2013 - Francesco Giulio Farachi

Francesco Giulio Farachi, "Enrico Lombardi. The truth of the image" , Juliet magazine autumn 2013.

"The truth of the image" by Francesco Giulio Farachi

What kind of times are we living in? Talking about art we can say, with no doubt, that decoding these times is rather difficult, maybe let's hope, that these are years full of memory and its loud decantation. In this widespread hue and cry, in this quite frantic attempt to define the universe once again, or a new universe, an attempt worthy of it, here and there, quite rarely I would say, we witness the birth of a necessity, the need for a careful suspension, the watchful urgency to let a sour bluntness penetrate deep into the meaning of things and that of one's own acting and feeling. Painting, since this is what we are talking about, as a perfect lexicon showing that urgency with the obsessive preciseness that only pure Art owns. Enrico Lombardi brings into his canvases, between the clarity of lifeless surfaces and the strongest shadows of the afternoon light, the sharpness of an ongoing truth, always into the present, a contemporary truth, so much as to give the impression of another appearing (or disappearing) and unfailingly offers the factual nothingness of the event from which it was born and from which we expect all that comes out of it. The paintings of this painter from Forlì (both born in Meldola, among the austere gullies of crowded hills where, while perspectives and views are squeezed in against their sides, they also run long and stretched towards hermetic infinites; where a brightening solitude dyes the air, the sounds and other people's company; where the entire world can concentrate among the unstable and illogical geometries of a gaze) are paintings "in wait ", in wait for what comes out of a corner or the heap of the visual plans, along the cloistered succession of buildings and gardens, for what is in front of the projection of towering trees and, more recently, in the horizon of faraway coastline lights. They are paintings that talk about borders, edges, not even attempting to settle the fight among the spaces, between what is on this side or the other side, fore and back, but which, along the sharpened blade of a different hue, a shadow line or a perspective jump, freeze with mathematical refinement the illusion of the visible. Or as we may say the visible delusiveness of any attempt to impose conventions to the gaze and therefore to painting which is its lexicon and keeps them both in a sort of purely formal arrangement (what is it, what does it mean, is it real, unreal, concrete, abstract, ideal, oneiric or objective?) For instance we could make things simple and talk about them as metaphysical spaces, where the word "space" is already in itself misleading, exactly for its quality to suggest or arouse a sphere where one could hold onto the idea of recognizing something, where one could possibly find a path, a sphere of collocation, an extension and dimensional coherence. Nothing in fact is more arduous than thinking of silence or a shadow and then again of water or a wall as places, these are customarily elements, sensations or impressions that form and can inhabit a place. In Lombardi's works they are places themselves, image and painting invent a universe for them and put this universe in a vital and sensible relationship with our world, in other words, they build a bridge, a code of translation and tradition between the two. And it is indeed because of this relationship, this exercise of in-correspondences, that neutrality is impossible. As I have mentioned earlier, Lombardi does not even try the meaningless and useless attempt to reproduce something real and this is why his paintings contain so little of what is earthly. This fact completely exposes the act of painting, revealing it as an impure game of events, not at all naïve and unaware, but actually ferocious and final, despotic and sometimes sour and sharp but always, always rigorous and always self-aware.The painter stubbornly follows his vision, bursting onto the canvas a body of images through rhythm equivalences and sign analogies with a recurrence that, already in itself, shows a total detachment from the figure as such, from the portrayed object as such. Shapes take on a lyrical aspect and stumble as if by memory, nostalgia or passionate suggestion, into their naturalistic features: gardens, architectures, a water expanse or rocky teeth turn themselves into the objectified reality of a wholly spiritual process. Everything is pictorial. The spatial planes are on the surface of things and depth becomes uncertain only because of the light contrasts, the union, the contiguity and chromatic overlaying. This inevitably leads to an advancing and intimate change of the image perception, which no longer portrays, or as Lombardi would say, illustrates anything, but solely lives the fulfillment of both the visual and the sentimental process from which it comes from and goes to. Stated like this it may sound quite complicated, but instead, in front of the paintings by Lombardi it is absolutely easy to see, without having to doublethink, the sheer awareness of the painter to give body to the pictorial matter, a premeditation of proportions, that because of the paradox of preciseness and constancy it vanishes as a pre-established filter to give way to the emotional impact of the vision. On the icy and acidulous color surfaces, the perfected image becomes atmosphere and sensation, the refined dimension of isolation. Thus, that of Lombardi is an act of surgery, an act of saving from a world of images (a confused, frantic, profane and unaware, messy and graceless world) an image of the world. The purest, clearest and most sensible one he is able to conceive. And thus this almost Euclidian order void of space and time, this freezing of light, air, things and emotions, this taking away, on one hand any punctual immediacy and movement, enhances, on the other hand, the expressive strength of any vision, bringing the aesthetical research to a higher and more essential level of truth. Truth, that combination of human experiences, knowledge and meditation which is the same mankind has when looking at the world.

Translation Angela Lombardi