Fremo immagine curated by Saverio Verini
From 20th of March to 6th of April 2019
Fondazione Pastificio Cerere / Spazio Molini
Via degli Ausoni 7, Roma
Media Formel by Cecilia Canziani /
For days I have had on my computer desk the reproduction of one of the many paintings by Monet dedicated to the crags of Etretat, chosen for the short blue and lilac brushstrokes with which the painter returned the cliff against the light, at dawn or at sunset, when the sky and the sea have more or less the same color - here: strands of yellow, pink, blue.
It is an artifice, but through the colors and contours that are in no way analogous to what we would see, this image gives us a precise representation of a place, a time and its feeling intact. Not once, but many times. In many different versions that are however united by being repetitions, minimal variations of the same subject. At the same time, this picture, and all the others in the series, give us the exact measure of what it is, from a certain point on (and for a long time), painting: a problem that seeks its resolution through surface, color , gesture, that is, remaining within the confines of the medium.
In some ways it seems to me that this image that I continue to look at these days, and its functioning, has to do with the work of Francesco Ciavaglioli and with the works he has worked on over the last year and selected for his show Fremo Immagine (even if only for the flickering, which the apparent typographical distraction suggests).
The Etretat crags are a topos in landscape painting: Monet painted them, but also Delacroix, Corot, Courbet and others, they are a subject available, through which we can write a small history of painting. Fremo immagine is an exhibition of landscapes, also in this case completely situated (we can imagine that the Fucino plain, overlooked by Avezzano, an Abruzzese town where the artist has his studio, has suggested these wide-ranging yet) appropriated views: skies dotted with flocks; corn fields, repeated images to prove their survival: landscape as representation of the world; flying birds as an omen.
These two subjects are declared on different supports, as if to prove their endurance; so the image of the corn field recurs on an oil-painted canvas, then framed by a thin strip of wood that composes it and separates it from the rest of the space and on a large curtain, painted in ink, stretched diagonally with respect to the wall and open to the center. A picture and a screen are therefore two equivalents, and in both cases the image is obtained by projecting a photographic reproduction on the surface, whose edges are then traced and filled with color - in oil in one case, in ink in the other.
The flying birds, another recurring theme for the artist, and repeated on glass or paper or canvas, are obtained through the use of a stamp made from a photograph. By overlapping different layers and using more or less strength - more or less ink - and by spraying black ink on the surface, or by adding a layer of blue plastic, the image takes on body and life, to the point that it looks like a photographic reproduction.
And this too is an artifice: in the short-circuit between painting and photography, the image is made credible by our willingness to translate an arbitrary sign into a representation of reality. The yellow, pink, blue strands that Monet paints are not the sea, but they are. The black spots that Francesco Ciavaglioli mechanically affixes onto the canvas are not birds, and they are. But both the strands and the stains are also stains and strands: that is, they declare fiction, they use it to make us look elsewhere too. In the case of this exhibition, to make us reflect on what happens in this (in every) mechanism of translation of a sign into an image, or even, on the contrary, of an image projected into a sign - and since we are in a horizon of thought that it is well beyond the age of technical reproduction, the artist's gesture is not authorial, but also already mediated at the outset: the image found or available, the mechanical copy and not the interpretation, the series as an operating mode in the construction of the single work.
There are stumbles and clues in these images-screens, images-pictures, images-window, archive images: the repetition of the module, scratches on the surface, small incongruities that suspend the fiction and reveal the artifice. A magic for children, but which allows - as is evident in this exhibition - to return thickness, density and body to images through a reproduction as much mechanical as digital. So that they will not disperse.