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"Domenico Monteforte"
Mixed media on canvas cm 60x80
Work by Giuliano Grittini 2010

The uniformity obtained gradually subtracts value to volume and consequently saturates space. Therefore, step by step, colour claims its autonomy and it constitutes itself in the mind of the author rather than in the vision of things. We have to go back to being primitive, savage, go back to our origins - the assertion, beloved by many artists of the avantgarde of the Twentieth century, is yet again present in the words of Monteforte himself, when conversing with me he explains the need of taking off the canvas anything that appears superfluous, episodic, deprived of all its expressive strength. Only by recovering the spontaneity of gesture, the solidity and coherence of shape, can we reassert the genuine intensity of intuition.
The complexity now stands in discovering the interference of discontinuity, that is the break-in of chaos that keeps taking a role in any activity, in any aspect of life. Through the combination of artistic intervention and casuality a perturbing element is introduced into the artwork and it is qualified as a leap of intensity against the continuity of the daily. Art regains the value of the impulse that filters through the barrier of rational control of reality "... like lava that drags, moves, reshapes, destroys, gives life!!".
Like the primitives, who did not know art, expressed with signs and reiterated gestures their "being in the world", similarly the artist claims the absolute spontaneity of the creative act.
Stressing the strength of the hand that freely moves on the canvas in positioning the material-colour, it is possible to reveal the abstract vocation of this painting.
The deformation of the substance of the image constitutes the new code of Monteforte who, according to me, willingly chooses a hard path in his work, as the executive speed has to preserve intact the motivation of the creative process with the final aim of folding painting to his will. Art, therefore, does not produce "beautiful statues" but works that stand as a challenge against the primordial creation of the world, through a language that is figurative-abstract at the same time.
Within the composition even space takes a different definition as a result of intuition: before even being place of representation of sensitive data it is subjective shape determined by conscience, because space does not exist per se.
This way, any "deformation" of that space is possible because each stroke of brush or palette knife that he makes with strength when the mind has decided, reveals a sort of inevitable prefiguration of what is still indistinct, even in the mind of the artist himself. " The hand moves fast on the palette, the blend is good and the colour vibrates, takes shape...". Material is ready to abandon the correspondence with true, and if any trace of real remains it is probably because Monteforte likes throwing us off track, deceiving us, inclined to the game of inevitable comparisons between "before and after", between what is the appearance of things and what on the other hand is essentially invisible because still unseen except for the artist.
The colours that are the "natural fabric" of painting, are submitted to a process of analysis; they change their conventional value to assume a new energy.
The synthesis has imposed, as a matter of fact, that the palette previously influenced by complementary colours like purple, now loses the descriptive characteristic in favour of an abstract tone, with warm and violent colours that take particular meaning in the words of the artist when he asserts: "...I feel full of reds, many reds, warmer and more violent than usual...with greens, siennas and and blues to restrain them, or they would come out of the canvas, as strong as they are!". The same density of colour is reduced and composition becomes smoother, at times less dense. The work does not proceed anymore for "addition" as the critique Vittorio Sgarbi had argued about the works of a few years ago, now complexity does not need "body" anymore, instead it stands in the power of condensation that belongs to the language of art.
The artist essentially suggests the negation of colour meant like physical phaenomenon, turning upside down the idea of a painting that finds its reflection in nature, like Vincent Van Gogh the artist "cultivates the love for nature as it is the only way of understanding art".
Reclaiming the autonomy of gesture like procedure that frees the unconscious and allows art to be no longer the end, but the medium through which a new intensity is emitted, Monteforte moves beyond the inertia of repetitive, to put in practice a creative process that expresses itself according to unforeseen ways, submitted to imponderable rules that take to surface obscure emotions and passions that only the exercise of art itself can placate.


