MARIA LUCIA FERRAGUTI
Davanti al percorso artistico di Andrea Marchesini, la mente di chi osserva rimane inevitabilmente impressionata da una sorta di progressione che, mantenendo un quasi invisibile e saldissimo fil rouge contenutistico, muta allo sguardo nelle forme pur rimanendo fedele a se stessa. Il continuo cambiamento, indiscutibile indizio di ricerca profonda, evidenzia una perspicace capacità narrativa capace di adeguarsi al tempo e alle trasformazioni che questo porta con sé.
Stratificazioni materiche rimandano a piani di memoria che sembrano trattenere e rielaborare un vissuto fatto di un ininterrotto e instancabile legame con l’arte, la cui dimensione spirituale e privilegiata condizioni l’uomo e l’artista. Nel passaggio tra un fare materico e una dimensione fluida, pare esistere un continuum temporale che tenga conto della necessità di una persistente rinascita: che la vita sia plasmata o emerga spontaneamente non importa, purché essa avvenga, sia risveglio, sia consapevole. Per fare sì che questo accada, è sempre necessaria un’azione: action. Un’eco lontana dell’action painting, dove non solo si palesi il movimento delle figure delineate sulla tela, ma sia primario il gesto di chi la tela incontra, scontra, vive. L’animo di Andrea Marchesini è un costante crogiuolo, un fermento di idee in ebollizione da cui, ogni volta che egli mette mano a una nuova opera, una composizione emerge, viene isolata e poi raffigurata. In una sorta di procedimento alchemico, l’artista opera incessantemente sulla materia e su se stesso. Prendono vita, le opere di Marchesini, da un sostrato culturale ampio, complesso e ben radicato che, attraverso figure archetipiche, narra il continuo cammino dell’umanità alla ricerca di un equilibrio perennemente instabile.
Ricerca che è, tuttavia, piena e personale, pur nel rispetto dei maestri cui il suo inconscio sembra volere rendere omaggio: artisti contemporanei, come Basquiat, Haring, Mirò, Ensor, destinati a sovrapporsi in un impianto visivo contemporaneo con influssi derivanti da fiamminghi quattrocenteschi e anonimi primitivi, per un risultato che ha in sé una immediatezza comunicativa in grado di raggiungere prima l’anima e poi l’intelletto di chi guarda. Un’evidente predilezione per la cultura inglese metropolitana traspare tanto dalla gestualità spontanea e dall’espressività delle forme, quanto dalle vibrazioni tonali che rivelano un vero e proprio tumulto interiore ben canalizzato. Nel porre e togliere strati di colore sulla tela, Marchesini rivela un incessante lavoro sulla sua interiorità, vero e proprio palcoscenico intimo di un confronto-scontro con la materia e il contenuto dell’arte, che pur nella sua realizzazione del tutto contemporanea dal punto di vista stilistico, si rivela antica e primordiale nella volontà e nel procedimento.
Ogni volta che Marchesini affronta una nuova tela è come se fosse la prima volta, o l’ultima. Obbedisce alla propria urgenza espressiva con rigore e determinazione, non potendo sottrarsi a un atto che sembra mantenere la necessità e l’inconsapevolezza del respiro. Il fluire stesso delle composizioni rivela la delicatezza di una gestualità consolidata dalla pratica svolta da anni con disciplina e rigore, in cui il movimento centripeto assume una particolare valenza: esso è un invito a guardarsi dentro, a oltrepassare lo specchio delle apparenze per giungere in silenzio al nucleo della verità. Allo sguardo indagatore, figure di astanti inconsapevoli paiono guardiani apotropaici, che difendono e nel contempo palesano la presenza di un Mistero ancora tutto da vagliare. Chi non ha ancora un volto, pure non ha più una maschera. La ricerca dell’identità, cardine dell’operare di Marchesini, lo rende un abile funambolo capace di rimanere in equilibrio sul sottile filo teso tra realtà e immaginazione.
