“When we walk, we naturally go to the fields and woods: What would become of us, if we walked only in a garden or a mall?” Henry David Thoreau in The Atlantic in 1862.
God of the high places is a series of works that up to now includes some twenty paintings of various sizes and thirty watercolours. This ongoing group of works is the natural continuation of 404 Days of Rain. During 404 days of rain I was mostly concerned about a sincere narration through paintings of happenings and landscapes previously experienced and seen.
The element that mostly defines this group of paintings is a colourful palette and a clear figurative and unpretentious style. The use of figurative style was for me a great statement per se, it may be seen by many as backwards, anachronistic, but it offered me the great opportunity to see how the fictional representation of paintings has changed in the age of the digital technologies and as well it was for me, a painter, the most straightforward way to articulate emotions.
God of the high places was born as a result of my artist residency in Aurland, The series subjectively explores the connections between a clarifying walk/hike in the nature defined remedy to rumination by naturalistic philosophers and modern scientists and the archaic concept of sacredness of the high places (often the God of the Old Testament demanded the construction of altars/piles of stones on them). This love for “hiking” shared by archaic religions and modern thinkers, who are often against said religions has often fascinated me, but my Italian background, where the altars of the high places were quickly replaced by bell towers and nature is friendly to man, helped me maintaining a certain scepticism.
I decided then to “consecrate” my residency in Aurland to hike on the surrounding mountains for ten days. My impressions were recorded by pictures and watercolours.
These documentation is currently being re-elaborated into paintings. I finally rely on them the duty to explicit my thoughts, and feelings about long walks through high places.
Each of my works contains references to events that has happened or is happening
throughout our society.
For example the painting 'Delhi delight' which is based on a chronicle of “everyday Indian injustice” by the writer and journalist Arundathi Roy.
In the work 'pufferfish' (temporary title) the theme spans over the Inquisition and a couple of texts relating to that. One of them from the papal bull of Clement V, in which he approved the use of torture for a greater good, and another one from the archive of Francisco Franco, some lines that was part of a larger program to rehabilitate the image of the Sacred Inquisition by rewriting its history.
The work 'crane' (temporary title) mixes two texts, one is taken from a North Korean documentary about western propaganda and the other is taken from a 'Ted talks' interview of a North Korean girl who succeeded in escaping her country. Everything is covered by a traditional oriental decorative pattern representing flying cranes.
The work 'Act of faith' contains references to the Ezekiel's vision of God's Chariot, moving via the mundane act of faith of a killer-whale master, the idea of courtly love (‘o amor cortese’) and the open stigmata of Saint Frances, for his God-understanding.
In the paintings 'Holy family' and 'snake' (temporary titles) the references are more personal and melancholic.
The writings in my work are central. A text is something that needs a certain time, engagement and willingness to be read, especially if hand-written. Part of the writings underline a particular aspect of a work (the writings are the only subject of the work 'Detroit'), some of them are alien to the work (“a cold blue light, the light of a dying flame. Few days were left, at that point everything was crucial. The king called me. His castle was magnificent and sumptuous. I still remember the finely chiseled candelabra”... from 'Holy Family'), but in every case the writing amazes me for being an abstract pictorial gesture and at the same time a bridge to something that is figurative and solid.
All these themes mixed together give the viewers a wider sense of silent drama. Each painting’s story blends with the others, forming a different atmosphere.
In my personal understanding of a painter solo show, the atmosphere created by the combination of the singular paintings' individuality is what really matters. For instance, a “bad” painting in the context of a solo show can become fundamental and change radically the output of the whole show.