PAINTING | ARTWORKS | PROJECT
“Qualis artifex pereo…”
If ever there is a germane moment in an artist’s life to take Nero, the fifth Emperor of Rome, seriously, and, consequently, to try to correctly translate his words, it is precisely during a pandemic!
( December 2019 – August 2021 )
[Q#-1] – QUASSATURA
[Q#-1] There is a socially brushed aside, yet imperceptible and uncontrollable shaking every time our hands reach out for the truth of other hands. Our bones ought to be so wrinkled! And those wrinkles ought to emanate unapologetic coppery scorched scents of intermittent frustrations! I know that in the autumns to come, my bones will ache, and so will yours, and our shakings will merge and our hands will merge and the pilot-vibrations will merge into enough damage to our egos that we will become addicted to it. Those sugary infra-amalgamations will surely be our pyre! When the varnish started to settle on this rather tactile work, a Quarantine began.
[Q#2] – “…QUAECUMQUE SUNT VERA…”
[Q#2] This is an “acrylic EKG” on a sheet of paper as heavy as, allegedly, 7% of my soul. It is a work toned down by the inception of a Quarantine, while sharpened by a scared anamnesis of previous attempts to chromatically explore the ontology of the self. This is, in fact a freeze-frame that pinpoints the very moment when a reluctantly parleyed “cordon sanitaire” turned into an aloof “cordon solitaire”. It is meant to be “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” of an identity crisis, a psychoanalytic pangram comprising every single letter used to spell out the consciousness of finitude. Most surprisingly for an agnostic, the title of this work comes from Philippians 4:8 (KJV): “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true (quaecumque sunt vera), whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things”.
[Q#5] “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” It was the novelty and the sterility of a mid-Quarantine. It was, indeed, Dickensian in its unravelling, reeking of imaginary, unsavory characters and cautionary tales… ‘twas a true “tale of two cities”: one outside my window, vacant, pointless, yet alluring like never before; the other one, a jailbird inside my head, since my abode seemed breached by a myriad of emotions running amok. Between those two incongruous threads of reality– the impetuousness of a quiritatio, a cry for help that seemed marooned between TV sound bites and online angst, between térébenthine fetor and home-cooked meals eroticism. It all converged towards the acrylic exorcism that, upon your gaze, may break down the fourth wall of pandemic rigmarole.
[Q#13] – QUADRATURA (BLUEPRINT)
[Q#13] The year is 2021 and, under my trepid gaze and anxious stupor, a post-Quarantine reverie started to unkink, ushering in a Baroque schmaltz designed to rock the coherence that Hieronymus Bosch bestowed upon me in the months before epidemiology wedged its life-or-death statistics between my routines and my creativity, turbo-charging my brush towards exploits of acrylic alliterations and distorted frameworks of dynamic tranquility the likes of which architects dread and artists eroticize, unplugging centennial ceilings from my memory lane only to adorn them, in mirrored re-contextualization, with anamorphic delineations that clogged my neuronal pathways for weeks-on-end, for metronomic dead-stops, for mental reprises, for emotional sprints… In short, Life spells Gesamtkunstwerk.
[Q#15] – QUO USQUE TANDEM? (IN BLOOM)
[Q#15] It is the spring of 2022, April is just around the corner. Sandalwood again, cooling down my blood pressure, no anosmic daze clouding my neuronal pathways. The shades of green taste tangy afresh. My pinkie traces impasto remnants of tow-colored musings. Sinister anxiety still deregulating my heartbeats, in dissonance with the erogenous pressure points puppeteering my right hand. Beyond the organic geometry of the gold leafs scattered upon my desk, the ominous gossips of a new Quarantine turn me, once again, to Cicero’s First Catiline Oration: “Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra? Quam diu etiam furor iste tuus nos eludet? Quem ad finem sese effrenata iactabit audacia?” (When, O Catiline, do you mean to cease abusing our patience? How long is that madness of yours still to mock us? When is there to be an end of that unbridled audacity of yours, swaggering about as it does now?)
These are works created between December 2019 and August 2021. They are the offspring of a “cordon sanitaire” that challenged my cloistered creative impulses to the brink of burnout. On the sunny side of the process, my decade-long interest in a multifaceted abstract expressionism was nurtured by the “cordon solitaire” that the COVID-19 “Q”uarantine imposed upon me. I think that, for any artist, obsession is coherence, even more so when his senses are under siege. My own coherence was driven by a documentarian impulse coupled with an identity reconstruction: you are “reading”, in fact, selected pages from an “acrylic journal”, warts and all… Incidentally, I’ve always thought that reading between the lines, no matter how blurred their askew edges, is the key to immersive empathic analogies – especially when it comes to lyrical abstractions that connect egos and souls.