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Critica - 3 - ENG

Salvatore Lanzafame

Imaginary and Fantastic

Salvatore Lanzafame is a painter with absorbing abilities who can translate a visual suggestion inspired by daily shapes and colours into a wide range of images; these fantastic features hint at a significant element of a poetics which expands and shrinks as an optical view alternatively attracted (but at times synchronously too) to the sparkle of colours springing from nature or irresistibly attracted to imitation, the will to belong to an easy recognizable code.
On this point of view, the works of Salvatore Lanzafame belong to the Italian twentieth-century painting history transposed to nowadays which aims at creating a possible original work in the present chaotic imaginary; in a condition where it looks like everything has been said and it takes a great effort and a major concentration to keep on saying with poetical richness what one's want to say, Salvatore Lanzafame, with his virtuous hand and his intrepid genius, challenges the well-established scenes of both tradition and avant-garde.

Along with the path of continuity and the parallel one of discontinuity, Salvatore Lanzafame creates a whole series of transversal connections which characterize his pictorial writing, the result of a passionate effort which underlines the painter's personality of careful observer of everything that falls under his eyes and can be enclosed into his elaborating material, his "genetic" heritage; his work therefore acquires more and more often his own peculiarities that belong to him only and that go beyond any logic of genre or common affiliation.

I think this young artist has a distinctive inclination which makes him interesting and pleasant to read, especially for his similarity to a Mediterranean genius loci (local genius) intended in its broader cultural meaning made up of historical suggestions which show a complete belonging to a language which is figurative and abstract at the same time. This outward paradox becomes the corpus of a way of being and appearing, with the depth and will of representation coming from his way of expression and from his controlled or loose gesture language.

The painting of Salvatore Lanzafame acquires its own narrative strength, a gripping attractiveness as befits to paintings which have their own definition, their specific singularity which is exalted and not lessened by the belonging to a common conceptual framing. The painting, as all other forms of art, lives on inventiveness, on continuous deconstruction and creation, and it aims at kindling the observer's interest, which can be possible only within a field of multiple changing rhythms and intensities. This happens through what I called the control or freedom of gesture, corresponding to a classical value of doing, following a logical complexity, or to the expression of unexpected casualness.

It is not easy to be hanged in the balance of this situation since there is a risk of being sucked in the academic virtuosity or in the most exasperating empiricism; nonetheless, Salvatore Lanzafame finds in this balance his most authentic power, the one that makes him a quality painter who does not give in to the appeal of repetition unlike many other artists who instead face superficially the tricks and illusions of creative work which seems easy (but it's a deception), thus falling into small markets, criticism and collecting.
At the time of writing, I have never met Salvatore Lanzafame; this is a disadvantage since I am compelled to dialogue with mere objectivity which is also the requirement to build up the artist's psychological portrait, but it is also a greater advantage because it makes my writing free from any favouring distortion, which is the frequent reason for criticism to become poetics while criticism should always be the mirror image of poetics and search for connecting diversities, the mysterious links between the artist's personality, living in time and space, and the objectivity of the work or art, hanging in a suspended time and virtual space.
Everything pivots on the work of art, both on a single piece as well as on the chain of them, comparable to a chorus to which all true components, both material and immaterial, convey a concept of indubitable fascination which draws the observation and makes it wander through the brushstrokes twists and turns, through the accumulation of materials and strange shapes. This dynamics belongs to the art of the real thing and does not desist in front of difficulties but it understands them thanks to its superior ability to synthesize.

Defining the pictorial tour of Salvatore Lanzafame as imaginative and fantastic means to subdivide a whole language into an healthy selective ability to distinguish between 'to say' and 'not to say', between visibility, as fullness of artistic theory and practice, and invisibility, as highest potential and extreme creative experience.
Salvatore Lanzafame has a great conscience of his talent, he feels it under his skin and he lets it spread but not dispel, thus reinforcing his identity in a virtuous circle.

Francesco Gallo (2007).

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