MARIA LUCIA FERRAGUTI
Andrea Marchesini travels a personal path in his painting. He paints images governed by tension, by his thought and by courage, always consistent with his conscience, with a continuous flow of unity between life and art, fidelity and intense industriousness over the years. The painting presents itself as a moment of conquest, of intense poetics and of inexhaustible visual memory while it also delivers absolute form, linked to the present and to the values of the past. It is also true that Marchesini passed recent years sustained by the enthusiasms and strengths acquired through travelling, learning and painting, initially preferring abstract forms and, more lately, images that are mainly figurative.
There is always a subtle tension in him, a constant commitment nourished by anxiety that only painting can tame, an aspiration that is never sated to transfer into quotidian fervour and to placate and evolve finally in the completed work. As Nietzsche said, "Every man, every artist, every step that he ascends to the tower of perfection is due to the struggle he fights with a demon, not with an angel, as has been said, nor with his muse. It is necessary to make this fundamental distinction for the roots of the work." Over time the paintings that derive from this tension reconnect with memories of classical readings. These are similar in importance to paintings from sources that are rooted in the inexhaustible wealth of myth, and therefore return perennially to the past of primitive figures and to those with archaic forms. He translates anthropomorphic and geometrical images and details that lead back to forms that are recognisable in gigantic narratives, in an effective synthesis and laid out in a colour that is permeable to light.
This fever has always been poured into the various creative moments from his works – on canvas and sometimes on paper – to the progressive evolution of his various personal shows, one after another, also in paintings on an extraordinary scale.
However even if he recently incorporates suggestions derived from Miró's art into his paintings, he never changes that mark of originality and of autonomy that is specific to his own creativity.
Marchesini continues moving forward with great concentration and has extended his creative adventures in recent times. He opens up to the renewal of the elements of painting; he launches an essential vision with concentric chromatic discs, those discs that insert themselves one on another and become clearly defined forms in flatly extended surfaces with intense chromaticism that are mediated so that they almost appear inevitable without any illusion of depth; he restores design.
He reveals new possibilities for colour, invented, secret, with new properties and chromatically concentrated. He also reserves particular attention for the human figure which opens the way to dreamy visions, putting it into relief and movement so as to introduce dynamism and, even more, committing it to measuring itself in space that is it charged with energy and contemporaneity.
BY ADDITION AND REMOVAL
Until a few years ago Andrea Marchesini's painting was characterized by a triumph of glittering material, with works in which the layer of colour – complex, emotively dynamic and distributed with sanguinary generosity – constituted the most specifically expressive part of his language. All objective and naturalistic references were totally excluded from these paintings and abstraction dominated undisturbed thanks to intense ceaselessly moving accumulations.
Then this chromatic eloquence underwent a pause for reflection with the decantation and sedimentation of all the thought and emotion that it had generated. This occurred without abandoning the past however and, indeed, the germinal stage – including that of its subsequent and current path, its elaboration – is represented by these efforts that in certain ways are primordial and pragmatic.
The rarefication of the chromatic impasto, stripped from the canvas, fulfilled the artist’s desire to take back ownership of the form. Now colour has been given a co-starring role and, treated using experimental techniques, has effectively assumed the function – also extremely important – of acting as "backcloth" and as "container" for a variety of elements that were not only gradually defining themselves in fundamentally surrealist terms but also occasionally "quoting" some of the stylistic traits of one of Marchesini's artists of reference, Joan Mirò.
It is specifically on this surrealist matrix that Andrea Marchesini's path has been allowing other tensions to mature, ones that are in some ways more subtle and interiorizing, with the insertion of anthropomorphic, phytomorphic and objectual traces without hierarchical competition. All this occurs with particular reference to symbols of civilization interconnected by the common denominator of human processing of the spirit and of thought. Even writing is used as an aesthetic sign, beyond its communicative value, and as a bearer of processes of abstraction, of formalization, of logical construction, of analysis, and of synthesis and therefore capable of allowing the formulation of new hypotheses and new theories, as well as the classification of tangible and intangible worlds. To put it succinctly, Marchesini employs their graphemes as design and artistic elements, and liberates the writing from its consecrated and extremely ancient purpose.
To some extent scion of the Transavanguardia, the current so-defined by Achille Bonito Oliva in 1979 that arose in Italy in the seventies after the experiences of Arte povera and of Minimal art, the artistic procedures of those years like those of Marchesini recover figurative painting and drawing with a view to rediscovering a language that would be capable of greater openness and expressive freedom and also of restoring the importance of technical intensity in the construction of a painting.
