VITTORIO MATINO - AN UNSPEAKABLE KNOWLEDGE
By Domenico D'Oora
The contemporary artistic overview is controlled in an overwhelming way by expressions diffused with the most powerful and clamorous communicative modalities and that qualify themselves as artistic; they award themselves an “engagè aura”, proposing themselves as opposite vanguards of preservative expressions. Inverse to every original activity of the really creative thought, they broadcast from the most magisterial institutional headquarters, museums, biennial shows, etc, they set off just from the places where instead, art once upon a time, used to land; upsetting in this way, the prospect and the logic of an achievement and a divulgation. This kind of praxis sees all the museums in the world, everywhere and always cluttered with the same mediocre wares, this can’t overturn reality: in spite of the setting, it is absolutely that the academy to promulgate, the artistic vulgate to imitate. The thought, the meditation, the research, the poetry, the joy that new cognitive and emotive acquisitions can give us; however, art is somewhere else. The painting work of Vittorio Matino, unravels - from that study in Rue De Cinq Diamants in Paris in 1970 – always with the same, persistent resolution, with the same clear and steady will, open to any possible elaboration and verification, consecutively implying the research of a confirmation of the fact that only in the visual expression of the thought, you can represent what words will never be able to say, that with painting, more then anything, you can suggest, prefigure, illuminate, what you haven’t specify to intellect. Purpose all opposite to such “contemporary art” that originates from banalities, pseudo-provocations, gags – that if they are ambient, visual or behavioural it doesn’t matter – they are chosen just because their shocking effect will be expected, allowing the audience the thrill of “explaining” what already from the beginning, was well known. Only painting talks, faces those boundaries where the knowledge isn’t still consolidated, where it is always in making, in the hazard the possibility of expression of beauty, in the intuition the acquisition of knowing, painting true art, that will never misrepresent, penalty its own failure. During the time, Matino’s work, according to two logical constants, has had a continuous evolution; from a starting linear division of the pictorial surface, of which we have a parallel example with Ryman, to a warmer period in which the artist seems to perceive the necessity of a synthesis, of an historical explanation between some intuitions about the treatment of the surface according to scansions and chromatic-luminist variances present in Futurism in an successful synthesis with the sense of space and of the incessant passing of the time, that we can previously find in Dorazio’s textures. Matino’s meditation, is therefore of wide-ranging which means to measure every change by very careful strategies, in the most strong will of competing with the highest moments of twentieth-century painting and, from here Matino innovates, not accepting a simple, even if high meditation of the already given, instead steadfast venturing himself in all those territories of painting with an interpretation lyrical-rational, that remain unexplored, and that, in his works, in their virginal intense beauty, appear as never-ending discovery, revelation. Matino’s works move from analytical and methodological assumptions about the way of the painting making, unveiling with their results their complete, self-referential expressive valences, in their presence they are relevant in themselves, not giving back anything but their own structural necessity of relating the connections that join the many shades which draw up and overlap in austere backgrounds and complex hazes; through the colour they return to the inevitability of perception, to its intimate ability of being pure knowledge. And think, that once upon a time, the “structured” art, in pursuit of inner mechanicals of painting, had dismembered the body in pieces, reducing it to juxtaposed syntagma, to Gestalt; it had sterilized the communicative capabilities brought to be a sort of simple analysis, calculations, conceptualisms, almost lacking in abilities of bringing sensible experiences. To find an expression similar to Matino’s one, that explicitly obliges us to go through that way where the singular colour doesn’t count for itself, but lives of the associations in which every time it finds itself, we must surely go back to J. Albers, to his interactions, to his Tribute to the square, to his demonstrating that the colour entity by itself detached, doesn’t exist and we could even go back to some versants of some of the most advanced chromatic experimentations of Orphism. Yet, Matino is not attributable and assimilable to record experiences, even if his paintings strongly become part of a contest of problems, which have been already considered in an international sphere. It isn’t only about a reference that moves Matino’s work out of the territory limits, but rather that