1986 Di Terra


Di Terra

The unforseeable quality of a work of art, the impossibility of deducing it from what already exists, is the conceptual link which connects, in spite[read]of their different formal and linguistic features, Ascari’s installation works with those of the subsequent period: in this phase, the artist’s attention became focussed on painting and sculpture and the problems which each of these modes of expression involves, preserving the active relationship with the surrounding space as an element across which each work weaves relationships going beyond the simple representative intentions. Everything may he called into question and is quite consciously called into question since the death of every transcendental basic underlying the world of the senses entails the complete autonomy of the senses and thus places art above all else. It is in this context that works like the four large sculptures have their being as pure events on the gross material plane: sculptures in terracotta, alabaster and glazed terracotta, presented at a personal exhibition by the artist at the Palazzo dei Priori in Volterra, and the subsequent works Probabile Blù, Questo quello e, Due volti e uno, Se la spassa nel fuoco, Fortepiano, Cratere, Di terra, Carbone + carta, Carta + Oro + tela, Tela Cartone + Ossido di ferro, Combustione. All of these works are characterized by an ambiguous methodology, a result of the mutual encroachment of sculpture and painting.
The unity of the works in this cycle tends to break down, to open up on all sides, to become a difficult, problematic issue. It becomes a ‘presence’ which exploits all of the unknown, scattered deposits of meaning in the work; a depth is created from the materiality of the named elements which are thus liberated and raised to a higher level of being; there is a primaeval obscurity present in the work which is not dissipated bat rendered visible through a process of unfolding or ‘unwrapping’. Unlike an object whose being is subsumed in its use, exhausted by its practical value, the work declares itself and the material of which it is made. Alabaster, iron, wood and glass, light transformed into colour, manifest visibly their material natures; elementary being becomes illuminated and in the ‘occurrence’ of the work, the background appears to be attracted by the day; the night of the elements proceeds towards the light. The secret vitality, the force and mystery of the work derive from the ‘nothingness’ from which it emerges: a void without ontolological statics which has been projected from the plane of being and identity onto that of methodology to become a function, an index of the achievement, through time, of completeness. In his presentation of Ascari’s personal exhibition at the ‘Uta Van Marwyck’ gallery in Munich in 1984, Vittorio Fagone referred to ‘cultivated’ reflection: ‘A cultivated style of painting belonging to the modern visual arts in which the experience of dynamic space in the enivi-ronment has a clear value and leads to a vitalistic conception of painting as space in which relationships are created. Seen from this perspective, the analysis of the painting’s domain becomes the site of recognition of transparency and semiotic traces, an area in which specific fleeting memories may be deposited, a space in which signs may appear, mutable but charged with meaning… Ascari’s painting… generates the impression of a spatial dimension open to a view of the world through memories without boundaries and open-ended bearers of meaning. The act of recognition in which the observer is engaged establishes a mobile boundary around the painting, conferring on its contents a clear, but not closed, legibility’. Within this process of evolution, in the works which emerged from his activity from the end of the 80’s onwards, Ascari seems to have focussed on painting as a self-stifficient domain, emphasising above all the pure colour values which, while maintaining a dialectic relationship with the iconic contents of the painting, have become the dominant features of his most recent works. The structural features emerge from coloured fields, as in a continuous process of blossoming, circling through the colour in a ghostly dance which seems literally to mime the elusive aerial currents of the world. Pigment applied to the wall using the ‘frescatura’ technique is peelednaway and applied to the canvas where it interacts with a subtle network of minate inscriptions which, while preserving their individual nature, seem to become imperceptibly transformed into the voice of the paint itself, the low indecipherable murmur of coloured organic matter: literally, whisperings from another world which impinges on our own, emerging from the obscurity of its origins and proceeding towards the light.
The pigments, the iron and other materials which make tip the work, lose their individual properties, become transmuted into a rhythm which emanates from their closed impenetrable world: this is the remote realm, far from the noise and hast/e of the world, yet connected with it, where the subtle voice of colour has its domain.
The earth, the most terrestrial component of the colour, is brought into close focus as the continually renewed richness of a physicality which, enigmatically, has a history, natural rather than historical, rendering it a constantly replenished deposit of possible interpretations. The inner depths of matter gape for a moment, the elementary plane of being is illuminated and the work gleams like a flash of lightning before the folds of darkness close over it once more.[/read]

Di Terra. Terracotta, 400x50x50 cm, 1986 [S0003]
from left to right
Carbone + Carta. Mixed technique on paper, 140×87 cm, 1986
Tela + Carbone + Ossido di Ferro. Mixed technique on canvas, 138×86 cm, 1986
Carta + Oro +Tela. Mixed technique on canvas, 138×86 cm, 1986