in the Woods from 2012, Italian Landscape with River from 2015, Russian Landscape with Birch Meadow from 2017, and finally Sardinia, Stormy Sea with Liberty Sailboat from 2018, in which the rustling of the tree branches and the power of the water are rendered by small brushstrokes of stained material.
Finally, in other landscape works, such as Stelvio Pass in 2005, Milan Public Gardens in 2008, Hanghzou Lake in spring 2014 and Russian Landscape with Birch Trees and Water Lilies in 2015, Natalia Codevilla goes further: in order to best render the reflections of the water, the evanescence of the sky and the depth of the mountains, the artist proceeds with light, shaded and homogeneous veils of Leonardo’s influence, thus taking into account both the aerial and chromatic perspective.
The production of the Milanese painter is also rich in paintings with flowers as their subject, no longer considered as a simple accessory, a minor art, at the service of major art as we have witnessed with the evolution of art history, but as a genre with its own clear decorative and symbolic value. Born of life and female beauty, Natalia Codevilla’s works cannot therefore be defined as still lifes or Vanitas, but as true examples of impressionist reproduction of nature playing with shapes, volumes and colours. As can be seen in Fuchsia in the Wind of 2008 (reminiscent of the compositional and chromatic layout of Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s Swing of 1767, now in the Wallace Collection in London), in Large Sunflowers of 2008, in Rose of the Monza Rose Garden of 2012, in Yellow Roses Joy of 2018 and in Blue Vase with White Iris of 2018, the creamy brushstrokes imprinted on the canvas with darting touches are closely reminiscent of the floral compositions of Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), but without forgetting the rhythm and proportion, balance and harmony that are Natalia Codevilla’s calling card.

NATALIA CODEVILLA EN DE ZOEKTOCHT NAAR ATMOSFERISCHE KLEUR

Hoewel zij een veelzijdig kunstenares is met belangstelling voor verschillende technieken, wordt het grootste deel van Natalia Codevilla’s artistieke productie sinds het begin van de 21e eeuw gerealiseerd met talloze naturalistische landschappen van impressionistische waarde en bloemschilderijen met een duidelijk decoratief en symbolisch karakter.
De Milanese kunstenares van Russische afkomst heeft de voorbereidende tekening definitief achter zich gelaten om de haar omringende werkelijkheid te herscheppen door middel van haar talent en haar emoties, haar historisch geheugen en de beelden die haar dierbaar zijn (zoals Charles Baudelaire in 1859 zei: “elke natuurlijke plaats heeft geen waarde behalve de actuele sensatie die de kunstenaar weet in te voeren”), zonder afstand te doen van het vormvolume dat de kleur zelf biedt, zoals in het werk van Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) en Camille Pisarro (1830-1903 ), de twee grootste exponenten van de 19e-eeuwse impressionistische beweging. Het is de kleur die de atmosferische diepte van de lucht en van de onderzochte onderwerpen weergeeft: dankzij een snelle en precieze toepassing, en in sommige gevallen met gebruikmaking van subtiele glacis, wordt de kleur op het doek gedrukt met pulserende, levendige, korte en briljante streken die het gevoel van het onmiddellijke en van de werkelijkheid terugbrengen.
In haar Russische en Siberische, mediterrane, Amerikaanse, Afrikaanse, Chinese en Japanse landschappen slaagt Natalia Codevilla erin het realisme en de optische waarheid van de natuur te herscheppen met de indruk van de werkelijkheid, zoals te zien is in Winter-Spring, smeltende sneeuw uit 2002 waar de kunstenares duidelijk de techniek van Claude Monet (1840-1926) oproept en in het bijzonder diens Impressie: Soleil levant (1872, nu in het Musée Marmottan in Parijs): in het schilderij van de schilder is er een visioen van een natuurverschijnsel geboren in zijn ontastbare aspecten; de echte wereld wordt zo gedematerialiseerd in een vluchtige helderheid die haar meer evocerend dan beschreven maakt.
Dankzij zijn ervaring en alles wat hij heeft gezien en liefgehad, direct en indirect, extrapoleert de kunstenaar het geheugen en drukt het op het doek met een snel, bijna vlekkerig gebaar dat sterk lijkt op de techniek van de Macchiaioli beweging (tweede helft 19e eeuw). Voorbeelden hiervan zijn de doeken Russisch landschap aan de rivier de Wolga uit 2005, Weg in het bos, Herfst uit 2012, Beek in het bos uit 2012, Italiaans landschap met rivier uit 2015, Russisch landschap met berkenweide uit 2017 en tot slot Sardinië, Stormy Sea with Liberty Sailboat uit 2018, waarin het ruisen van de boomtakken en de kracht van het water zijn weergegeven door kleine penseelstreken van gebeitst materiaal.
In andere landschapswerken, zoals Stelvio Pass in 2005, Milan Public Gardens in 2008, Hanghzou Lake in de lente van 2014 en Russian Landscape with Birch Trees and Water Lilies in 2015, gaat Natalia Codevilla verder: om de weerspiegelingen van het water, de vluchtigheid van de lucht en de diepte van de bergen zo goed mogelijk weer te geven, gaat de kunstenares te werk met lichte, schaduwrijke en homogene sluiers van Leonardo’s invloed, en houdt ze dus rekening met zowel het luchtperspectief als het chromatische perspectief.
De produktie van de Milanese schilder is ook rijk aan schilderijen met bloemen als onderwerp, niet langer beschouwd als een eenvoudig accessoire, een minder belangrijke kunst, ten dienste van de grote kunst zoals we hebben gezien met de evolutie van de kunstgeschiedenis, maar als een genre met een eigen duidelijke decoratieve en symbolische waarde. De werken van Natalia Codevilla zijn geboren uit het leven en de vrouwelijke schoonheid en kunnen daarom niet worden omschreven als stillevens of Vanitas, maar als ware voorbeelden van impressionistische weergave van de natuur, spelend met vormen, volumes en kleuren. Zoals te zien is in Fuchsia in de wind uit 2008 (die doet denken aan de compositorische en chromatische indeling van Jean-Honoré Fragonards Swing uit 1767, nu in de Wallace Collection in Londen), in Grote zonnebloemen uit 2008, in Roos van de rozentuin van Monza uit 2012, in Gele rozenvreugde uit 2018 en in Blauwe vaas met witte irissen uit 2018, de romige penseelstreken die met penseelstreken op het doek zijn aangebracht, doen sterk denken aan de florale composities van Claude Monet en Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), maar zonder het ritme en de verhoudingen, het evenwicht en de harmonie te vergeten die Natalia Codevilla’s visitekaartje zijn.