affirms its poetics in the sphere of which have turned out to be the concepts, that most of all, have delineated the meditation about the meaning that can assume painting in the second half of the past century: especially about the very immediate meditation if painting in itself, is really still able to transmit messages; I mean, at this point where it is arrived, to assume, elitist or not, a function; to be so far vital, useful to emotions and to our mind. And in this thematic sphere that Matino’s work is new, for a long time considered, undreamed-of, masterful contribution. Who watches Matino’s works, can not elude their effusive beauty, the irradiating of a lyricism which, composed and meanwhile determined, shakes the user overwhelming the perception – that perception that being its first fatal interpretation, changes the subject and with it, the power of transforming the world. Assailed by unknown sensitive information we undergo to a different orienteering, other possible twirls of the spirit open to us. Meditating on his works - seeing the abstract clarity with which the artist explains his carrying on – it is more simple from a point of view of historical perspective; immediate can be the association with Rothko, with Ad Reinhardt, with Morris Louis, whom works Matino had already had the opportunity to know, in the first ’70 in New York, instead of proceeding from a visual analysis that can result to be much more difficult, positively much more inaccessible. And it is “the difficulty” indeed, the mysterious amazement of Matino’s works, their putting us in front of unusual wonders, the offering us transparent visual portents, not still described, not still made conceptual, defined and hypostatized, that founds their difference, their leaving back what is already known by experience, what has already been mentioned, to head determined to define and face a wonderful challenge to our senses, to our mind, that involved experience a movement, and in this motion reach to a different scale of values, other troubles, light bearings of psyche. It is their being unspeakable, their bright enigmatical attraction, that places them in the very exclusive number of works that today are really art, that have something to point out, to express, so raising them in the great continuity of Modern, faraway from commercialized banalities that would like to assimilate our existences. Up till now Matino’s works were divided in chromatic scansions geometrical defined in reason of the forming of the mutual relations, and it is very difficult to remember other moments, other places where the colour, completely independent, has adopted communicative valences so intense, the colour has never been able to have suggestions so resonant and evocative: it has never sung in such a loud way. It seemed, arrived at this point, that could not be, that was not necessary, to go any further, another enrichment, an extra development. Whereas, Matino, in these last extraordinary canvases exposed at Folini Arte Contemporanea in Chiasso, moves again his performing, changing the expressive angle, he leaves the geometrical construction, releasing the painting and with it, totally the colour. If painting can be the medium to express in us the amazement, the feeling of wonderment, of anxiety, of trouble, of the idea of continuous mutation, all incredible rationally felt, here, in the reverential love for the pictorial act, in the sensibility of suspending it before of becoming definitive closed, in the sensual involvement, in the meek monumentality, detached freedom, here, in these works, it has expressed in an absolute, unreachable style. Matino’s work places visual enigmas, to which, without interpositions, gives brilliant hypothesis, solutions suggested through the poetry of the colour, its infinite metaphors. But these paintings are not to be understood as the expression, the aniconic version of images, instead – in their distinct emerging to awareness – to mention them, they inspire to resort to metonymies, to create tales, to reveal relations, work out systems. It is this one of the primary functions that makes painting, art indispensable, offering the motivation, the power to pursue, to know intuitively what rationality and science haven’t discovered. In this Matino’s art, is different and better than science. Emerges from these recent works of Vittorio Matino, a constant anti-ideology, a sincere, strong will of beginning, with no rhetoric, new voyages, new adventures and discovers, leaded with an indissoluble union of reason and emotion. In art everything happens inside the work, all the rest is outside, subsequent, the steel critical explore, the lofty history of art, even the existence, everything is overpowered, ordered by its reflection. However painting it is not reality, it is a reality, it is not life, but, without the knowing of art, life would be very impoverished. If art can not save the world, at least must help us to understand it, and, in this way, save itself and with it, who still trusts in sense in all its possible expressions.
Luino, September 2004 Domenico D’Oora