The show, hosted by London’s Mall Galleries from June 13th to 18th, traces the expressive path of Italian artist Francesco Visalli, highlighting his unusual alternative intellectual visions. By exploring multiple spiritual scenarios, the viewer is immersed in different „possible” visible existences that are as profound and true as reality itself. They represent new episodes of almost tangible reality constructed with an incisive and innovative artistic code. Painting that is essential, lofty and experimental, based on kaleidoscopic fragments, rebirths and memories that can be perceived from different, unexpected perspectives. Visalli declares the proactiveness of intense colour where countless flights of perspective draw one’s gaze to different parallel planes, offering new points of view, colour vibrations and phantasmagorias. The interpenetration of colour tones highlights the forms represented, which centre on encounters and combinations of asynchronisms dictated by his instinct and projected on new spatial-temporal axes. In these „alternative realities” human emotions and adversities follow one upon the other: torment and joy, destruction and hope, failure and victory, threats and security. Each aspect finds its equilibrium in its reciprocal opposite within a harmonic and ordered chaos. They support infinite interpretations, playing with the perception and distortion of the entity represented. It is an extremely interactive visual language that continually subjects our certainties to analysis. The exhibition offers the public the artist’s entire production and unpublished works, serving as an anthology of the force of his painting and its full affirmation of today’s contemporary art…
(taken from the critical text „Le Euritmie del Caos” (The Eurhythmies of Chaos) by Rosi Raneri.
The show is based on the critical text by Giovanni Faccenda and is collected in a valuable catalogue published by Editoriale Giorgio Mondatori.
The show will go on, in the European tour 2011: next appointment the 24th june until 09 july at
I-C by Palazzo Italia
Unter den Linden 10
10117 Berlin – Germany
Pr/info London/Berlin: email@example.com
Curator: P. Charlotte Stein Infantellina
Francesco Visalli was born in 1960, the son of a postal worker and a teacher. He grew up in one of the poorest and most notorious areas of Rome, the „Borghetto Prenestino”, made infamous by Pier Paolo Pasolini”s „Ragazzi di Vita”.
His father died when he was 14 years old, an event which deeply affected his life.
Francesco, an only child, was forced to look for a job to support his mother and pay for his studies. One of the teachers at the technical school he attended found him a place in his firm, which enabled him to enrol in a faculty of architecture and go to live by himself at the age of 19. Francesco was determined, but he was also very young, and work, study and a house demanded commitment and sacrifices. His degree, which would provide him with a better life, was still in the distant future and he felt angry. He was troubled, very alone and afraid; but preferring not to dwell on his own feelings, he sought distraction in sex, drugs and bad company, and become a political extremist.
Then, when he was 21, he fell in love with a woman and followed her to Los Angeles: this was just the first of many transformations that would occur in his life. The woman he loved was rich and he lived surrounded by comfort. He continued to work, completing his studies, until he began to feel suffocated by the woman and her wealth. So he left everything and returned to Rome, where he could start afresh. Free and finally qualified, he set up a studio in his house, dedicating himself totally to his work.
At 25 years of age, he finally met the woman that was to be his great love. They married and he began a spiritual journey with her that changed him profoundly, helping him to find the deep meaning of his life in the Catholic faith.
The courage, faith and great strength of his marriage helped him to open up his professional life to success; he started his first design company, which produced important work in Italy and abroad, and then, still by himself, created two more companies. These were years of great victories, of economic fortune, of esteem and praise from many people, that were always accompanied by his deep faith and love for his wife. They were also years of miracles that he would never have dreamed of, such as the three children he had with his wife, even though medical opinion had declared him completely sterile.
Then, at 43 years of age, everything ended; Francesco fell into bitter delusion, lost his faith, saw everything fall apart and left his wife: these were his years of exile. He continued to work, but knew that he was not free, experiencing disappointment, failure, frustration, sickness and solitude. He finally threw in the towel and closed everything down, spending his time doing nothing: he was now 50 years old and had lived more than enough; what was the point of continuing, if everything was finished? This was his darkest hour.
On the night of 11 October, 2009, however, everything changed once more.
Francesco picked up a pen and began to draw things he had never seen before. He spent the entire night drawing, continuing the next day, the following night and so on, for days on end.