But in the large and vast canvasses that unfold their "stories" there is also something closely linked to the contemporary of course, in the recovery not just technical but also cultural and religious. And not just and not solely as regards the style, but especially the themes and ideas practiced by various artists of reference among those of the eighties mentioned who, in addition to the Italian exponents of the Transavanguardia, such as S. Chia, F. Clemente, E. Cucchi, N. de Maria and M. Paladino, revolutionized the foundations of pictorial language in the United States too.
And indeed these protagonists of a brief but intense season rooted in New York's East Village constitute the other precious benchmark for Marchesini. Jean-Michel Basquiat, in particular, who with the graffiti artist Keith Haring and conceptual artist Mike Bidlo, installed himself in this neighbourhood at the beginning of the eighties. However for Marchesini the suggestion does not simply refer to the anarchic and liberating attitude to expression but also to a more thorough investigation into the symbols – including for example the crown that Basquiat uses as a stylized signature, along with others, in his works on canvas – and in which the artist finds again the meanings of a culture and of a generation. In all cases the symbols also have an absolute value that does not belong to time: the figure of the "door", for example, often present in his paintings, pregnant with a rich and broad range of connotations: literary, psychoanalytical and liturgical ones common to both Eastern spiritual traditions.
And of course this "return to painting" was also a resounding success in America, acclaim that was also decreed and confirmed in pragmatic terms by the New York galleries and by the international market which once again started looking at figurative work with renewed interest and in which the protagonists themselves established themselves belatedly when they were on the brink of physical collapse as a result of drugs or AIDS.
But perhaps the most interesting element of this reconciliation with painting in the proper sense and with a greater precision of the form is that it puts itself forward as free territory, eclectic and timeless; a place of sublimation of the most topical and most ancient of cultures, a marriage of East and West, of North and South, in which the paternity of the legends, of the cosmogenesis and of the anthropogenesis is so remote that it becomes traceable back to a solitary source, a single territory, a primordial pangea in which the rivers that burst out into a sole panthalassa flow in a lattice of courses.
In fact, in Marchesini's recent painting the images of different ages and provenances represent the arbitrariness of the historical sequence: every layer of the past is a window through which other ones, present and mythical, are seen. The use of different pictorial techniques also represents an artisanal type of attraction: almost always obtained starting from pigments that are then mixed by the artist himself in non-traditional mediums, the tints quite frequently generate interesting conflicts and permit the realization of marbled grounds and psychedelic effects.
And of course in this new formal research phase, the connections to the most important cultural, historically and geographically distant contents are a characterizing element. In his paintings – enormous mobile tapestries or canvasses fixed in frames – Marchesini manages to make the human and the divine, the mysticism structured in religions and the primordial force of ritual cohabit.
The thinking/living ego is then always a constant presence, latent or revealed, which emerges or discreetly secludes itself in Marchesini's figural universe. As silhouette or as faceless head, the artist participates in the liturgy of the painting, almost as if to render even more evident and manifest his desires for the absolute, for contemplation beyond the logical thought and structured reality.
He constructs and then settles in this sort of Neverland studded with hints. Just as "all is hint before being a phenomenon in the cosmos of the limits: the fainter the hint, the more it acquires sense as it indicates an origin. Assumed as origins, all the hints seem to continuously and tirelessly trigger the story" (Gaston Bachelard, La poétique de l’espace, 1957), and in the same way, in Marchesini's painting today it is possible to glimpse – never completely expressed, but present in filigree – the trace of the narration, the thread, not red but timeless, on which various fundamentals of human existence append themselves in rhapsodic fashion.
