Italia - Casagrande & Recalcati

The painting of Sandra Casagrande and Roberto Recalcati has subtle affinities with the language of the cinema. The time factor is mysteriously contracted: like in a slow-motion film sequence, the petals of a peony seem to unfold slowly to allow the onlooker to appreciate the sensual matter of oil painting, describing the creamy and satin-like surface of the flower, the gradual unwinding of the petals from the centre of the corolla to the outside. With the same slightly hypnotic steadiness, Casagrande and Recalcati describe the details of an engraved gem, of a mythological animal, of a fruit or a series of fruits, presenting the same subject in a series of non-identical frames to obtain complex decorative cycles that have the impact of a perturbing hall of mirrors, in which time really seems to stand still. This effect is supported by skilful formal devices: the rather close viewpoint makes the description of the details more hypnotic; the object is cut out from the background, with a result which, from icon paintings to film posters to Pop art advertising, focuses the attention, making the object itself (flower, vase, jewel, animal) an enigmatic and absolute presence, like symbols that appear in dreams.

And just as in dreams (or in a successful, classic thriller), the ultimate sensation is one of mystery, which is all the more provoking because it springs from this unusual exaltation of the visible: the more everything seems explained, narrated, magnified like under the lens of an investigator, the more the final meaning of what we see escapes us, remaining remote and elusive.

 

Text by
Gloria Vallese

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