Ask the artist: Ilaria Sperotto

We have now reached the last scheduled interview in Ask the artist column, which since December 2020 has been investigating and getting to know better the fifteen artists taking part in the Italian Contemporary Art in the Netherlands Project supported by the neo Manzoni Kunst Galerie in Oosterwolde: artists from all over Italy, artists with very different styles, techniques, subjects and artistic paths, demonstrating just how versatile, complex and multi-faceted art can be.

Today we have as our guest the young visual artist Ilaria Sperotto from Vicenza, whom I met through mutual artistic friendships and for whom I have great respect because of the works of art she creates, in which the essence of her own spirit and unconscious is explored in depth: her canvases are the result of an expressive, abstract and instinctive artistic poetics in which the colour and brushstrokes give the sensation of being catapulted into the primordial psychic dimension of emotions.

Already well known in Italy, Switzerland, Austria, France, and Belgium, Ilaria Sperotto is now present in the Netherlands with six valuable small format works at affordable prices.

Let us finally pass the word to Ilaria Sperotto:

You have certainly been asked this question by many, but the Dutch public does not know how the artist Ilaria Sperotto lived and still lives this historical period that will surely enter the history books: has art helped you? Are there any future projects or is it still too nebulous to concretely plan anything?

In 2020 when the pandemic started it was a braking moment for me, initially very difficult, surreal, I was very scared. Then one day I decided that I had to recover, I had to resume my dream of living a normal life. Painting in this case was fundamental, liberating! Through colour, I freed my emotions and began to feel alive again, to dream! 2021 is a special year, a continuous work in progress. I am currently participating in the “Burma Pavilion”, an international postal art project at Palazzo Zanardi Landi in Guardamiglio Lodi (Italy). While in September 2021 I will exhibit about thirty oil paintings in the historical centre of Vicenza: I will be part of the protagonists of VIOFF “A GOLDEN JOURNEY”, the new edition of Fuori Fiera di Vicenzaoro. I am planning 2022, but I prefer not to talk about it for now.

Do you always paint en plein air like a contemporary impressionist or do you have moments of personal reworking in the studio? Tell us about your creative process…

With the pandemic and the lockdown, I had to adapt to the new situation, in the past I used to paint exclusively en plein air, observing and reinterpreting the landscape, now I paint mainly in the studio. My paintings come from my imagination, from my unconscious, and then I transfer them to canvas. They are visions, landscapes that do not exist.

Looking at the old impressionist oil paintings and comparing them with the more recent metaphysical-abstract works, there has been a big stylistic leap. What triggered this stylistic change?

With the lockdown, an unexpected “click” happened. In the past, I never felt totally free with oil painting, I felt chained and anchored to the influences of my masters. I loved and adore Impressionist painting, but I never felt it was totally mine. Pandemic allowed me to explore myself inside, to listen to myself. My latest works are the result.

You are an all-round artist: let’s talk about your symbolist ceramics. What inspires you?

Ceramics are a world of their own, I am extremely fascinated by the earth, by its plasticity and I love to experiment. For several years now, I have been mainly inspired by the theme of cities, my travels, my studies. One of the things they taught me at the Faculty of Architecture is to look, to observe the context, the landscape, the territory. To explore with the gaze, to imagine what is no longer there or not yet there. Architecture, like Art, springs from the imagination. Urban Planning itself is first and foremost a prediction. And so, I try to blur my vision, to blur my look in order to see beyond the vision.

You are always looking for pure emotion: what do you want to convey to those who linger in front of your works?

In my work, painting, like ceramics, is instinctive, charged with emotions and moods that everyone can read and interpret in their own depths. What I want to convey is an empathic and intuitive emotion. An essence that is not to be found in the matter outside of us or beyond the reality perceivable with the senses, but within us and within the inner world in which we live, learning to look beyond appearance, beyond the visible, through the emotion that dwells in the mind.

I would like to thank Ilaria Sperotto for the time she has dedicated to us and remind readers that they can view the young artist’s works of art online at www.criticoarte.org/galleria-gallery/ilaria-sperotto/ or come to the gallery and see for themselves the quality of the oils on display.

Ask the artist: Maurizio Brambilla

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.