FRANCESCO DE PREZZO
Lives and Works in Brescia
Selected solo Exhibitions/
-“There was here first”, Fondazione Musil [Brescia]
-“Null Paintings”, Loom gallery [Milan]
-“Blayer”, Galleria Maurizio Caldirola, Monza [Milan]
-“Represent” Palazzo Monti- residency program [Brescia]
curated by Marialuisa Pastò
2019 -“Homeworks”, SpazioTripla, [Bologna]
Selected group Exhibitions/
-“Spatial Perceptions” Latin Art Gallery [New York]
-“Francesco De Prezzo, Kunstakademie Düsseldorf Raum 116”
Kunstakademie Düsseldorf [Düsseldorf]
-Project space Galleria Massimo Minini [Brescia]
-“Aequilibrium” , LOOM gallery [Milan]
-“MELT”, Mta , [London]
-“Premio Michetti “, Fondazione Michetti, [Francavilla al mare]
-“70° edizione Premio Lissone 2016” [Lissone-Milan]
– “Francesco De Prezzo, Pierre Etienne Morelle, Louise Reith” Loom Gallery,
Miart 2017 [Milan]
– “ Biennale”, LOOM Gallery [Milan]
“Their ‘over-painted works’ are nothing but canvases bought at second hand markets on which the artists have decided to intervene with the purpose of irony. Filtering past and present art over-painting is typical example of first the avant-garde debate and then the post-modernist one. However, De Prezzo’s case is different: the artist does not use some tableaux trouvés but he himself paints the image which he will then erase with wide, white backgrounds. Playing on the lexical ambiguity of the work ‘painter’ (painter) (which identifies both the artist and the decorator), De Prezzo paints his subjects with the tip of his paintbrush and does it with a deference to the truth typical of hyper-realism. Technical speciousness that in the end is denied, let us even say ‘painted over’. Rather than defaced, the image is [dis]figured by the use of decorators’ rollers. The eloquence of the initial stroke, that modus pingendi which distinguishes a painter from another, is tarnished by coats that are impersonal, inexpressive and un-emotive. De Prezzo whitens the canvas just as one would a wall of a room. Once again we find ourselves facing a muraille de peinture that wants to erase the image, giving back to the canvas its pristine colour, that background white which had been violated by the pictorial gesture. In Frenhofer’s masterpiece a small anatomic shred still survived, the only evidence of his manic refining work. In the same way we are forced to rely on the very few details still untouched by the wheeling (pitiless, more than furious) of the roller to be able to [re] acknowledge the objects painted by Francesco De Prezzo. In a last analysis, we must agree that his meta-pictorial experience accepts Nietzsche’s philosophy, thus proving that creative tension can be explained by a hidden desire for destruction. These repainted paintings possess such ambiguity/ ambivalence that we are invited to consider the extermination of images as a way of material and conceptual regeneration.”
Seeing the form
Sensing the space
Seizing the ecstasy
(…) These words, written by Emil Cioran in 1934 in Lacrimi și sfinți (Tears and Saints), can outline the theoretical, stylish and aesthetic concepts of Francesco De Prezzo’s works.
The awareness in his research is as a constant comings and goings between pictorial and sculptural space. In this way, it seems to me free to wander beyond the cosmic limits of which the Romanian philosopher talks about.
Nowadays the gaze “becomes blind. It loses cognitive depth. It becomes omnivorous. It is too fast and distracted to become knowledge, emotion and meaning”1. Nowadays the collective consciousness is already overflowing and made blind by the suffocating increase of digital images. Therefore Francesco De Prezzo chooses to take an opposite path.
His production of images, his creation of potential spaces and his re-founding of the reality’s appearance occur through a process, which takes advantage of the images’ lack itself.
Meanwhile, what is the space of the artwork? Is it that which endures and is presented as a sort of metallic and skeletal structure? Is it that which is contained within it, without being revealed?
Is it that which you can observe into the paintings themselves as they appear to the viewer? Or is it that which is hidden beyond the first colours coat and which prevents the real vision of what is beyond?
We can see nothing except the nothingness, and this probably is the whole, in a continuous comings and goings through places and dimensions, hanging in the balance between visible and invisible.
Let us take a step back. Francesco De Prezzo has decided to entitle his last exhibition Represent. Representing is in fact the first action that the artist performs in chronological order. He starts from the reality as it stare in front of him and he duplicates it on the canvas as a reproduction of reality. Soon after, it happens a process of “rejection” of reality, which the artist expresses through a “dissolution”.
