Solo exhibition Catalogue, in Italian and English language, essay by Gianni Cerioli, at "Melotti Art Studio" in Ferrara
from 23th April to 22th Maggio 2005, ed. "Melotti Art Studio".

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Catalogue's essay
Translated by Raffaella Picella

"The hidden code of Vincenzo Balsamo"

Le mie opere sembrano nascere da sole…la mano è lo strumento di una volontà che non è la mia.
È come se mi aiutassero forze amiche, note o sconosciute, tutte valide.
P. Klee, Diari

    Artfully dislocated across the canvas in Vincenzo Balsamo’s works, the structural elements in his compositions slowly invade and fill up the whole pictorial space. Actually, they somehow give shape to a text, a visual text complete in itself. The viewer’s eye travels along the network of lines flowing throughout the whole composition. As if moved by an array of rebellious forces, these add vitality to the pictorial surface and, at the same time, almost seem to dematerialize it. This series including fifty-eight small format paintings does not suggest a distanced look aimed at securing a more favourable vantage point, but rather a closer one, inviting the observer to bend and lean over it, eager to penetrate a secret world conjured by this analitical form of writing. The code one is offered by the artist brings to mind the masters of XX century abstraction, revered as fathers and yet reinterpreted at the light of his individual conception.

    One immediately senses the artist’s invitation to enter his own creative dimension and decipher his language-world, provided one has definetively abdicated his own ordinary point of view. The observer is utterly stricken by the graphic quality of his work. Here, breaking lines suddenly interrupt their quiet flow; there, one can spot floating shapes striving to preserve a balance. The line, crossing unhindered the canvas’ entire extension, frequently deviates in multiple directions suggesting its potential desire of infinity. Yet, in these works line punctually explores new spaces, encloses unknown islands, or reveals unexpected geometrical patterns. At their outmost thinness, they overlap, proceed side by side, outrun one another, though never disavowing their unrestrained existence. Line is modulated to evoke alternatively graphic, formal and rythmic labirinths. Top and bottom are clearly defined by the artist’s intention to convey his own emotional experiences to the viewer always allowing him a personal interpretation.

    Balsamo designs the chromatic permutations of his works as a miniaturist. A precious succession of distinct short brushstrokes unfolds, exempt from purely naturalistic reproduction or even explicitly recalling it as in the landscape in Composition n.4, which sets itself as an exception within the series. The chromatic quality is thus mantained vibrant by means of the vast range of shades shifting through the colour chart. The blues and reds, more than any others, add to the impression of this endless motion. It is a symbolic contrast hinting at the primordial opposition existing between blue, a masculine, uranic colour, and a feminine, otherwordly one such as red. Often enhanced against red ochres and golden earthen hues, the intrinsic vitality of red, described by Kandinsky as being so "typically warm, vivid and restless", finds its ideal fulfilment in the dynamic strength of blue bleeding into sky tones. We are told by the same source to what extent dark colours are strengthened by round shapes. Some inner motion recalls the stream of consciousness, never loosing its unity within the flow of that all-devouring and yet preserving entity called time. It is in the corners of memory that one discovers unexpected treasures: the suggestive breaking of waves, the ever-changing colour of primordial seas.... the reminiscence of their living creatures.

    Across the canvas’ surface an ambiguous, eternal thrust, connecting the unsteady nature of all-corrupting motion and the durability of that which is timeless, still and perennial, is achieved. Suspended, light-ridden shapes lay still and yet move throughout the composition. One could presume the artist arranged them or, rather, had found them "arranged" during his search. This static displacement of shapes proves itself to be a statement of awareness of their own purpose, at the same time. Compelled by the vivid hues and exceedingly thin brushstrokes, enclosed within continuous outlines, vibrations become prominent, relentless. A present and potential condition, at the same time. Each painting relies upon a calculated network of rhythmic outlines, which nonetheless it tends to defy in a conscious attempt at fragmentation, thereby generating new patterns. Balsamo, though, is not pursuing a way to straighten out all dichotomies - which he feels to lay at the core of any artistic search. Instead, he seems to opt for an inexhaustible existential flux, sought after just because of its undefined balance and, by no means, because of the comfortable certainties provided by a reassuring theory.

    His paintings cannot be conceived as private diaries or mere expressions related to some urgent personal tensions. They rather provide evidence of the absolute, empathic osmosis between the artist and the painted each time judgement and creativity inspire countless different modulations. Never identical and apparently triggered by never-ending metamorphoses, these assert as the main elements that still inform his poetics and justify his search. By giving new shape to its various solutions, Balsamo’s creative activity unlashes form from the ties of appearance and releases it into that circular, infinite dimension where dichotomies with their myriad combinations (warm-cold, affirmation-negation, male-female) are effective. After all, these are the meaningful impulses that characterize our lives. This is, namely, the very living force that sustains or humiliates us. There lies what perhaps the artist ackowledges as our common path. Thus, the art of Vincenzo Balsamo asserts itself as a quiet, though no less profound, meditation upon the world and man’s fate.

Gianni Cerioli

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