Why not "fil rouge"? "Red line" is an expression of seafaring origin meaning "guiding thread" for unravelling a ship's hawser, the red line salors followed that made it possible to separate the tangled cables from one another. Instead, Marchesini proposes, to himself before all, the vision of a total "Dreaming conscience", the opening and internal amplification of which prevent both alienation and solipsism. In it the events that are ringed by History are excluded in order to leave space to a continuous flow that has no precise temporal confines: it moves like a powerful succession of inspiration and expiration, with a cosmic rhythm that is transliterated in the colour. Colour acts as an amniotic fluid in which forms representative of the Ego and of the World move in an endless attempt to define its own moral and aesthetic awareness. Suggested in this search are indications similar to those provided by a renowned Daoist text, the Lieh Tzu which was included in the imperial library as True Classic of Simplicity and Vacuity between the V and IV centuries BCE: "He who takes exterior journeys seeks completeness in things, he who gives himself to interior contemplation finds sufficiency in himself" (Lieh-tzu, IV, 51.).
But the painter is also profoundly a man of his time and his poetic assumptions – as well as stretching out towards the mystic and interiority – are profoundly associated with the anxieties that pervade modernity. They are powerfully bonded to the urgings of the nomadic creativity of languages, and – as Bonito Oliva writes – adopt the "possibility of transiting freely in every territory without any exclusion, with cross-references that are open in all directions. [the artists] operate in the mobile field of the transavantgarde, understood as a crossing of the experimental notion of the avant-garde, in line with the idea that every work presupposes an experimental "dexterity", the artist's surprise vis-a-vis a work that no longer constructs itself in accordance with the anticipated certainty of a project and of an ideology, but rather forms itself before the ideas and under the instinct of a hand that digs into an imaginary made of an incarnation between idea and sensibility ...". (La Trans-avanguardia italiana, Flash Art 92-93, October-November 1979).
What Andrea Marchesini recovers from the recent past is a redeeming and vital "transit" and testifies that not only does the search not have an end or limits but is able to look back and interiorize that Spirit of Time that permeates history.
Andrea Marchesini's artistic probing presents itself as a sensorial path that goes beyond both the figure and abstraction towards an undefined horizon that even evades the confines of the self and of its direct perception. His works are shaped by an engaging dynamism that springs from the profound reflection that the artist dedicates to the various levels of consciousness that can be identified in the finished picture. There is therefore a gradual ascent in Marchesini's creative process that allows him to establish a direct dialectic with the work itself to the point that it assumes the identity of the artist's primary self. In fact his works are fragments of a profound soul, a seeker of truth and mendacity, of real and spiritual, of form and abstraction ... of those contrasts, therefore, that create something that had never existed before.
"Transcendental" could be the definition of his research, intending the term as "going beyond", surpassing the misleading appearance of the mundane image in order to seek infinite places that are detached from the concept of time: creative spaces drained of those limits of the real that are stretched towards continuous and contorted development.
The aesthetic is another of Marchesini's fundamentals: he has made symbols and forms that are common in the awareness of all of us into his own, realising them through a process of synthesis that has permitted the "figures" to stand out from the background through strong chromatic contrasts. The development and definition of a personal pictorial manner propose a difficult process that has taught the artist the importance of "removing", i.e. simplifying a path in order to render it more intimate. And so it is that human figures appear, reduced to black silhouettes that stand out against vivid chromatic contrasts, self-portraits that seem to be defined by subtle contours ... The epicentre of all of this is always humanity along with its controversial beauties, its innate spirituality and its capacity to be excited: the work, in fact, is often based on portraying emanations generated by mankind and, in particular, by the artist himself.
Another two fundamental aspects of Marchesini's art are: irony in the play and use of materials. With the "irony of play" I intend to define one of the multiple significant planes of the work that identifies itself with that more playful side, namely those smiling forms that are often attributable to animals and humans that guide the seriousness of the work towards a more instinctive and childlike approach. The materials in this work on the other hand assume a strong symbolic power that dictates a relationship between observer and work that is not limited to sight, but also considers touch. This can be seen in Marchesini's use of chalks, paints and colours created in the studio that allow the artist to embrace nuances that are "warm", not from the chromatic but also from the sensorial standpoint.
What we are looking at with Marchesini is a new and conceptual foundation that endows him with that recognisability that every artist needs if he is to establish himself in the contemporary.
