Enrico Castellani: Alla radice del non illusorio (At the roots of the not illusory) is a selection of 15 works from the 1960s to the 2000s.
The artistic practice of Enrico Castellani can be placed inside the abstraction trend: an abstract art that is self-referential, structural and constructive, with minimal and conceptual influences overtaking those of the informal vitalism of both Europe and America. The similarities lie rather with the optical and kinetic art of the T Group in the ’60s, or with the work of the Zero Group in Germany.
Bonded to classic means such as canvas, frames and nails, Castellani overtakes the informal in favour of a plastic and visual expression that results in a cold and impersonal style of painting, often characterized by monochrome surfaces organized three-dimensionally by way of elevation and depression, empty and full spaces, eversion and introflections. The surface is conceived in a dynamic way—geometrically structured, rationally designed, and innervated by minimal and primary articulations in which there’s no virtual or illusory reference.
The only external and modifying intervention is the light that alters the visual perception hitting the outstretched surface. Eschewing spiritual or mystical attitudes, the artist creates a materialistic process to activate the physical or mental perception of a dimension that is theoretically infinite.
Today Castellani is looked up as one of the most important painters of our times. In recent years, he has moved his research away from the idea of creating pictorial objects with an indisputable essence, not subject to interpretation. “The work,” he says, “is what you see.”
He operates on the canvas, sensitizing the surface with elevations (eversion and introflections) with the aim of making it detectable. The canvas is divided in geometric and mental grid patterns in the most impersonal way. The only compositional criterion is concreteness that tends to infinite. His work is characterized by its lucidity; it’s essential and free from any emotionality.