Wednesday, 28 December 2011

dancing geometry

”In my life I made a lot of mistakes,
if I could go back in time...
I would have made much more!”

Leopoldo Terreni

Several years ago (ars longa, vita brevis disgracefully) I shared
a studio with a gifted, sagacious painter, a real virtuoso 
who can draw everything from sharp-witted comic strips 
to large frescos or true-to-the-original reproductions of 
oil paintings of the great masters of Italian Renaissance
with scrupulous attention to detail.

The name of this versatile artist is Leopoldo Terreni,
born in Terricciola, a small town on the pleasant hills
of Tuscany home of fine wines and strawberries,
he showed his talent in drawing ever since a young boy
covering the community's piazza with colored chalks
(driving the whole hamlet insane, though).

Leopoldo is a true iconoclast writing corrosive or delicate
lyrics who made a living by painting as well sketching zany
caricatures for daily papers in Italy and abroad, who came
to develop throughout the years his naif, self-ironic 
geometric shaped human figure with triangular head 
he christened as 'Pirotalco' which briskly became 
the symbol of his distinctive style.

Caustic, sharp two-dimensional characters and imaginary
animals with a surprising mimic expressivity often hiding cryptic 
messages or play on words and arrière-pensées criticizing
power and the lack of civic pride in contemporary society.
Leopoldo paints carefully, with the true ability of a craftsman,
his strokes are always neat, every single line is drawn by hand,
every texture rendered in detail thanks to his own technique
in oil painting which requires lots of time and devotion being
made of several layers of turpentine-diluted color.

It's small wonder his solo exhibitions always bear sardonic titles  
such as ”Consciousness of Ambiguity” or ”The Certainty of Doubt”
like the latest one I came to visit, called ”Thirty Paintings, Thirty”
in which he put on display works from the last couple of years
where his shaky, dancing geometries are fenced by 
architectural frameworks and vibrant blue hues.

Leopoldo invented the rocking paintings by placing his suggestive
artworks upon a wired metal structure able to sway to and fro
reviving Duchamp's lesson in his own aesthetic irreverent code,
an improved form of 'emotional engine'.

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