Nicola Samorì - Sfregi, Palazzo Fava, Bologna
"I try to make bright paintings, but every time I fall into the shadows, maybe because darkness is the ultimate condition of things, whereas light is only temporary." - Nicola Samori in an interview to Art Tribune
Darkness and light. Oh how they coexist and engage in an epic struggle in Samori's striking body of work, which is uniquely atmospheric and haunting. It is clear he is a classically trained painter, and a very good one he is, too. His bold brushstrokes sweep across the large surfaces (not just canvas, but also copper, wood panels and stone) celebrating and redefining some of the Italian Renaissance's most recognisable artists and classical iconography. Any Italian viewer worth their artistic salt will feel like this compelling exhibition is tantamount to a visit to one of the country's finest Pinacoteca: Bronzino, Titian, Crespi, Michelangelo, Carracci, Mantegna - I could see all them and so many more today,
But today this usually comforting experience of visual deja-vus took on a new meaning. For Samori is no appropriator, he's an explorer. Mastering an array of different techniques, he digs, he tarnishes, he scratches, he layers, he cuts into, he stains, he strips off and he punches holes into his paintings. In a virtuous act of iconoclasm, so the new artwork can be born, the old one needs to be sacrificed. Samori's work is moody and timeless, its melancholy will wrap its arms around you and drag you down to a beautiful, dark place of reflection.
P.S. Museums have reopened. Hoo-fu*king-ray!!