Il lavoro di Francesco De Prezzo discorre generalmente sul rapporto percezione / spazio, ponendo questioni riguardanti la lettura e la presenza fisica di esso. Ha iniziato a lavorare nel 2014 alla “NULL serie”, una serie di lavori in cui la pratica pittorica prende un connotato particolarmente autoreferenziale, riprendo l’uso della pittura dal vero, abbandonata e fortemente in disuso da molto tempo nelle arti visive, ripropone viste del suo studio, l’ambiente in cui passa più tempo durante il giorno, si concentra a copiare materiali di scarto, stoffe e strutture che impiega per i lavori installativi.
Una volta terminata la rappresentazione, cancella l’immagine con dello smalto bianco, proprio come se stesse imbiancando distrattamente un muro, quest’operazione allude a uno “ sterminio delle immagini ” e amplia quindi la possibilità di lettura dell’ immagine riprodotta in precedenza, ora non più visibile. Apportando per sottrazione verso gli elementi rappresentati un valore aggiunto, osservando il risultato finale di questo processo si innesca anche un discorso riguardante il tempo in pittura, il periodo di realizzazione dell’ opera che si scontra con il rapido intervento di negazione della stessa, lasciando ancora al di sotto dello strato monocromo di pittura bianca parte del dipinto.
Riorganizzando una rilettura complessiva dello spazio , si stabilisce un confronto , che oscilla fra presenza e assenza del soggetto stesso.
MURAILLE DE PEINTURE Alberto Zanchetta
“(…) Giocando sull’ambiguità lessicale del termine “pittore” (che identifica sia l’artista che l’imbianchino), De Prezzo dipinge i suoi soggetti in punta di pennello, lo fa con una deferenza al vero tipica dell’Iperrealismo. Capziosità tecnica che alla resa dei conti viene negata, diciamo pure “intonacata”. Più che deturpata, l’immagine è [tra]sfigurata dallo scorrere dei rulli usati dagli imbianchini. L’eloquenza della pennellata iniziale, quel modus pingendi che distingue un pittore da un altro, viene offuscato da stesure impersonali, inespressive e inemotive. De Prezzo rimbianca la tela così come si farebbe con una parete di una stanza. Ancora una volta ci troviamo di fronte a una muraille de peinture che intende annichilire l’immagine, restituendo alla tela il suo colore intonso, quel bianco di fondo che era stato violato dal gesto pittorico. Nello chef-d’œuvre di Frenhofer sopravviveva ancora un piccolo brandello anatomico, unico indizio della sua maniacale opera di rifinitura. Allo stesso modo, siamo costretti ad appellarci ai pochi particolari rimasti indenni dallo scorrere – impietoso ancor più che furioso – del rullo per riuscire a [ri]conoscere gli oggetti dipinti da Francesco De Prezzo. In ultima analisi, non possiamo che convenire sul fatto che il suo discorso metapittorico abbracci la filosofia nietzschiana, dimostrandoci come la tensione creativa sia riconducibile a un recondito desiderio di distruzione. Questi dipinti-ridipinti possiedono una carica di ambiguità/ambivalenza che ci invita a guardare allo sterminio delle immagini come a una forma di rigenerazione materiale e concettuale.”
It was Rainer Maria Rilke who reminded us that Paul Cezanne stood up right in the middle of a meal «when he told of Frenhofer – the painter that Balzac, with incredible foresight of future developments, invented in his story Le chef-d’oeuvre inconnu […] – and, losing his voice from excitement, points his finger, repeatedly, with clarity to himself and shows himself, himself, himself, however much pain could be in this». This same episode would be recalled by Émile Bernard, who described Cézanne intent on striking his chest with his index finger, affirming that he was the protagonist of the novel and in doing this his eyes had turned red to the point that they seemed about to erupt into a river of tears. Not wrongly, Cézanne had ended up identifying himself in Frenhofer, a conviction supported by Poussin who, as in the role deuterogamist of the novel, ends up by comparing the oeuvre inconnu to a muraille de peinture (The Maestro di Aix was known to declare that he wished to redo “Poussin sulla natura”, meaning that he hoped to render Impressionism as solid and durable as the paintings of the old Masters). Cézanne has often been defined as an architect because of his irreducible volition to build image; indeed, with a few touches of colour he was able to obtain this much longed for plastic solidity. But despite the fact that his paint strokes were pregnant with structure and meaning, there are those who had unjustly demeaned him to mediocre bricklayer. Salvador Dalí, for example, taunted him by defining him as a «Neoplatonic bricklayer»2. No less lenient had been Manet’s judgement who presented his friend as a bricklayer painting with trowel, an invective recalled in the pages of L’instransigeant, where Henri Rochefort laughed at a head, by Cezanne, the cheeks of which seemed to have been “hammered with a trowel”. Despite the opinion of his detractors, Cezanne’s trowel-paintbrush could obtain that sublime wall of painting that we, today, admire and envy. The oppression of the image – this concealment that holds in itself the prophecy of an iconographic oblivion in reality hides a yearning for perfection, always neglected, always unquenchable. Incessantly accumulated, the layers of painting described by Balzac end up denying/ sacrificing the previous work. This is what happens in the works of Francesco de Prezzo, the latest in a series of new Frenhofers who in the preceding decades had moved from the Erased De Kooning by Robert Rauschenberg and the übermalung by Arnulf Rainer. Also the overpainted paintings by Joan Miró, Enrico Baj, Asger Jorn and Peter Schuyff had detracted from the pre-existing image.
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.
Francesco De Prezzo’s fascination and insight into the concepts of time and space provide a distinct conceptual foundation for his installation and performance works. His paintings, art installations and photos deal with the theme of border crossing and the subsequent creation of new thought and existences. The tactile and demonstrative quality of these explorations facilitates the comprehension of both physical and internal perception, where personal intuition and external context combine to create a new sense of awareness.
De Prezzo’s explanation of the ‘bittersweet’ threshold, that which falls between pleasure and pain, is central to his work. It is defined as a spatial condition, difficult to rationalise, in which mental satisfaction coincides with the pain caused by memories and principles of struggle. The combination of opposing concepts enables a gratification yet also engages with psychological undertones and engrosses the psyche. His work perfectly exemplifies the MTArt vision, where a strong underlying concept supports a conceptually and technically innovative enterprise.
His most recent installations denote a return to a gestural approach to materials, typical to his early works. The manipulation of various textiles soaked in plaster creates a direct translation of the pictorial into the plastic. With this method the materials are able to keep their expressive freshness whilst being frozen, via plaster solidification, into solid entities. Visual stimuli are thus transcribed not only in the bi-dimensional, as on canvas, but also in the tridimensional, as space defining structures.
_Marine Tanguy Contemporary art london,
“More or less all of my works are based on the concept of existence and identity.
I paint in oils from real life, on pieces of wood and fabric that I have in my studio. I spend hours reproducing them on canvas, just how they appear in front of me, then I nullify one part of the painting with white paint, thus…like a good masochist. What I mean to say is that: I spend a lot of time creating and little time overwriting but despite this I persist in wanting to erase forms.
I like thinking that under the white parts everything I painted still exists… and, that one day, someone discounting one of my works will find the underling part beneath.
For installations and photos I put forward images that similarly reflect on the fact of “existing”, of occupying a space. They are very humble and simple structures, even a bunch of planks of wood, indeed a sheet in the wind is an object that manifests its presence…I find that working with simple objects renders the work much more poetic.
The images are strong in their fragility, unstable entities that confront reality and therefore measure its existence. Thus I believe that my installation work is a continuous attempt to measure the existence of certain presences.”