To paint does not mean to understand everything that one sees, but it is without doubt a means of discovering and expressing that which still fascinates us in the world. Is art not in fact a way of penetrating the mystery of the world? As in a story in which time and space unveil themselves in perceptible and universal directions, Menchini's landscapes offer themselves to us as places of existence emerging from an unknown time and devoid of any geographical coordinate. They are natural microcosms, close-up visions of masses of vegetation and fragments of forms of nature which inhabit our world or germinate in other universes.
Menchini's visual geographies, realized in acrylic and watercolor on canvas or pen on paper, are born from the observation of external space, from its morphology and vitality as they relate to that of humanity. In this research, aimed at sounding out the world of which we are a part, landscape presents itself neither as “still life” nor as an inert place in the hands of man, but as a subject capable of psychologically influencing our perception of the world. If we think that landscape is the place which we come from, and that our mentality has been modeled upon it, then we are also nature, or rather part of the whole of all things and therefore one with it. It is starting from these concepts that Menchini's painting, oscillating between abstraction and representation, unveils the perception of our existence as landscape.
As testimonies to the dream of a reality consisting solely of plants, the works exhibited evoke a variety of scenes. A few recall crystallized visions of apparently unknown landscapes; others narrate the discovery of possible cases of incest between nature and urban residues from which unexpected symbolic structures are born; others still, through ever more detailed studies of vegetable fabrics, explore perceived impressions and generate graphical and abstract landscapes.
There are several bibliographical references that have inspired this cycle of works, but without doubt the most direct is Cristiano's personal experience, his time passed in the heart of Versilia and his deep attachment to the landscape as a place to experiment with new points of view, a place of thinking and traveling as a form of discovery .
Each work is the fruit of a well-calibrated gestural approach. This does not involve adding other dimensions to the two that the canvas comprises, but simply placing one's own perception to the side and waiting for it to germinate and evoke primordial images. When Menchini starts to paint, he begins by elaborating discontinuous elements on the canvas, then proceeding to apply a series of of layers of colors and juxtapositions of strata dictated by the time required for them to dry. The vision is always frontal, and while he is able to play more with the fields of colors and positive and negative spaces when painting with acrylic and watercolor, alluding to a spatial depth that branches out and goes beyond; the fountain or ball-point pen on paper allows him to effect more analytic studies of the natural element, which becomes graphic and accurate.
This way of proceeding is finalized by the creation of ever more introspective, damp and metaphysical places in which “now” and “everywhere” are forever joined, where spontaneous groves of vines and not yet blooming flowers live unconditioned: an ecosystem such as the one imagined by the author, in which the natural organisms release and receive energy, surviving in total autonomy, free to exist with respect to their own equilibrium and resources.
Menchini's practice therefore takes as its subject the real, and the elements of it which are invisible to us: landscape and its representations are for him a time to get to know it better and to attempt to open up a new point of contact with it, and painting is the means through which all of this takes place, an alternative perspective through which to glimpse unexpected vistas.
Cristiano Focacci Menchini (1986) born in Viareggio, lives between Pietrasanta and Venice. After holding a Diploma in Design and Restoration of Art at Felice Palma Art Institute, he graduated with a BA of Painting and Visual Art at the Fine Art Academy of Venice. In 2013 he co-founded the collective How We Dwell with which he attended a residency program at the Fondazione Bevilacqua la Masa in Venice. In 2015 he was selected by Viafarini DOCVA in Milan as artist in residence, and his work has been exhibited at the Luigi Pecci Center of Contemporary Art in Prato in the group show TU35 Officina Giovani Prato.