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51st Directors’ Fortnight May 15-25, 2019

Marcello Grottesi

FROM HIS EARLY YOUTH IN THE IMMEDIATE POST-WAR YEARS TO THIS VERY DAY, THERE HAVE OBVIOUSLY BEEN SOME SIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN MARCELLO GROTTESI’S ARTISTIC LIFE, WHICH CAN BE REGARDED AS CONSISTENT CHANGES. BORN IN ROME IN 1939, AFTER HIS FIRST EXPERIENCE IN LEARNING DRAWING TECHNIQUES , HE SPENT SEVERAL PERIODS IN FRANCE , PARTICULARY IN NICE, ON REACHING THE AGE OF 20. ONE OF HIS POINT OF REFERENCE WAS THE MUSEUM IN WHICH THE WORKS OF MATISSE WERE DISPLAYED. IT WAS AN EXHIBITION IN THE PREPARATORY STAGE AND WHICH GROTTESI, IN A MANNER OF SPEAKING, SAW COMING INTO BEING.
DURING ONE OF HIS TRAVEL, GROTTESI VISITED SAINT PAUL DE VENCE, IN FRANCE AND ONCE MORE , IN THE OCCASION OF A FOTOGRAFIC REPORTAGE HE WAS ATTENDING, HE BECAME ACQUAINTED WITH FRENCH ART, AND IN PARTICULAR WITH THE CHAPELLE DU ROSAIRE FRESCOS OF HENRY MATISSE.
WE CANNOT SAY THAT GROTTESI HAS ENTIRELY BEEN INFLUENCED BY MATISSE, BUT WE CAN FIND THE FRENCH PAINTER’S INFLUENCE IN THE RESEARCH OF BACKGROUND WHICH GROTTESI FACED IN THE SEVENTIES, WHEN HE DEALT WITH GEOMETRIC AND DINAMICS SHAPES, REPRESENTING A COMBINATION OF SPACE, LIGHT, AND TIME.
IT WAS DURING THIS PERIOD THAT THE DYNAMIC RELATION OF THE WORLD AND ITS QUINTESSENCE WAS HIGHLIGHTED. IN THE 1965 GROTTESI PRESENTED HIS EXPERIENCE OF THE PAST TWO YEARS IN AN EXHIBITION IN WHICH HE USED GEOMETRICAL SHAPES ENHANCED BY RED AND BLACK BACKGROUNDS, DESIGNED TO PRODUCE AN ARTIFICIAL DEFORMATION OF A REALITY VISUALLY PERCEIVED.
IN 1968, AFTER A NUMBER OF FURTHER EXHIBITIONS , TOGETHER WITH OTHER PAINTERS: MATTEUCCI, NOTARGIACOMO E DE DOMINICIS HE FOUNDED THE GROUP KNOW AS “LABORATORIO 70” OF VIA BRUNETTI. IF LATER ON IT COULD BE SAID THAT THE RESEARCH HAD BECOME A KIND OF “SCIENTIFIC MEASUREMENT “ OF CONTRADICTION, DURING THE PERIOD IN QUESTION IT REVALED ITSELF IN AN ALMOST “ PHISICAL” WAY, IN THE FORM OF “ACTIONS” WHOSE MEANING AND VALUE AS “ANTICIPATION” HAD BEEN REALIZED BY ARTISTS LIKE PASCALI AND KOUNELLIS , IF THIS WAS INDEED THE MEANING OF THEIR PROVOCATIVE GESTURE IN DRESSING THEMSELVES IN THE TOILET PAPER WHICH GROTTESI HAD USED FOR AN ENVIROMENTAL EXHIBITION. THE GROUP LABORATORIO 70, WAS CAPABLE OF OTHER PROVOCATIONS, SUCH AS WHEN THEY LED GOATS ON LEASH THROUG THE ART GALLERIES OF CENTRAL ROME, A FURTHER WALK THROUGH THE TOWN WITH “ PINCUS PILLS” SOME WOOD SCULPTURES, OR THE “ RED FOUNTAIN “ IN PIAZZA DEL POPOLO. THE END OF 1968 MARKED THE BEGINNING OF THE FIRST FEATURE FILM WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY GROTTESI , IN BLACK AND WHITE AND CALLED “TIME”, THE SUBJECT OF THE FILM WAS “THE GLOBAL CONDITION OF MANKIND”. IT HAD A MARCUSIAN SLANT. THIS WAS FOLLOWED BY “IL GESTO” ANOTHER FEATURE FILM , AND BY A NUMBER OF DOCUMENTARY FILMS ON THE EXPERIMENTAL THEATRE OF THE ROMAN AVANT-GARDE OF 1968, ON “ EXPERIENCE IN A NON –THEATRICAL SPACE” AND ON CONTEMPORARY ART WITH ZOOMTRACK .THERE WERE ALSO NUMEROUS FILMS BASED ON HISTORICAL RESEARCH , PARTICULARY ON ROMAN ARCHITECTURE, RANGING FROM VIGNOLA TO BORROMINI, FROM COPPEDE’ TO NERVI . GROTTESI PARTECIPATED IN ALL THE MAJOR FILM FESTIVALS AND IN 1976 HE WAS AWARDED THE EUROPA PRIZE AT BRUSSELS FOR THE BEST SHORT COLOUR FILM “ OLTRE CONCERTO” . IN 1971 HE REALIZED IN PORTO ERCOLE A “LARGE WHITE SPACE”, INCLUDING PAINTING, ARCHITECTURE AND MUSIC; IN 1976 HE WAS INVITED TO THE AMERICAN FORUM WASH ART IN WASHINGTON, AND IN 1977 AT THE SPAZIO A IN CAGLIARI HE TOOK PART AT GATHERING OF PAINTERS-PRODUCERS, DURING WHICH HE SCREENED HIS WORKS.
