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A statement on Antonio

By Antonio Natali, former director of the Uffizi

What is, in the disturbance of the soul, the threshold beyond which the paths of the mind that wind along mysterious routes are lost? The admissible thoughts (those who understand the most) are all on this side of the Pillars of Hercules. Beyond that limit, there is the loss of a sea that may have no borders. We do not know - of these departures - what the landing place will be, if there is one: a new world or a not very old one; or even nothing; and forever. Those who stay on the routes used have the certainty of sharing. Or, at least, of a possible intelligence; whatever his language. But the creative instinct is difficult to circumscribe; indeed, it would seem that the cage of certainties can also cloud feelings and discourage poetry.


This came to mind in front of Antonio Brizzolari's inventions; especially those that can be seen as machines for flying to remote coasts, very distant and different from ours. All the more so when I read the notes taken by Elena Bottinelli, who had transcribed her words to me, in support of her thematic preferences:


"We are headed towards a change of species, now we see reality with our eyes, then we will go in a new direction, man will evolve and look to new dimensions, for this we need spaceships. As a child I used to draw very beautiful airplanes, then I started painting spaceships.


Words that inevitably - I believe - will recall a passage from the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians:


Prophecies will disappear, the gift of tongues will cease and knowledge will vanish. In fact we know imperfectly and we prophesy imperfectly, But when what is perfect will come, what is imperfect will disappear, when I was a child, I thought as a child, I reasoned as a child. Having become a man, I have eliminated the one who is a child. Now we see in a confused way, as in a mirror; then instead we will see each other face to face. Now I know imperfectly, but then I will know perfectly (1 Cor 13: 8-12).


Prophets cannot be expected to be reasonable, let alone judicious. The look that crosses time cannot be in the eyes of an ordinary man. Perhaps it can be difficult to follow the paths of inspiration of those who are not ordinary.

Equally difficult, after all, is the acceptance of a diversity that presents itself with the rough contours of those who see (or even live) a reality that is even incompatible with that usually perceived. Faced with Brizzolari's fiery epiphanies, the discomfort of the inability to relate to an unknown world can manifest itself. And to prove him right, we will strive to find cultural references that can appease the senses of an intellectual refusal. So it can happen to see the reverberations at times of Van Gogh's luminous chromatic tangles, at times of COBRA's colorful expressionism.


Other times of the naive composition of Ligabue, or of the lanky figures of the Transavanguardia (moreover by Brizzolari explicitly mentioned in some marginal notes of his works), and so on. All sources admissible for a painter who, as a young man, trained in an artistic high school. But any reference will only serve to allay the anxiety for an understanding made difficult by the absence of a common plan of understanding.


For Brizzolari, painting is not just the way to communicate the sensations germinated by existence. For him, painting "is" existence; or at least, an inevitable part of it. And that this is not a judgment to be quickly relegated to the rhetorical formulas of art criticism, it seems to me that the supports on which Brizzolari stops his colorful thought can attest to it. They range from body parts to clothing; hats, jackets, ankle boots. Indeed, I will say that he himself dresses as if it were a work out of his hands.


It is also for this reason that the magnificent photographic portrait of Aldo Fallai - San Girolamo del Merisi suits him perfectly: that red, silky and dazzling cloth that runs around a naked body, truly marked by the years as the learned hermit figured by Caravaggio (in the wrinkles of the shortened face, in the parched hands, in the silver threads that crown the baldness at the top of the skull), could really, for Brizzolari (who is fascinated by the inflamed colors), become an elegant evening dress ".

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