Abstraction: New Episodes



Angela Madesani, in the catalogue of the exhibition Astrazione: nuovi episodi, Galleria Bianconi, Milan, October 2009

Introduction

It may seem easy to look at the times we live in with a certain amount of detachment, with a critical attitude. After all, we live in truly unique times, in social, artistic and cultural terms. For many years now, provocation for its own sake and the extemporaneous gimmick pour épater le bourgeois have been the order of the day.
Guy Debord foresaw the entertainment society in the late Fifties. If we read him now he seems to be telling the story of our times: times of cultural consumerism, times when everything is entertainment, times when things must become events to be interesting. "Audience" is the magic word, the chimera for which we strive spasmodically. We sense a febrile drive to achieve something new, an avant-gardism for its own sake, that sometimes reveals the unmistakeable features of academia.
In such a climate it seemed an interesting idea to take a look at one of the most traditional media from the history of art: painting.
[...]
If I wanted to identify a common thread shared by the work of the six artists on exhibition, I would say it was a concept that American art historian Rosalind Krauss expressed in a series of essays recently: the post-medium.
[...]
Roberto Rizzo also goes beyond […] looking at the history of art and painting, but also at video art and expressions closer to our own contemporary technology. In his most recent works above all, there is a clear reference to the fluctuation of images that we see on the screen. What is created in his work is a dialogue between different languages capable of opening new doors to reflection on painting. One of the essential themes of his work is the role of space, consciously accepting its limits. Rizzo also writes about the theory behind his work, something very rare in artists of his generation. In this sense he is also influenced by his background, having studied with Carmengloria Morales.
Rizzo's work focuses on form. His works consist mainly of a monochrome background and a sort of painting within a painting, in which colour is broken up dramatically and viscerally, as in Titian's late masterpieces in the sixteenth century, an essential reference and field of study. Two areas that are made separately, with great precision. His concept of the monochrome does not consist of applying a single colour but is the result of a technical and mental process.
[...]
And so painting, a language that is more alive than ever today, is clearly in a position to act as a go-between, bringing together tradition and modernity.

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