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The expression of playing
In a dance full of color.

The critique

Paolo Berti

Her paintings lead me back to a dance, I would propose it to many in full sun, in the middle of a field or on a sunny farmyard, offering shade only under the arbor of vine vines. So it is well suited to this place, which from the sandy soils gives birth to shoots and grapes, the same grapes always held and squeezed in the hands of amphitryons and trimalcions of every age, in cups first of terracotta and then of gold or fragile crystal.

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According to Paolo Berti

Touch-and-go for Ivo Còtani at the MUVIS in Castiglione in Teverina, a three-day event, however, dense with content and revealed artistic skills, touching the Teverina valley, the very one that from the basins of Corbara extends to the unreal Civita di Bagnoregio, among gullies and vineyards. 

Along the gallery that houses vases and relics of a bygone era well suits the wave of colors in Ivo's panels, all expressions of playing in a semi-orgiastic dance releasing energies not at all concealed. Between the serious and the facetious, it was once said, but if cheerfulness is not part of life, tell me how else to resolve existence but by dancing cheerfully. 

Yes, his paintings lead me back to a dance, I would propose it to many in full sun, in the middle of a field or on a sunny threshing floor, which offers shade only under the arbor of vine shoots. So it is well suited to this place, which from the sandy soils gives birth to shoots and grapes, the same grapes always held and squeezed in the hands of amphitryons and trimalcions of every age, in cups first of terracotta and then of gold or fragile crystal. 

Then there is freedom! Freedom to say be do not be give take away take (this last verb in the infinitive we used at lunch in our first meeting between Ivo and me and gave it a special meaning). And it is no small thing. Look at his panels one by one and read carefully the light captions, sometimes, but only sometimes affixed, which imply in the celebration of the work itself, also many miseries. You will find that it is a game but also an assault! I was overwhelmed by these images as if they were a small earthquake of the mind. Small... then not so much! 

Because I place Ivo Còtani among the new artists we will talk about later in time.  Rome is full of new ... the academy churns them out and loses them, the same academy sometimes creates useless monsters; at other times, from those who distance themselves from it with intelligent sagacity and attention and with the right responsiveness to the professorame, novelties spring forth that attract and make people think in new ways. 

There is not a single black background in his panels, the exact opposite of the current neo-figurativism that celebrates all too stubbornly and slavishly the now popular and widespread Caravaggio-esque concept of contrasting shapes and lights against dark backgrounds. Only a few hints of a diluted dramatic Prussian blue in the PVC panel "After last supper," always diluted by the lightness of the strokes, the graphic overlays, the tenuousness of the colors and the overall joyfulness of the composition.

Look closely at them, they are the relief in lightness. 

They appear and disappear, they want to attract you and make themselves understood, to move away and draw near again, simply to dance and make you dance with references to your imagination, in a folk festival where lights, stars, streamers, goliardic physiognomies and traditional ballets are crowded into a stage backdrop of continuous and contemporary appearances. Yes, perhaps it is the theater of life, living together between a sunny bath and a bunch of grapes that is the secret unveiled by Còtani, for a collective portrait with the fatuities, illusions and dreams we wish or would always wish to live. Portrait and portraits, because the figures always filled with irony and caricature references, to say the least, represent us and finding ourselves in them can be the feeling we perceive but secretly keep to ourselves. 

I like to acclimate myself to the language that I think belongs to Ivo, whom I have called and sought out, precisely because of his philosophy as a jester of art, visible already in his personal rapport, in the way he dresses or of the renewed histrionics applied in painting. 

As you see and read, I do not adopt, since one is wont and easily inclined to jibe as an art critic, any comparisons or similarities or references to the many isms or expressive characters of other recent authors.  

I should, however, somehow evoke them in a critical examination of Còtani's works (Festa, Angeli, Schifano and others), but decidedly drowning in the muted and intense blues or stark ochre figures, losing oneself in the little pink clouds of Ivo's irradiated sky, I don't give a damn. Far away are those artistic lives in Piazza del Popolo, between Bar Rosati and Canova, with Nicoletta Strambelli to keep them company. Tied more to importing the American avant-garde and translating its values and cultural scope for good, they had every right then to be the counterbalance to serious and tragic Italian neo-realism. Every fruit has its season. We were in the second half of the twentieth century. Pasolini was murdered in 1975, Moro in 1978, the epilogue of a terrorism that never seemed to end. 

It was a vital and healthy juxtaposition for Italian culture, this one between neorealists and transavantgarde. Brilliant and constructive. We were a messed up and frightened society, and it could not be interpreted and passed on except by keeping in mind Goya and Grosz, but also Warhol and Ginsberg or by acting by creating images, doing poetry and good journalism. One was confused then. Rome's historic Galleries were selling and promoting new artists. The eyes of culture were all turned in investigating among that dynamic and convulsive confusion. 

Good. Everything in my opinion, however, goes back to the times then. Both because the wave was huge and the tsunami caused still has not receded, and because the winds of '68 are still blowing mild and pleasant, perfecting and stabilizing the feelings of liberation, civil conquests and the season of rights, opposing the tremors of a creeping ignorance, a consequence and ooze of the current globalism that pollutes, makes sick old, new and very new generations. We still need investigation, even if slightly ironic. And we need fresh wind and not the junk of museum repositories found and repurposed. 

 We need again the acrid and stern reflection of those who looked then at an Italy to be regenerated. But we also need the rediscovered flowers and color of the sea, the corpulence lying at the solina, from the overflowing buttocks, the slender and slender moving figures, the hinted animals, the winking faces and graffiti stars, just as we like the multitude of faces, transgressions, nudity, in a Bacchanal-like whirlwind comparable to Woodstock bivouacs . 

I would like to feed its power and allow everything to return much more intensely, to allow its perfected stability, thanks precisely to the existential precariousness of Ivo Còtani and other artists whom I know well and find again in this dimension.  And that everything is play, dance, comedy in a perfect sylloge of eroticism, volatility of impressions, scents and enchantments appears to me as the welcome, long-awaited thrill I have been missing, to be enjoyed with eyes and body, with imagination and freedom of being, in this low and often sad state of today.

Ancora 1
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