Seventh episode of the program “Pralines. Deliciousness from the world of art” by Ly thi Thanh Thao and Sergio Mandelli dedicated to Giorgio Albertini.
Giorgio Albertini, born in Milan, in 1930, has always nurtured a passion for art, but only in the 60s does he exhibit his works with a certain continuity.
For some years, he engages himself in an in-depth study of art informel and has worked on the idea of landscape inherited from De Staël and Birolli. Then during the 70s his style reaches a decisive turning point: he begins to explore figurative art.
His figurative paintings feature portraits taken from the photos of the past having gaudy colors as background. These colors, typical of the Pop culture of the epoch, provoke a displacement between the two diverse dimensions of aesthetics.
Albertini, at this point, understands that the twentieth century artist has to take into account the art of photography. In fact, nowadays, the idea we have of the actual world is always filtered through the new techniques for reproducing images.
Successively Albertini executes a series of artworks entitled “London Inclusive Tour”. Inspired by the photos used to promote tourism, Albertini states that the image of the reality we get used to is simply an image that doesn’t correspond with the true sense of its origin. Thus we believe that we are dealing with an authentic changing of the guard, for instance, but in truth, we are taking part in a tourist ritual, with all that is inauthentic and kitsch.
His investigation gives birth to another series named “The Old West”, which sounds so ironic, because the nominated “West” is, in fact, the “West” seen in an advertisement of a popular tobacco brand. What’s more, the female nude, the principal theme in art history, is no longer the projection of the idea of divine perfection, but more prosaically, it is the subject shown solely in men’s magazines.
The following series entitled “Acquamorfosi” (“Water Reflections”) begins to witness some change. If the ironic aspect has so far taken centre stage in his work, Albertini now seems to manifest a kind of nostalgia towards a type of art that can still convey emotions. He therefore tries to transfer onto the canvas the exact images of the photo shoots in Venice and in the lagoon; yet the real subject remains the capacity of the photographic means to catch an image that the eye wouldn’t be able to perceive.
The same idea persists in the series entitled “Forma Fluens” or “Flowing Forms”. They are the images captured and rendered visible thanks to the proper use of the camera.
His still life paintings are fundamental for his art: although evidently influenced by Flemish painting, they carry an imprint of our contemporaneity. Albertini’s still lifes are primarily the reproduction of the idea of a world made possible only through the photographic means.
His exquisite pictorial techniques offer us the opportunity to contemplate the wonder in the splendid series dedicated to Mountains. In these art pieces the viewer perceives a nostalgic note for the early landscape paintings.
.But Albertini has a restless character; his anxiety has been further accentuated over the course of years, leading him to a new chapter of his career, in other words, to the juxtaposition of both terms of the question, namely image and painting. Albertini thus focuses on the conceptual aspect of his research, that has so far tormented him. He points out that the key problem for him is not the reality; therefore it’s a mistake considering him a hyperrealist painter.
The problem for him is painting: what is painting made of? Albertini finally asserts that painting is made of colors. As a matter of fact, we have to remember that, several aspects considered, modern art is born together with the affirmation of Maurice Denis by the end of the nineteenth century: “Remember that a picture, before being a battle horse, a nude woman, or some anecdote, is essentially a flat surface covered with colours assembled in a certain order.”
By creating his beautiful diptychs and triptychs, Albertini seems to reach a sort of ground zero of painting. The premises are not so different from those of Arman, who squeezes tubes of colors directly onto the canvas. The difference between these two artists lies in the fact that Albertini rejects the technique of objet trouvé, the technique of a found object transformed conceptually into an artwork.
Through his art, Albertini wants to highlight two things: on the one hand, he shows a great ability to master the craft. On the other, he shows his capacity to synthesize the conditions of the artist in the 20th as well as in the 21st centuries.