The World: Emotions and architecture

I’m not sure if Fabrizio Bellanca was ever part of a group of graffiti artists, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out he had registered some experience on Como’s city wall or on the walls of other cities. The way in which images were constructed in that specific time – now surpassed – was a source for the artist in developing of his original approach to painting. But, not without looking backwards. Because he was able to concentrate on the experiences and gains that have come out of Pop Art, and primarily upon the creations by Andy Warhol, a master who surpassed painting while remaining fully in it at the same time, who was innovative without inventing anything new, and who provided a totally fresh direction to the narrative aspect of art.

In the first place, both the materials and their support are interesting: instead of canvas, Fab uses sheets of aluminium that have already been used in typographic printing and are now recycled; and for colours he uses offset printing inks, both dense and transparent at the same time; and adds transferable characters by Letraset (letters, numbers and pictograms) used in the past by graphic artists and architectural studios.
With these tools he takes on the two approaches he favours in his artistic research: architecture and people. He looks for true genius in architecture, the building that embodies an innovative spirit and that is able to communicate, on its own, its expressive surfaces, volumes and voids, and the poetry that permeates it. It is here that he “plays with colours”, the colours that define the image and often render it absolute, displacing it from any known location, emphasising it for what it is and not for the space it is in. In the people he encounters he finds stimuli for a portrait that comes to life systematically, in which the figure is never betrayed, but rather scrutinised and rendered even more unique. Read and often built up like terrain – almost a topographic map made from contour lines – the figure vibrates and in its insubstantiality (or, sometimes contrarily, in its absolute physicality) it manages to be even more alive and intriguing than the subject it refers to.  The “drawing” made by applying spatulas of colour, carefully and with restraint, define grids, sometimes wide, sometimes dense, that leave the spaces that are colour-free a descriptive-narrative function. The presence of what seem to be letters, numbers and words, add something, though still remaining abstract, like a distant voice, becoming coloured in the same way that colour becomes language, in an interesting cross-reference that breaks tradition with customary imagery.

The resulting images turn out to be so composite that they could get lost. But in the end, after close consideration, one realises that Bellanca entrusts the typographical inks with the same function that watercolourists assign to their watercolours. The image is formed bit by bit, with reservation, giving definition to, surprisingly, not the full areas, but the areas that are free of colour. This happens in those parts of the aluminium surface that remain clean, strong in their material nature and due to their reflectivity, which, spurred on by the coloured areas is able to render the plastic value of a work of architecture, or a face or body.

What can be said about themes that range over the world, from Como to Boston, to New York? They are a sign of the globalisation that renders everything the same, but also distinctly different, and that affects an artist in different ways (as can be seen in the different approaches to imagery) underlining once again the freedom that allows him to respond – also autonomously from himself – to the influences and stimuli of the times he is living in.

Luigi Cavadini