Enzo Trapani

 

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Enzo Trapani coffee table book

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ENZO TRAPANI

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Catalogue editing Studio Abba: Vito Abba, Carlotta Marzaioli Critical essay Giampaolo Trotta Translation by Liberty Allen © 2017 Enzo Trapani www.enzoart.org © 2017 Studio Abba www.studioabba.com

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ANGELS Acrylic on canvas 15x30 inches • 38x76 cm 2014

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The Colors inside the Human Spirit Lyrical abstraction full of color and matter, with instinct and reason as necessary parts of the psyche in the pulse of life The works by Argentinian painter, Enzo Trapani, are expressions of a great and positively creative modus operandi, freely open to the innovative suggestions that reveal themselves through chromatic dynamism, to capture the viewer’s attention. As the artist himself states “emotions become colors on the canvas”. Trapani’s paintings, full of primary colors (partly taken from the sunny and marshy landscapes of Florida, where he spends most of the year) that dissolve to create a varied and irregular palette - but always chromatically decisive - in their absolute abstraction seem to refer to the nature of the spirit (seen in his work Soul Series), strongly intersected by pathos, according to a final evolution parallel to psychoanalysis. That is, a pictorial art investigating the inner world of the psyche, provoking sensations, feelings and emotions that no longer adhere to physical forms, in a polychrome vision of the soul. Just as the space-time reality is marked by the changing of the seasons and the contingent relativity refers to the intuition of the absolute, as can be seen in Works and in Days by Esiodo, so the sensations of the psyche follow the “seasons” linked to everyday experience, aiming to satisfy our never-ending thirst for the big “why”. In fact, in the works by Trapani, we witness a sequence of well-defined periods (Series), closely linked to and derived from his personal experiences, which follow one after the other, without ever intuiting a possible end, just as one wave comes after the other with the tide. Upon observing his paintings, some of the great movements and trends of the second half of the twentieth century immediately come to mind, like that of Art Informel, Abstract Expressionism and Lyrical Abstraction. The latter, which was never a true and formal artistic movement (it was defined by Pierre Restany and employed by Georges Mathieu to distinguish the most emotional and gestural expressions of the movement Art Informel), from the first impact, Enzo Trapani’s paintings also seem inspired by the North American Action Painting. A parallel can also be established between Trapani and the works of Tunisian artist, Antonio Corpora (1909-2004), who in 1952, joined the famous “Group of Eight” (along with other artists such as Morlotti, Santomaso, Turca or Vedova), and in particular with Corpora’s last production of works; but with a greater intensity of matter with respect to Corpora’s watercolors. The chromatic magma thickens in greater and ‘stratigraphically’ readable brushstrokes made from acrylic and craquelé mediums.

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These works recall the gesture of Mario Schifano’s ‘pop’ enamels in his Water Lilies series. Trapani’s linguistic definition, absolutely Informel, allows his paintings to qualify for a term employed by Lionello Venturi, that being “abstract-concrete”, with the idea of ‘concrete’ as corresponding to that of ‘figurative’, in the widest sense of the word. Unlike what Mathieu had done, who overlapped impulsive gestures on a monochromatic background, or Rothko, who generally chose two or more monochromatic fields to create space, Trapani’s paintings dilute emotionally strong colors in fading and gradual tones, which bring the human sentiments together in a dreamlike vision. From a pure assonance of chromatic visions without reference to the outside world, as in the primitive and great experiences of the early 20th century abstractions, Trapani reaches a vehemence of strong sensations, almost like an x-ray of human passions. Thus, on a turbulent ‘boiling’ background of blue-grey-ochre, ascending, vibrating forms emerge that then light up in red purple tones, like splashing blood, of certain Life Series works; or red-orange ‘veins’ branch out (with indirect references to laboratory images and the microscope, as he trained as a neurologist). Amidst this, one 'perceives' yellow flowers between the whiteness of sand and pebbles, along the banks of rivers or ponds and deep blue marshes (in the Nature Series, I am reminded of the abstract and emotional works Paludosi by Antonio Pedretti) or cuts of yellow-green light on dark backgrounds - which recall certain works by Venetian artist, Ennio Finzi (in the series Il Verso del Colore) - and pinkish-red explosions in his Light Series. Color is like an emotion, the skies of the mind where emotionality manifested in a palette that creates, depths, fughe, adagi or mossi, like a majestic dodecaphonic orchestra that divines its sound of the universe itself. There are bright slashes, inner lights that separate and drive away existential shadows together with dark stains and polychromatic spots that give way to create the background of the painting. It is a clear brightness, an esoteric and enigmatic container of the unconscious: a mythically ancient flavor projected into a timeless future. A “carnival-like” party of nature’s colors, which may take on the features of fireworks or an abstract bouquet of flowers, on a sky-blue background. This pictorial ‘dance’, closely referring to the musical world and that of words, evolves in poetic analogies with a kind of intimist alphabet, where the stains of color become the non-spoken words of the soul, the palpitations of man’s psyche. A flow of bursting lands is covered with flowers and running waters and their colors blend in together while also remaining in separate chromatic bands.