THE SEVENTIES
AS MALEVIC, GROTTESI ‘S FOREMOST EFFORT IS TO LET THE CRYSTAL TRANSPARENCY OF THE IDEA SHINE THROUGH IN HIS PAINTING. WHEN THE “REAL IMAGE” DISAPPEARED HE REPLACED IT WITH THE ABSTRACT FORM AND LIGHT OF PURE COLOUR. HAVING REFUSED A “ PHENOMINAL” SEMANTICS BETWEEN THOUGT AND GEOMETRICS WAS DEVELOPED THAT DEFINES NEAT STRUCTURES IN SPACE, IN CONTRAST WITH EACH OTHER AND INTERSECTING EACH OTHER. BUT WHILE MALEVIC DERIVES AN ABSTRACT FORM FROM HAVING OVERCOME CUBISM THROUGH AN EXTREME SIMPLIFICATION PROCESS AND BY THE REDUCTION OF GEOMETRIC COMPONENTS, GROTTESI MAKES USE OF ELEMENTARY EUCLIDIAN FIGURES: THE TRIANGLE, THE SQUARE AND THE CIRCLE, AS ARCHETYPAL FORMS. IN THIS WAY, JUST AS THE EGYPTIAN ARCHITECTS, GROTTESI WORKS IN SEARCH OF WELL-BALANCED FORCES TYPICAL OF THE TRIANGULAR SHAPE: BUT GROTTESI SEEMS TO BE MORE FASCINATED BY THE SYNTHESIS OF VERTICAL FORCES, SYMBOLICALLY SPIRITUAL CONCEPTS, WITH THOSE HORIZONTAL FORCES TIED TO THE PHENOMINAL AND SOCIAL RATHER THAN BY THE MEGALITHIC AND GIGANTIC MASS OF THE PYRAMIDES. GROTTESI PAINTS WITH A LIMPID, EXPLICIT, ALMOST GRAPHIC STROKE COMBINED WITH AN ALMOST SENSUAL PLEASURE. GROTTESI WORKING WITH THE BLACK PICTURE IN MIND WEAVES SLENDER STRUCTURES OF LIGHT , REDISCOVERS THE ARCHETYPAL FORM FREEING IT FROM THE VEIL OF MEMORY AND BEGINS AGAIN ON THE “ ALL WHITE” AND THE “ALL BLACK” OF MALEVIC.
1980’S
IN 1983, IN A NEW EXHIBITION AT THE “INCONTRO D’ARTE” GALLERY I ROME, ENTITLED” CAOS PROGETTO CAOS” GROTTESI PRESENTED A SYNTHESIS OF A FURTHER STAGE OF HIS RESEARCH, AND IN THE 1985 ANOTHER VERY IMPORTANT NEW ART EXHIBITION “ EMOZIONE DELLA MATERIA” AT CASTEL SANT’ANGELO IN ROME, WHERE GROTTESI PRESENTED PAINTINGS AND SOME SCULPTURES.
GROTTESI FELT THE NEED OF AN INTELLECTUAL SYNTHESIS BETWEEN THE ART AND THE LIFE, THE IDEOLOGY AND THE WORLD, THE ORDER AND THE CONFUSION, THE ABSOLUTE AND THE RELATIVE THE REASON AND THE CRAZINESS; IN THE EXPLICIT PAINTING, THE SPACE TRANSFERRED TO GEOMETRIC SHAPES , GAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO START A DIALOGUE THAT STIMULATED THE COMPLEMENTARY AND INTEGRATIVE TRAITS OF THE SINGLE POSITIONS.
GROTTESI’S PAINTING SHOW THE CHAOS EVENT IN THAT TROUBLING STAIN OF COLOUR WITH WHICH THE “INFORMAL” EMBEZZLES THE STRUCTURE OF THE FORM . IN THE ART EXHIBITION “ EMOZIONE DELLA MATERIA” AT CASTEL SANT’ANGELO, THE EMOTION GIVEN BY THE COLOUR OVERHANGS THE CLEAR ARGUMENTS OF GEOMETRY. THE PREGNANT CANVAS SHIELDS THE PRIVACY OF CREATION: THE BASIC CONTRADICTIONS DRAW TOGETHER ON THE VISUAL RESULT OF THE EVENT.
