During the last Christmas vacation I watched “Il vento fa il suo giro”, movie by the Italian director Giorgio Diritti. The chosen location is the region Piemonte. A beautiful, solitary landscape, sometimes hard to deal with for the intricate relationship human-nature, but fruitful and cultivated with affectionate sacrifices by the inhabitants.
And again, it’s Piemonte the region where the artist (painter and sculptor) Valerio Berruti comes from (I'm obviously not a website's expert, but I do suggest to check his one out. It's extremely well done). He was born in Piemonte and there he lives in a stunning and breathtaking deconsecrated church, which he bought and restored.
By now, when I think about Piemonte, I imagine its immense potentiality for artistic inspirations and it nearly seems to me to breath the pure and not polluted air of these lands. A wine’s territory where the people’s low concentration possibly stimulates a fruitful and sometime even poetic reflection.
Let’s go back to Berruti. This guy is class 1977, already well-known by the critic (he studied art critique himself) with few experiences abroad too in his portfolio.
His land is not directly represented in his works though. The main, I’m temped to say absolute, theme is childhood. The series of portraits of children, alone by themselves, with their families or in couples, are numerous. Berruti seems to pay tribute to the twins dynasty (Diane Arbus, Stanley Kubrick, just to quickly cite the biggest references) and to inherit its perturbing allure too.
I’m very impressed by the “innocent” simplicity of Berruti’s works (when I write the word innocent I always have in mind Hegel’s believe that “not even a rock can be innocent”, imagine a child. Anyway, it’s not my intention to enter the topic). He often paints in fresco on jute. Few lines and just a bit of colour are enough to leave a strong impression on viewer’s mind.
The aesthetic delicacy is nearly embarrassing. Embarrassing because I feel a sort of guilty in adding comments to this pureness I’d like to have remained in contemplation of.
Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s the expression on kids faces, the way they line up their mouths, but the childhood is far away from being the time for playing and laughing. These children seem to be already suspicious, thoughtful about what will happen next. Are they already disenchanted? If so, it would be extremely sad, but acceptably realistic.
Sometimes the artist doesn’t close the line he is drawing as for describing a radical openness, the one that connects everybody’s life to the uncertainty of the doubt. Kids don’t want to grow up as well as people of all ages have difficulties in dealing with their supposed responsibilities. The childhood is indeed the place of potentialities, where all can happen, up to each of us choosing our own personal direction. Then frustrations are likely to come if in retrospect we look back in ager, thinking about what we should have done differently.
I do like the open line Berruti chooses. I like the discourse that can be developed from a structure of materiality that each of us easily share. Everybody has been a child. In so doing, Berruti evokes the Kantian universal-subjective, which is the undeniable common ground for any art experience.