A young artist who feels the vocation of painting to be overpowering must measure himself daily with his precious brushes in order to master a discipline that consciously demands ownership of expression. Andea Marchesini – a Vicenza painter still in his youth – has achieved an enviable maturity in giving accomplished form to his creative gift. His formal approaches – unconstrained by generic classifications – respond to an absolute inventive freedom. Definitions such as informal painting – used in order to allude to images made up of signs, gestures and matter, that express only themselves – are of little concern to him. Instead he looks with interest on artists with whom he feels an affinity – Basquiat, for example, a graffiti artist charged with interior motivations. He assails his fantastic depictions with a light that is all his own, antinaturalistic, that strips them of all the predictably obvious A spatial structure with an illusionist matrix such as his demands extremely free gestural expressiveness, new chromatic and material impastos, and does not entail a renunciation of emotively charged pictorial formulation procedures.
Marchesini is not interested in painting society, or even painting Art. He wants to paint as an act of redemption and liberation of every political, aesthetic and moral value. He does not intend to change the world but instead lets his painting be one. From a solitary standpoint he discovers his own salvation in action: doing stripped of history, goals, ethical impulse. His values do not configure themselves as an expression of a reality, but rather as an aspiration towards a catharsis, the redemption of a suffered existential unease. The inalienable values of painting are crucial. It is not enough for him to depict a reality of fantasies, of dreams or of memory but needs that reality to identify with painting and the painting itself to become the reality of sentiment.
In his recent work he reduces the colouristic ardour of the Fauves and placates the savage brush strokes of the CoBrA movement but does not dampen the spark within the matter, does not suppress the dynamism of the sign. It is singular to note that the artist's extraordinary pictorial skills in the evolution that his work has undergone in recent times have not been sacrificed in the slightest to the needs of a poetic which has gained ground in the meantime with the demand for legitimisation, not only at the level of the image but also at that of the colour, in line with the most solid tradition of the recent past. Subtly surreal narratives that surface from consciousness without any determined order develop on his large canvasses which have the magnificence of old tapestries and the freshness of modern murals. The uncontainable energy, once expressed in the swirling movement of the sign, makes way for more meditated formal equilibriums. Mental state and psychological condition merge in images that work on the visual data and realise a sort of fantastic architecture that brings together all the vibrations and emotions that are inherent in the execution of the work.
Far from appropriating himself of the poetics of cultural nomadism and stylistic eclecticism, Marchesini remains a poet of spontaneous creative freedom who is allergic both to rational vigour and instinctive abandonment, played out on distortions and brilliant colourings, but on the emotive thread of mental abstraction. By adding Basquiat's instinctive transports with Rothko's rationalism it is possible to understand how a fragmentary syntax with quotations of the imaginary, like his, can develop in an open and luminous pictorial space where the figures float above the same colour from which they had originally sprung.
Ocra, azzurro e viola. Rosa, cremisi e marrone. Fucsia, indaco e beige coi verdi di fronde marine. E’la minuscola parte della movimentata fastosa gamma del divenire pittorico di Andrea Marchesini, il quarantunenne figlio d’arte che, vocato alla pittura dall’infanzia, s’è tuffato nelle fantasmagoriche potenzialità del colore senza transitare nel figurativo. Dal “tempo delle mele” l’artista vicentino è dedito all’astratto-informale acquisendo la caleidoscopica proprietà di stile che la personale ”Genesi e Colore” al Galla Caffè a Vicenza dal 20 novembre a cura di Marica Rossi con inaugurazione alle 18, rivela. Peculiare di quest’arte è l’impatto visivo forte ma mai violento apprezzato in rassegne in Italia e all’estero come recenti trasmissioni video hanno evidenziato. Doti che ora e fino all’8 dicembre gli oltre venticinque dipinti a olio e a tecnica mista su tela o cartoncino attestano svelando sia l’autenticità di ispirazione che la gestazione felice con l’approdo agli esiti importanti di oggi.
Marchesini s’è formato nelle Accademie italiane e nelle scuole di Londra, di Parigi e di Barcellona, acquisendo una spontaneità supportata da straordinaria padronanza tecnica. Ed è come se l’autore riversasse sulla tela tutta la forza della sua creatività, rendendola pulsante di vita e della capacità di tesaurizzare il colore di tradizione veneta, l’oro del‘300, i rossi pompeiani, i blu rinascimentali e gialli Van Gogh. Un’orchestrazione di cromie con sonorità e richiami totemici secondo regole che lui si dà: ritmo, contrasto, armonia.
