Emilio Scanavino. Come fuoco nella cenere. Grandi formati. Opere 1960 - 1980

Dep Art Gallery
Sep 14, 2019 1:18PM

Museum MARCA of Catanzaro from 16 May to 31 August 2019 presents “Emilio Scanavino. Come fuoco nella cenere. Grandi formati. Opere 1960-1980” curated by Greta Petese and Federico Sardella, an exhibition dedicated to the Italian artist, focused on his large-scale works from the most prestigious Italian collections and in collaboration with Archivio Scanavino. The exhibition catalogue, published by Silvana Editoriale, offers a closer look at the Maestro’s poetics, thanks to essays by the curators, special interviews and some amazing photos of the artist in his everyday life and in his studio.

Emilio Scanavino Catalogue

Emilio Scanavino (1922 –1986) has been one of the first the few artists who started working on the large format already in the fifties, maybe because space is what you need to truly investigate the depth of human nature, its fragility, its loneliness and the frenetic tension between opposites like order-disorder, full-empty.

The title of the exhibition pays homage to an emblematic work dated 1960, Come fuoco nella cenere, exhibited the same year at the Venice Biennale, which at that time dedicated a personal room to the artist: in this masterpiece, a series of presences clearly emerge and, within it, Scanavino develops a series of spatial relations

Installation view @ MARCA Catanzaro

The Scanavino’s language is permeated with a spiritual feeling, a real “gut feeling”, that finds in the geometry the way to be narrated, to reveal itself in a physical dimension.

Museum MARCA, thanks to its big spaces, is perfect to exhibit these large-scale paintings, where the visitors could let themselves be totally enraptured in the immensity of the background colours of the canvases, the evanescent presences in them, the bloody tangles (the “knots”).The four-room exhibition is a unique chance to see the Genovese artist’s masterpieces united by the size of the canvases, shown in a chronological order, thereby giving the opportunity to understand how Scanavino evolved in his practice, starting from the paintings from the Sixties to the ones from the Seventies, where the signs is more calligraphic, detailed, geometric.

The main body of the exhibition is the series Alfabeti senza fine, where Scanavino introduces a reflection about temporality, where the artist’s famous knots (which are inserted into his work from the 1954) are like chrysalis of a clotted time.

Installation view @ MARCA Catanzaro

Art, in the Emilio Scanavino’s poetics, is the means to create a bond between the exterior and the interior world of a human being, the expression of all the relationships we have with other people, our environment, our habits, that maybe sometimes overwhelm us till the point of turning to a restriction.

All this complexity is expressed through wefts, where the calligraphic sign seems a scar, the materialization of existential suffering, and the module is how the artist is trying to make an order, formalising the above-mentioned relations in which time makes its mark (like in Alfabeto senza fine, 1974, where the knots, dripping with blood, seem to be a vestige of some old relationships).

The Alfabeti senza fine are an attempt to exorcise the void, defeat the absence, understand the death: “I carried with me a sense of death, or rather, I tried to understand death. I painted doors that were an attempt at going beyond life. A passage between life and death was sort of my hope, an attempt to understand” wrote the artist in 1964, referring also to what we can see in the third room of the exhibition at MARCA, like the artwork from the 1974 La scala impossibile, along with a pair of his famous series Punte

Installation view @ MARCA Catanzaro

What makes Emilio Scanavino a Maestro is the way he has created an actual language, with the definition of the sign, a dramatic gesture, where the knots are realised by subtraction of colour; thanks to this method he succeeded in making the spectators feeling the immensity of the infinite, making their eyes turn to be a hand touching the materiality of the unease, feeling it their gut, while the brushstrokes reveal a hidden world and the unspeakable becomes form.

Dep Art Gallery