CONSCIENCE COMES FROM THE ART-LIGE, THE LIE –TRUTH SYMBIOSIS .
IN EXALTS FERTILITY IN THE MARRIAGE OBJECTIFYING DIFFERENT AND OPERATIVE EMBRYONIC –ELEMENTS.
IN THE INSISTENT RYTHM OF THE CURRENCY, THE BLACK HOLE OF PAINGINT DRAGS THE IMAGE TOWARDS IT. THE IMAGE IS THUS LIKE SWALLOWED UP BY EXISTENCE .
THE THICKNESS OF THE COLOUR CONCEALS THE CHROMATIC EVIDENCE OF GAUDY AND VARIOUS FORMS: IT OBJECTIFIES THE RESPIRATION OF THE SPACE IN THE EXHAUSTING RYTHM OF ITS EXISTENTIAL GROWTH , INCREASING ITS WEIGHT . SYNTHESIS SEEMS PROBABLE IN SILENCE ASSERTION.
ONCE IN THE INFORMAL MAGMA AND FILTERED IN VERY NARROW SPACES OF LIGHT , ANALYSIS REVEALS THE GESTATION PROCESS OF THE SUBSTANCE: LIKE AN ENDOSCOPIC PROBE, LIGHT PENETRATES THE PHASES OF ORGANIC AND CELLULAR FORMATIONS OF THE CREATIVE DATUM.
COLOUR, A PRODUCT OF SUSTANCE, DEVELOPS THE SEQUENCE OF GEOMETRIC POINTS TOWARDS ITS FORMAL IDENTIFICATION.
THE SERIES OF BIG CANVAS (1982-1985 ), RESOLVES IN THE ILLUSTRATIVE DICTATION THE SEQUENCE ENLARGED BY THE DETAILS OF METAMORPHOSIS.
THE SAME SERIES GRASPS THE SYNTHESIS OF THE MACROCOSM IN THE STRUCTURE OF THE MICROCOSM. THE WIDE SPACE OF THE CANVAS WRAP UP THE SUNK UNDER WATER LIFE, LIKE SEA-DEPTHS: YET, THE WAVES OF THIS INFORMAL COURSE RECALL THE EMOTIVE VALUE OF A SENTIMENTAL DIMENSION, BIOLOGICALLY PRIVILEGING THE VITAL PERFORMANCE OF THE PICTORIAL IMPRESSION. AS A CONSEQUENCE, THE IRRATIONAL, LIMITED AND WIDENED IN THE BEGINNING AND IN THE END BY THE FULL AND EMPTY SURFACE, STIMULATES THE FUNDAMENTAL DEMONSTRATION OF GROTTESI’S DICTATION. THAT’S HOW CHAOS ENDS IN THE SPACE OF LIGHT.
IN THE 1985 GREAT INTERNATIONAL PUBBLIC SUCCESS WITH “ EMOZIONE DELLA MATERIA” AT CASTEL SANT’ANGELO MUSEUM. THEN IN THE 1995 AT PALAZZO FALCONIERI ACCADEMIA D’UNGHERIA IN VIA GIULIA ROME WITH “ REALTA’ DELL’ASSENZA” ANOTHER WORLDWIDE SMASHING SUCCESS, MANY ENGLISH VISITORS WRITE ON THE VISITOR’S BOOK “ AMAZING FROM A DISTANCE”.GROTTESI WERE INVITATED IN GERMANY IN THE 1993 WHERE STAY FOR FOUR YEARS WITH A VERY INTERESTING EXHIBITIONS: ECHO WELLEN GEOMETRIE AT SCARPATI’S GALLERY WUPPERTAL, KUNST AUF DER TALSOHLE AND URSPRUNG GALERIE L IN MONCHENGLADBACH, DUSSELDORF 1996.
IN MARCH OF 2002 WAS INVITATED AT SALA DEL BRAMANTE IN PIAZZA DEL POPOLO ROME WITH ANTHOLOGICAL EXHIBITION OF PAINTINGS FROM 1990 TO 1996.
IN THE APRIL OF 2002 WERE INVITATED FROM PRATO CULTURAL COUNCILLOR FOR AN ART EXHIBITION “ORIGINE” THE FIRST PERIOD OF THE LAST PICTORIAL SEARCH.IN THE 2003 GROTTESI WRITE HIS BIOGRAPHY PRINT IN THE 2005 FROM PIERALDO ARTE EDITORE ROME. IN THE APRIL 2006 THE BOOK “ VITA E ARTE SUL FILO DELLA MEMORIA” WAS PRESENTED ON INITIATIVE OF THE MAJOR OF ROME WALTER VELTRONI AT SALA PIETRO DA CORTONA IN CAMPIDOGLIO.