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We may sometimes see slivers of inner skies at sunset (or at dawn?) dominated by the blue and red-orange tonalities that reflect themselves, blend and then get lost in the hollow of a fluid sea, origo vitae. Other times, deep universes, galaxies, nebulae and astral worlds unfold in his Universe Series. It is this series of cosmic skies, of visions and intuitions of other worlds, of ‘free energies’, in which the dark night of sidereal silence is plagued by ethereal and impalpable lights - from the tenuous shades of pink, blue and white - asteroids, planets and galaxies, in a cosmic and cosmogonic vision of the universe, the beginning and ending of all that exists. But this “space odyssey”, this rhythmic and vital pulsation that is dispersed and then recycled into endless Lucretius-like cycles, is nothing more than the journey of man within himself and the macrocosm. It can be seen as a sort of astronomical neo-humanism that refers to the microcosm and its unsolvable eternal knots, in a solitary vision of primordial - yet never bleak - universes in formation. A poem by Emily Dickinson (18301886) comes to mind here, "there is a solitude of space / a solitude of sea / a solitude of death, but these / society shall be / compared with that profounder site, / that polar privacy: / A soul admitted to itself / Finite infinity”. One might say that Trapani, like Dickinson, retains that with our imagination we can obtain prophetic intuitions and he interprets the sidereal solitude (that reflects that of man) and the relationship with ourselves, as a way to understand life. Sometimes, these vortexes and mazes of the psyche temper the sketches of exuberant colors which expand and stain the canvas, almost forming gelatinous ectoplasms, impetuous portraits in the mirror of the naked soul or luminescent and diaphanous ghosts. It is like an informal fading of Filamenti e Cellule Spaziali, to use the title of an artistic series by Vicenzo Balsamo, dating back to 1978-1979. Here we see the tendency to distance himself from the world of ‘land’ and ‘water’, to hover in that of ‘air’ and ‘fire’. However, from the infinite abysses of space, he always falls back down to earth and into the life which he profoundly and philanthropically loves. The matter, its ponderous mass modeled with the gestures of a palette knife, thus becomes the humus of his works, in which the heights and infinite distances of the heavens crash down again to earth, to return to the concreteness of matter, in its inevitable implications made of veins and roughness. A painting of chromatic masses, from which the figured form derives - only intuited embryonically - of flowers or rivets of blood in the veins and arteries of humans being infused with life (as I mentioned before, as one may see it under a doctor’s microscope, almost like a brightly electromyographic vision) in a volcanic, overflowing explosion.

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They are stories without words, of water and fire, which seem to have come out from a velvety explosion of flower petals. Enzo Trapani’s paintings are distinguished by the absolute vivacity of the palette and the skillful use of color, put on the canvas in large quantities with rapid wide brushstrokes, and then varnished with thick, vinyl-like layers, bestowing an elegant light of enamel with a mirrored, almost plasticized effect on them. Images that can sometimes provoke within us an agitated tension, thanks to the violent and cynical marks, his designs and brushstrokes. Other times, they leave space for deliberately disenchanted and lyrical reflection, giving the observer a desired multiplicity of possible subjective interpretations. Trapani studies the dynamics of space, concentrating his attention on coagulated structures, destined to become gravitational centers, nuclei of energy in their spindried virtual expansion towards a kaleidoscope of new imaginary ‘realities’. In this way, one can liberally go to depths, split the tracts of the black obscurity, make them reemerge towards a colored transparency, until they become a painting full of light. These paintings seem almost like “icone declassate” / (i.e., downgraded icons), to use the term coined by Emilio Vedova in the 1960’s. Trapani seems to reaffirm that the modern artist should regard art in a way that is freed from practices and aesthetics, and should work only according to a purely plastic sensibility: the art of painting, that is, to its own end. It is a form of Abstract Expressionism revisited (interpreted, in part, in the significance of the US art movement after the Second World War) and in European Informel, with reference to the French Tachisme, of George Mathieu or Hans Hartung. He conforms to the ideas that were expressed by American critic Clement Greenberg - who was strongly averse to minimalism of the industrial matrix - that true art is based on feeling. His form of Action Painting, as stated before, is personal because it underlines the interior urgency of action for the artists. ‘Action’ understood as assuming the risk of painting a canvas without am already predesigned or thought out project, meaning that the painting comes about and reveals itself in real-time, in that very moment. Here, his way of ‘gesticulating’ through the wavy and dynamic brushstrokes, recalls the large canvases of American artist, Helen Frankenthaler, but without her wide, aqueous surfaces and uniformly chromatic style. His poetical and enthusiastic vis pictorica, breaks down or is structured, burns or shrinks, shimmers or intrudes into the ‘films’ of matter and colors that pass between the conscious and unconscious, in those spaces that are both fluid and syncopated, visionary and bright, which are the dominion and judge of the color.

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This heterogenous and prodigious production, made by Enzo in his studio, is like an overflowing river, or better described as an unstoppable lava flow, that comes together and finds a unit reference which is essentially that of the painter: to transcend his visceral enthusiasm and give us works of art of consolidated expertise and peaceful serenity. Often, unfortunately too often in contemporary art, energies are wasted in the interpretations of the art itself, which may not be those of the artist. Trapani, without appealing to the undeniable instances of the unconscious or the hermetic prescriptions of criticism, allows the color to regain an “amorously” playful and primordial aesthetic space, freeing it from the rigid dictates in the absolute sense. The works, therefore, are instinctive, full of joyous and abstract gestures, where a meditative equilibrium emerges together with an unadulterated rationality. Giampaolo Trotta

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UNIVERSE 16 Acrylic on canvas 24x48 inches • 61x71 cm 2014

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SOUL Acrylic on canvas 40x30 inches • 101x76 cm 2011

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COLOR 2 Acrylic on canvas 72x48 inches • 183x122 cm 2012

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