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Giorgio Segato

“The tracks of man, between the of material”


Renzo Eusebi is a lover of art and painting: it represents the land of dreams where reality is transformed into a psychic events, food for a profound imagination. At Rome he learnt from Monachesi, Consolazione, Cannilla, Lazzaro, Valeri and Pettinelli, widely differing personalities but persons certainly connected by a deep sense of the craft, the poetry in making art, of manipulating materials and colours and of creating intimate worlds for dreaming in. He taught for a few years, domesticating his “wild-like” laziness in didactic commitment. From his research into artistic movements and different schools, and being intolerant of obligations, restraints, and over worn paths, he crossed from the more traditional representation to lyrical abstract, from quotations to informal gestural expressiveness, from constructive rationalism to the expressionism of matter. In this context, at least in my opinion, he was forcing himself to find, to invent a personal reply to the condition of cultural bewilderment of the contemporary artist, to the distortion and laceration of the profound identity, to the imbalances and disarticulation of the existential condition.

His curriculum and his personal work, witness a long journey of training and research, marked by peculiar formal and content emphasising characters with attention prevalently on matter, space, the sign and colour. These provide the direction of the route and the matter which light up in “deep” space. This is where the cosmos and the psyche coincide, the microuniverse of individual emotions and the macrouniverse of expansion and astral conjugation, the soul of the world. In this way, Eusebi’ s recent work immediately offers two planes of reading. The first plane is the distancing plane, this discovers and penetrates the gaps in warped spatiality, rich in swallowings, mysterious and is seen from a time foreign Io history, perhaps from a future mirroring the occurrence of a nuclear catastrophe. This is a world of inert landscapes, deprived bodies, covered and corroded by the red dust from nuclear fall out; a world of dead places and objects, already archaeological memory, eliotian “waste land” waiting for regeneration and regermination. The second plane is close up and tactile, it mirrors reality and object truth in chromatic and organic matter in a frozen metamorphosis and in “clothing”. This witnesses the body and therefore the memory of the body, a proposed but absent fragment of humanity, of an undescribed but present personal story.

In Eastern cultures, clothes, from the nappies of the newly born to the death shroud, collect the imprints of life:

they are like shrouds which become impregnated with the humour of the experiences, worries and joys, defeats and conquests of everyone, assuming the authentic value of witnesses and documents of private life. Eusebi “constructs”, composes and models his pictures inserting garments into them as “witnesses” of his own story. This is a story which on an analogous and metaphoric level moves away from the story of the artist until it joins the story of humanity: it is precisely the mysterious quality of the well inside the soul, through which we reach the cosmic womb. The sliding of meaning is achieved by Eusebi through the direct manipulation of the materials which are then invested with colour. In this way, the works, framed like windows on an area of an archaeological dig or a junkyard which can be interchanged as being interplanetary or as behind the house, can be seen as “pictorial sculptures”.

These have the connotation of a strong lighting up of interrogating and exploring sensory perception between the “folds” of the clothes thoughts, memories of vital experiences, between the suggestions of a space which animates itself with shades, light and chromatic ferments. The expedient returns centrality of attention Io the experience of the body, or better to the absence of the body like progressively leaving the physical and material experience for a culture which is ever more media oriented, virtual, packaged, bidimensional, prevalently visual and verbal and always less tactile.

Eusebi reacts to this general conditioning which tends to flatten and homologise with the consequent impoverishment of experiences and behaviour, gestures and thoughts, by entering the space of the picture with the hands: this no longer remains a simple projection surface for gestures, emotions, thoughts, or “representations” which imitate nature, reality, and the life force, it really becomes the place for the “representation” of the reality of the object. Here however, he expands its meanings, the “sense’, separating the object from its habitual use and context, by assigning it an unexpected, unheard of heraldic value, capable of prompting different perspectives (visual and interpretative angulation, perceptive suggestions). In the light of these considerations, the matter which these pictures are made of loses its initial and sole apparent reference to the world of informal art: the magmatic and indeterminate world of energy in motion and mutation. It acquires a level of significance closely bound to intimate experience, both to the individual memory and to that of the species and biology in general. It connects itself, precisely through these “clothes” to a broader and deeper flow of information, the psychic and genetic flow. In this way, sensory perception and tactility return to being strong “sensuality’, vital energy. I do not believe it to be of secondary importance that the colours Eusebi uses most frequently and intensely are red and blue: these traditionally indicate the sacrifice of the flesh and the sublimation of the spirit; the terrestrial world of concrete objects and the celestial world of ideas, dreams, utopias, and spirituality.

The long and winding cognitive journey of this artist, truly singular in technique and content, has become a kind of access to his autobiographical diary: it narrates the experience of the body through the more or less explicit but anyway just as physical as mental “stripping. This is the abandoning of “clothes’ and “habits” in order to begin a different exploration of matter and colour, space and time, interiors and exteriors, psychological and social in directions of different possibilities in the narration of the inalienable adventure of man, his story, his desires and his dreams. The direct manipulation and modelling of the materials, the placement, the distribution and the colouring grant Eusebi a long period of emotional accumulation and attention. This lets him progressively clear his conscience and intuitive and perceptive awareness, broadening the interior listening and sharpening the qualitative and quantitative prehensility of the beginnings, the references and the most hidden levels of meaning. The use of colour is far removed from a natural use, even only in the ambit of a disguised meaning. The colour instead, assumes the mobility and significance of Iight and in virtue of its “rain” like distribution and the relationship with the rough and rugged surface, loads itself with elusive and evocative properties.

It acquires its truest value precisely when it is most excited by the varying consistency and reactivity of the materials: it becomes the colour/space of happening, inequality and experimentation of emotive and cognitive “knots”, memory cells, experience, illuminated by the secret folds (and wounds) of the psychic labyrinth.

Eusebi, and for that matter for Marcel Proust, believe that painting is above all “a metamorphosis of the objects represented” and in this way paintings offer themselves up for ever fresh interpretation and “understanding: they are the polysemous, multidirectional and multidimensional amalgam of correlated physical and psychic events. They have no need for symbolic or ideological references, they need the careful elaboration of what lies beyond pure and simple visual recognition and recording. I mean to say that in Eusebi’ s works, the combinations of abstract elements and concrete objects easily overcome the initial reference of a mere contingency: they advance into a chromatic, art of matter design and spatiality which stimulate the visual field of the observer and prompts his perceptive faculties. In establishing a relationship between the object and the “representation” which goes beyond cognitive phenomology, setting off emotive adherence processes and mental abstraction, Renzo Eusebi forces our gaze below these broad and highly coloured visions. These visions belong in a certain sense to a surreal world or of a parallel reality, and take us to float in the areas of the inconscious. Here spatial composition and formal rhythm come to us like the seeds of a fervid emotional introspection and certain joy of living: these constantly and freely recreate reality and all its atmospheres. Through the alchemic magic of painting which has perfectly matured its fruit, these realities can be indifferently understood as psychic or environmental.


Giorgio Segato