Francesco”s hand, as if guided by something divine, was rapidly moving around the white sheet of paper of its own joyful accord, producing fantastic drawings. Colours burst out and unusual shapes came to life from his hands. After a few weeks, the drawings became paintings. Although he had no knowledge of painting technique, he acquired it by working, finding within himself a style that already had its own very precise expressions and definition, which was his style. Each painting is a new discovery, and he deliberately keeps no records, does not study, has no desire to learn from others and does not look at the great masters, in order not to be conditioned by those that have preceded him. Visalli works like an erupting volcano, continuously drawing and painting whatever his instincts tell him. He passes through the classic creative phases, first producing the drawing and then choosing and applying the colours, without letting himself be encumbered by thought and without any mediation, almost as if in a trance. The relationship between the shapes and colour combinations in his paintings is the product of a harmony that is never deliberately sought, but discovered by chance each time. It is as if he unwraps each canvas to discover the colours that are already there, simply waiting to be revealed by him. He is amazed by the finished pictures that suddenly appear in front of him, like newly discovered portions of an unknown land, which is this strange new reality that he is living. Visalli did not consider and decide on painting as an alternative to his former profession; painting erupted into his life and chose him.
His shapes and geometry are defined by a subtle white line that runs between the colours, which never touch each other. The line is left by the canvas, because it is the canvas that designs the painting; his falsely seraphic figures form a subtle aperture between the eye of the observer and the soul of their creator, who, as if hiding from himself, „wants” to calm the vortex of his dramas and victories behind those distant and rather absent forms; or else hurl himself courageously towards new and infinite horizons, where beyond one heaven lies another, in scenes of a cosmic reality. He obtains incongruous results, rather like quietly shouting at the top of one”s voice, a freezing heat or a whirling stillness. His paintings bring to light his past and future life, without his involvement, like a flurry of pangs and torments viewed through the wrong end of a pair of binoculars, always moving a bit further beyond the heart, in an „Alternative Reality”.
(Biography edited by „Ich Traume”)
Intimate beings of another dimension
„Man basically loves that which most
reminds him of these almost subconscious visions,
these visions which are his secret world,
unknown to others and which no one can take away from him,
because he keeps this world in his brain”.
Giorgio de Chirico, Paesaggi,
‘L’Illustrazione italiana‘, Milan, 24 May 1942.
There are some men whose most cherished landscapes belong to an imaginary nature. Temperamentally driven towards dreaming (with their eyes open), they often lose themselves in it to find vital footholds, which are as salutary as they are stimulating. The reality, for this privileged kind of individual, is merely a rigid convention: a closed perimeter like the walls of a prison from where they can guess what lies beyond.
Until a little while ago, out of ignorance, I knew nothing of the work of Francesco Visalli. Then, a most valued, sensitive and enlightened friend, Luana Baraccani, presented me with an opportunity to fill this lamentable gap – a series of reproductions that instantly expressed the merits of paintings which, amongst other virtues, possess one in particular: namely, that they are originals.
Despite having always been wary of impressions derived from photos or modern digital devices – painting demands another type of visual contact, real and direct – I was immediately persuaded by those partial references I had seen to look further into the work of Visalli – a solitary, noble figure in a contemporary landscape where, sadly, other and certainly less talented figures tend to shine.
Having got past the intriguing impact of their surface, the canvasses, ably brought to fruition by a painter who does not lack certain brave expressive audacities, show places that are not places and men who are not men. One might say instead that, after looking at them in sufficient depth, one sees dimensions and beings that live in the mind of an artist whose most urgent need is to transfer them using exquisitely allusive perspective. Those accentuated forms, alien to any type of geographical or physiognomic connotation, indeed are home to illusions and waste that evoke a hidden existence both present and past – that of Visalli. The depiction is an echo of cavernous personal tremblings, by establishing an iconographic mirage that appears almost therapeutic: it manifests itself in the richness of transfigured symbols, scenes inhabited by legends and archetypes, with the presence of an aura to pacify intimate troubles or awaken dreamy abandonments.
Even a rapid examination of the last century of art fails to produce any legitimate lineage. They bring together, naturally, in a creative figure characterised by an obviously imaginative ability, the fertile seeds of a surrealist season meritoriously treated by Visalli in the right measure, without, that is, those cloying adhesions, at times even symmetrical, that lead to the dangerous abyss of epigonism.
In this sense, it is worth pointing out some other noble connections from further back in time, which, as hazy as they might be, nevertheless reverberate with reflections of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, evoking, first, the distinguished examples of Paolo Uccello and Piero della Francesca and then, Duccio di Buoninsegna and Simone Martini. An example: L’alba di Madame Chisciotte (Madame Quixote’s Dawn) – doesn’t this work contain a faint suggestion, perhaps even unknowingly, originating from Guidoriccio da Fogliano by the incomparable Simone Martini?