Pur richiamando l'elemento dinamico-gestuale del suo fare pittorico, la parola “action” in questo caso non si limita a descrivere il solo fattore stilistico né lo slancio vitalistico tout court. Si tratta, invece, della manifestazione di un processo ben più profondo, vicino nel significato alla praxis aristotelica, vale a dire un’azione in cui entrano in gioco riflessione, intenzione e consapevolezza. La vita è azione e non produzione, afferma Aristotele, operando quindi una distinzione, oggi sempre più invalsa, tra l’agire e il fare, e quindi tra ciò che è scelta, pensiero, visione, ricerca di senso del proprio stare al mondo ed agire sul mondo, e ciò che, invece, rientrando nella sfera della produzione, del fare strumentale ad uno scopo, trasforma l’azione umana, e quindi l’uomo stesso, in un tramite e non in un fine. Vivendo in un’epoca in cui i ritmi esistenziali sono sempre più scanditi dalla produzione e dal consumo a discapito della libera determinazione dell’individuo, diventa essenziale dunque ritornare ad “agire”, destando le coscienze dal torpore del pensiero unico, dai meccanismi alienanti dei linguaggi seriali, dall’implacabile ripetitività di azioni subite e non agite. Azione, dunque, che nell’arte di Andrea Marchesini risponde ad una ragione ideologica ancor prima che estetica: «La mia visione - afferma - parte da un evidente pessimismo che si apre verso soluzioni possibili ma indefinite, orientate all’esistenza di un nuovo punto d’approdo». Il fallimento delle ideologie, quindi, non preclude ma anzi rende necessario quel “miraggio di salvezza” verso cui tendono i vaghi residui figurali che si manifestano nei suoi dipinti come latenze emerse dal colore. Riportare la riflessione artistica sul piano dell’azione e della prassi significa quindi permeare l'opera di un fare interrogante e veritativo rispetto al mondo, conciliando l'utopia con la speranza di una salvezza possibile. Aspirazione che spinge Marchesini a ritrovare le origini del pensiero mitico e del naturalismo “ingenuo” dei graffiti preistorici per arrivare ai varchi irrazionali dell’automatismo surrealista, all’organicismo materico dell’arte informale, ad un’idea della tela come campo di tensione dove si compie il rituale segnico - gestuale di matrice astratto - espressionista. Nasce così un’immagine “multipla”, stratificata, dove ogni elemento condiziona l’altro e ne è a sua volta condizionato, in un continuo processo generativo - sempre regolato dal colore - di segni astratti, relitti figurali e metafore naturalistiche. Presenze che “brulicano” sulla tela ora espandendosi in contrappunti ritmici, ampie volute e spirali mai prive di un disegno coreografico ora invece organizzandosi in visioni evocative di paesaggi, parvenze umane o forme organiche. Un movimento crescente e vertiginoso dove s’intrecciano storia e mito, natura e civiltà, senza però, precisa l’artista, sfociare nel caos: «Ogni cosa nella mia pittura sembra avere una mèta, aspira a un ritorno, ad un’origine in cui il rapporto con la natura era di quiete, di armonia, di osmosi». E se lo scopo, dunque, è rispondere alla crisi etica ed estetica del presente ritornando ad una condizione originaria che precede quelle che Marchesini definisce forme minacciose ed ossessive della civiltà e ancora un labirinto di incubi da eludere per tentare la salvezza, l’unica via possibile, quella che l’arte può percorrere, è ridare potere all’immaginazione, unica vera forma di “ribellione” ad un sistema che ormai controlla le nostre vite sotto ogni aspetto. Del resto, proprio l’immaginazione, con le sue articolazioni archetipiche, simboliche e mitiche, ci riporta alle origini dell’uomo, a quella “pulsione” innata che per la prima volta ha spinto l’uomo a lasciare un segno del proprio passaggio sulla parete di una caverna. Ieri come oggi, l’immaginazione è garanzia di quella libertà che l’arte di Andrea Marchesini celebra come valore imprescindibile.
Copyright 2017 Andrea Marchesini . All Rights Reserved.