Since being featured in the 2003 Venice Biennale, Alessandro Papetti emerged as one of the most important Italian painters today. Let us now introduce you to his latest art project, featuring cities (such as Paris) in motion.
Alessandro Papetti is a self-taught artist. His most noticeable influences include Francis Bacon and Alberto Giacometti, and his most recognizable body of work is focused on industrial archaeology, portraits and studies of nudes, frequently painted from a high-angle perspective. He has been exhibiting since 1980 and recent museum exhibitions include the Galleria Comunale d’Arte in Cesena, Italy, and the Musei Civici di Villa Manzoni in Lecco, again Italy.
And yet Papetti is also a lover of photography, so it was only a matter of time before he would actually attempt to “capture” the moment on canvas in the same way a camera does, within a fraction of a second. And his object could only be of urban nature. Fast, furious, grey, his cities are unstoppable, restless, one can almost hear the motors running, the tyres almost “screaming” out loud. And of course, these scenes void of people and convey a sense of loneliness that one can feel, especially when surrounded by thousands – no faces, no names.
“I try not to tell a story when painting. It is normal for the spectator to see what he wants, or is able, to see. We love what is already ours. Sometimes art merely underscores this fact of belonging. However, I believe that in most cases, the less we know about something, the more we perceive it for what it really is“, Papetti explains. And we bow down.
“The first, and perhaps the most illuminating thing to be said about the art of Alessandro Papetti is that it is profoundly Italian. No artist of course ever successfully conceals his national, traditional and psychological origins, though some are more prone to do so than others. One thinks of Van Gogh. But not Papetti. It is not his subject matter that evokes the homeland. In this he is truly international, and entirely his own era despite seeming reminiscences of styles of the past. These are resemblances only. What is Italian about Papetti is his masterly self-effacement in confrontation with the subject matter. As a person he never gets in the way of what the artist is doing. The art is there, and he is the innocent perpetrator of what his hand instructs him to do, he sees, to be sure, what he is doing, but when he is working none of what he sees is visible to the spectator. We see the art. He sees the creation. In this symbiosis dwells the joy – that is, the truth – of aesthetic gratification“, said James Lord, while in Paris, back in 1997 about Papetti.