The long period of construction is thus deleted in a second step of cancellation. Perhaps, this is the most important phase of his creation. Francesco De Prezzo uses a solvent to interact with the painting.
He rejects the reality reflection to give his own representation of the visible through an instinctive and destroying action. In this way, the cornerstone of his research arises. It is continually involved to support the alchemical power hidden behind the transformation of an image and its re-foundation.
The universe created by Francesco De Prezzo through his artworks is an immersive and comfortable place, even in its coldness and aseptic mode. It makes me think about the meaning of looking. Nowadays, we spend a lot of our time looking at images, photos and posts on social networks like Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. This habit to skim constantly visual moments and instants of reality is leading us to a danger of de-realization of all areas of our lives. We often look, but at the same time, we do not look at all.
ThiS privilege of seductive aspect of hyper-dynamic vision does not increase more material and real aspects of physicality and more unworldly and imaginative ones of intuition. This happens because we live in an unconscious and disconnected way from the world.
In some ways, De Prezzo’s attitude is linked to that same disembodied gaze and it leads to an inability to see. Meanwhile, his focus on the concept of “lack of image” activates an opposite reflection. We must then return to look carefully at the world around us. We must return to observe and at the same time to imagine.
His paintings are like a “fluid” body with his sculptures (cited FDP). They are, in this sense, an invite to look at where we live, to question ourselves on the real nature of what we see and of what we do not see. It is a way to welcome the limit of perceptual faith and its duty to its dark side.2
It is a process of sensorial activation, which generates a phenomenon, able to go beyond the simple artistic sphere. In this way, it enters into a wider ecology’s sense of seeing and acting.
A weakened universe is created by this combination of sculpture and painting. It reactivates the imaginative and intuitive skills that we believed lost.
The work of Francesco De Prezzo projects us into a dimension of total dematerialization within which the digitized human being of 21st century lives. It is a suspended world, where the attentive and aware vision has lost its supremacy, leaving space for visual devices with an ephemeral attitude and a vulnerable meaning.
His work talks about dematerialization, suspension, uncertainty and inconsistency. All these words can be confirmed into the social, political and economic dynamics of our time. The artist translates them hiding on purpose the world’s image. It is a symptomatic attitude of this era, so proud of its awareness that it has been defined as the age of the Great Derangement (Amitav Ghosh, 2017).
“Recognition is famously a passage from ignorance to knowledge. To recognize, then, is not the same as an initial introduction. Nor does recognition require an exchange of words: more often than not we recognize mutely. And to recognize is by no means to understand that which meets the eye; comprehension need play no part in a moment of recognition. The most important element of the word recognition thus lies in its first syllable, which harks back to something prior, an already existing awareness that makes possible the passage from ignorance to knowledge: a moment of recognition occurs when a prior awareness flashes before us, effecting an instant change in our understanding of that which is beheld. Yet this flash cannot appear spontaneously; it cannot disclose itself except in the presence of its lost other. The knowledge that
results from recognition, then is not of the same kind as the discovery of something new: it arises rather from a renewed reckoning with a potentiality that lies within oneself.” (…)
“In its most literal sense, the term representation acquires the meaning of re-presentation – that is making something present again.
The title of the show “Represent” refers both to the act of representing and to the content of the representative action itself, the image that becomes object in order to be communicated to someone else.
The works by Francesco De Prezzo (*1994) are the result of an action that copies from reality elements borrowed by the surrounding environment and portions of its studio.
His subjects pass onto the canvas, giving life to faithful reproductions that wonder about the spatial relation between each other and the one between the observer and the observed object.
After this first phase comes a covering action, through which the images resolve their authenticity in a process of self-negation. Thick layers of white polish or solvent applied on the finished forms wipe out most of their comprehension, keeping the integrity of just a few fragments.
The big uniform layers of rolled color that overwrite the preexisting image – as does the melted polish – transform the canvas into an open space, full of possibilities where nothing seems to undermine the circumstances of change.
De Prezzo rethink the relation between space and dimension and raises questions on the dynamics of the fruition of art, giving them a new interpretation.
His gesture is quiet and silent, transforming the eloquence of the reproduced object into a link between concealment and manifestation. It runs from painting emphasis and quests for a natural conclusion in the absence of noise, which – in fact –
hides by unveiling. And by doing this, it finally invites the observer into a silent complicity.”