 

An untamed savage
New art scenes in the painting of
MONTEFORTE
by Emanuela Mazzotti

"In the heart of a poet, in the heart of a thinker there is always a free landscape".
Alda Merini

It is a hard path the one that Monteforte is facing now that he is getting ready for the next solo exhibitions, the first of which in Milan, city particularly loved by the artist.
He has been a painter who has looked for a stylistic code and who has found it in his unmistakable landscapes, so steady and bright, so far from the idea, even a momentary one, that they could reveal any interest about nature. Yet nature used to appear with its explosive reds, the full yellows and such deep blues that they remind you all the colours from Van Gogh and Matisse altogether, but with no likeliness whatsoever, even though the subjects were recognizable, they were there telling us that there was not that much for us to think of in the end, it was all so evident! Yet..."it is not a natural life what we need, but an artificial life" as Degas argued in one of his mots; similarly Monteforte rejects the ideology of the en plein air, finds absurde the possibility of putting himself "in the presence of true", he needs an artificial filter in order to see; they can be the lights of a sunny day or of a night just as bright, free associations that the mind establishes through pure colour, spread in the accidentality of the movement of the hand on the canvas, although there is always the need of something capable of diverting one's glance, of creating the illusion.
It can be a dimple on the support, a little scrap of the sign, a sudden smear of the colour and the artist forces us into a sudden deviation, he shows us what he sees of the world.
Shape is made in front of our eyes almost magically, he asserts he can keep the colour 'clean' even working with a greasy brush, greens and yellows shine like brazen music notes, even when they have low and deep pitches, and then comes the red, that particular kind of red...
The movement of things distracts and enthrals at the same time, without any object in the canvas ever showing an apparent life of its own, because the life of nature is all interior. Let us take the trees for instance, that olive tree deformed by the wind present in many paintings; well that tree is all the possibile synthesis of the different forms of nature, of all the possible trees that the artist has seen and drawn, fixed permanently in the idea, before being even painted." ...Like a tree planted in the earth deep and strong roots, folded trunk and never tamed, solitary tree in the red field of life".
We need to understand then how a painting is created, how the artist follows what some time ago was called "inspiration". Monteforte paints and then puts his canvases against the wall. He goes back to them after a few days, sometimes weeks, it is not infrequent for him to take up the same subject many times.
This rythm is a habit for him, as much as on the other hand, it could be that the rapidity of performance betrays him and forces him to deny every sign, every passage of colour, always unhappy, unsatisfied. "The battle becomes tighter now, my action moves the brush decisively, violently, impetuously! Figures take shape in front of me, then they disappear in the clot of colours and then they take shape again... Then the sharp smoke while I observe on the canvas what the battle has created, I smile and think I would start it all over again...".
He does not like explaining and he is not much inclined to attributing a logical rationality to art at all costs. At the end of the day painting is the least accessible of things: amongst the many systems of knowledge it is certainly the most coded and mysterious.
Breton identifies in dream the moment when the unconscious finds the greatest representation and of the dream he theorizes the adoption of the free association, in other words this very cerebral activity is attributed the capability of finding a connection unbiased by reason, absolutely spontaneous, between the onyric world and the artistic creativity. That is why we recognise to the artist from Versilia, right in the use of a technique that is sometimes feverish, determined by automatism, a connection between instinct translated into action and uncosciousness.
Automatism becomes the categorical need of a new creativity, built on the impulse that comes up from the depth with extraordinary intensity that the author initially feels in a larval way, still confused. Then intensity authorizes the pictorical act, the magmatic game of the mind that rejects rational control in favour of the movement that corresponds to that originary dream. It is the inescapability of the artistic fact that pushes Monteforte into claiming an absolute autonomy in researching the possible declension of the thought, in chasing that "perfect shape" that has obsessed the artists of all times. It is on this road that he has recently walked, sure of the need of taking the relationship shape - colour to its extreme limits. Of overcoming the naturalistic track, of getting gradually to the synthesis of the material, of forcing the declensions of shades until their saturation. This way, everything of gracious, of accurate, sweetened and of a good taste that painting suggested it had to be is erased.
On the very question of material an observation is needed: in painting the element of choice is colour, made up of cluts, of thick paste and sometimes opaque with which the depth and a sort of dynamism of what is motionless by definition were searched for.
Material imposes a hard exercise: the control over colour needs to be constant, it is very easy, in fact, for the effects of equilibrium and weight to be firmly altered. Colour, in its essentiality, constitutes a sort of fantastic "orography" that allows harmony of elements otherwise disparate.

 


 

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