Visalli is a cultured man. He has travelled, lived and read. From the sum total of his experiences, human and spiritual, flows the sound philosophical substratum that gives each of his works a particular light. A visionary painter, who nevertheless loves to enrich every painting with an arcane existential flavour, a mixture of distinct fragrances: the sour and the sweet combine to give birth to a continuous feeling of alienation that comes to those who look at his paintings in spellbound astonishment. These remain and reaffirm themselves, moreover, as pictorial settings full of unanswered questions and, at the same time, established facts, as is appropriate for those who are inclined, by nature, to constantly question themselves and spare nothing in the difficult and endless pursuit for what constitutes the ultimate truth.
This is the goal. Painting, therefore, means exploring unstable mental equilibriums, precarious human relationships and what remains in the soul – and why – as a perennially flourishing recollection, capable of conditioning to such an extent – for good or for bad – the present and the future of a man. From Diogenes to Freud, with Nietzsche and Schopenhauer along the way, the interludes with which Visalli’s extensive intellectual journey is peppered are therefore varied and recurrent.
As a young man, Giorgio de Chirico once wrote: „We are travellers always ready for new departures”. However, for Odysseus, Ithaca is far away and his return is hindered by all sorts of obstacles. Visalli knows them and knows what peaks, seas, arid lands, tempests and perils need to be overcome in order just to imagine the sun behind the mountain. He feeds off the strong roots of his dream and his is a way of painting in which so many indelible scars have undoubtedly hardened, but where the warmth of the sun’s rays have also opened up the threshold for what were to become his new days.
Finally, it is dear to me to think, flitting around with my imagination, that, although those anthropomorphic beings – that’s how I labelled them earlier – are seductively calling us to do, he has finally found his chosen home on the perfect Easter Island, different from Rapa Nui, where the gigantic Moai, all facing in the same direction, know the hidden secrets of the world and in the evening they divulge them whispering to those who like Visalli, have a heart and ears to listen to them.
Florence, March 2011
Indirizzo:(near Admiralty Arch) The Mall, London, SW1
Orario:10 am / 5 pm
Testo Critico:Giovanni Faccenda
Catalogo:Editoriale Giorgio Mondadori
La mostra, ospitata dal 13 al 18 giugno dalla Mall Galleries di Londra, segna il percorso espressivo dell’artista italiano Francesco Visalli, volendone mostrare le singolari e alternative visioni intellettive. Inoltrandosi nell’esplorazione di plurimi scenari spirituali, immerge l’osservatore in differenti e „possibili” esistenze visibili, profonde e veritiere al pari della realtà stessa. Rappresentano nuovi episodi di reale, quasi tangibili, realizzati con un incisivo e innovativo codice artistico. Una pittura essenziale e sperimentale, volta alla rappresentazione di caleidoscopici frammenti, rinascenze e memorie, percepibili da differenti e inaspettate prospettive. Visalli dichiara l’intraprendenza del carattere intensamente cromatico, laddove innumerevoli fughe prospettiche richiamano lo sguardo da differenti piani paralleli per offrire nuovi punti di vista, vibrazioni di colore e fantasmagorie. La compenetrazione delle tonalità cromatiche evidenzia le forme rappresentate, che si concentrano in incontri e combinazioni di asincronismi dettati dal suo istinto e proiettati su nuove assi spazio-temporali. All’interno di tali „realtà alternative” si avvicendano i sentimenti e le contrarietà umane: tormenti e gioie, distruzioni e speranze, fallimenti e vittorie, minacce e sicurezze. Ogni aspetto trova il suo equilibrio nel suo reciproco opposto, all’interno di un armonico e ordinato caos. Si mantengono infinite forme di lettura, giocando con la percezione e la distorsione delle entità rappresentate. E‘ un linguaggio visivo estremamente interattivo che pone continuamente in analisi le nostre certezze. L’esposizione rivolge così al pubblico l’intera produzione dell’artista e l’esibizione di opere inedite, proponendo una rappresentazione antologica della forza della sua pittura e sancendo la piena affermazione nell’arte odierna contemporanea.
La mostra si avvale del testo critico di Giovanni Faccenda ed è raccolta in un prezioso catalogo edito da Editoriale Giorgio Mondatori.
La mostra prosegue nel suo tour europeo 2011, prossima tappa Berlino:
I-C c/O Palazzo Italia
Unter den Linden 10
10117 Berlin – Germany
Pr/info London/Berlin: firstname.lastname@example.org
Curatore: P. Charlotte Stein Infantellina
Charlotte Stein Infantellina
Telefon: 0049(0)172 8602082
Charlotte Stein Infantellina
Telefon: 0049(0)172 8602082