In the many years, dedicated to
the popularization of the figurative art, I have come to know the diverse
and contradictory world of contemporary art.
Sometimes I have been disappointed
by the fickle attention that public and private institutions draw to the
artists. Sometimes, but not always, this fickleness is justified by the
shallowness of the content.
I have often thought about the
substantial role that the figurative art can still play in a society that
precipitously heads towards the repetitive fetishism of the image. Obviously
I haven't been able to come to a definitive answer yet; however I believe
that there cannot be a future where the attention towards the complex aspects
of human creativity is reduced to the mere enumeration of the great artists
of the past, considered as the only ones in the world and in history capable
of representing what not everybody is able to see.
Every day and anywhere, human
sensibilities blossom and are able to grasp, with their peculiar creativity,
dimensions previously completely unknown. They are people endowed with the
third eye who can practise/exercise the so-called most difficult art: "being
able to see".
In the light of the above simple
considerations, I have contributed in the foundation of the Art Gallery III
Millennio in Venice, in order to permanently dedicate myself to Mario Eremita's
art. In fact I firmly believe in the genuine commitment of the artist and
in the ingenious complexity both of the technique and of the content of his
The recent exhibition at the National
Art Gallery - National Museum of Bulgarian Figurative Art - in Sofia, dedicated
to Mario Eremita, has further confirmed the great interest that this kind
of painting awakens in the public.
The exhibition was organised thanks
to the will of Antonia Parvanova, a Member of the Bulgarian Parliament and
art collector, Gustavo Selva, President of the Commission for Foreign Affaires
of the Senate and Giovan Battista Campagnola, the Italian Ambassador in Bulgaria.
Moreover, Prof. Umberto Rinaldi,
Director of the Italian Institute of Culture in Sofia, Prof. Stefano Gorghetto,
President of the Association Atanor, and Giorgio De Faveri, President of
Itaca and Honorary Consul in Bulgaria for the Veneto Region, have given
indispensable support regarding public relations.
The attention of the Bulgarian
communication channels were equally important, as the artist's interviews
were broadcast on the radio and on national and international television.
Personally, I had the opportunity
to appreciate the perfect balance between the prominence of the event, determined
by its location at the National Gallery and by the involvement of authoritative
personalities of the Italian and Bulgarian political scene, and the high
quality and intrinsic meaning of the work exhibited. The latter can be easily
The work of Eremita has namely
an absolute unprecedented origin: the painting of this great artist cannot
be not easily labelled and bewilders even the most experienced of the critics
Eremita's canvases establish a
new way of painting, and stand out as milestones: they represent new aesthetic
values elaborated for a new form of art, which the majority of western artists
and critics find extremely difficult to approach. Only a meagre group of
authoritative critics has been able to touch some of its fundamental elements,
first of which is the technique.
Eremita masters the painting and
sculpturing technique as a virtuoso: his hand is literally the prolongation
of this mind and gives form to the mind's desires. Each picture and each
sculpture by Eremita would deserve an in-depth essay to explain how much
talent is needed to be able to transform the colour in a symphony of lights
and shades and to be able to make a hand, an arm or a body as light and
evanescent as smoke and, at the same time, more vivid than flesh itself.
An essay would be required to
understand how he comes to reproduce an entire body with a single brushstroke
or trace a sign with a body, how he comes to convey a universal meaning in
a posture or give a posture not only vital strength but also the dramatic
tension that only can come from the rationality, from the psyche, from social
Eremita is able to conduct the
tonal symphony of colours with the same painful grace of Beethoven and to
reproduce Rossini's rumbling and ironic climax in his sharp graphic articulation
of the line, which he bends and softens according to his absolute will. As
you can see, the comparison reveals itself to be easier when made with music
rather than with other paintings.
Examples of this language, of
embarrassing simplicity for a genius, often remain, as history teaches,
misunderstood for a long time, which can be of some comfort to the artist.
In order to be able to find in
Italy artists whose talent can be compared to the one of Eremita, we need
to go back in time. After observing his works, many experts think that his
work wants to re-launch a kind of new Renaissance. They actually deceive
themselves: the self-deception emerges simply from the fact that they cannot
refer to, as competent authoritative elaborated complex and refined a painting,
without referring to the painting of the past.
From an historical point of view,
Eremita's painting is actually extremely up to date; from an aesthetic point
of view, it is extremely contemporary, precisely as it is the best painting
of the Renaissance, or better as it the best painting of any epoch.
Here, the element of the content
also comes into play. Eremita's art is something serious, as it does not
allow any slackening or any indulging into vacuous imagination. His art is
not diminished by daily life but it pursues an aim: to communicate to the
posterity, to communicate with a universal language and to maintain the gift
of the creative grace within the tracks of its quasi-aesthetic mission.
The human condition is central
to Eremita's poetics and weltanschauung. Human nature is reflected as a mirror
that implacably reveals lights and shadows, peaks and terrible abysses. Eremita
holds a fine and delicate dialogue with Goya and transforms the latter message:
"the sleep of the reason generates monsters".
Goya's testimony introduces complex
themes, grounded on the ancestral corruption of the human species that seems
to be naturally predisposed to evil, to destruction , to phobia. Mario Eremita
represents Man as always dynamically strained and driven, evidently granted
with the gift of magnificent beneficent potentialities, that is the gift
of the abstract thought that renders him nearly transparent. However, at
the same time, the artist represents Man as an infant that initiates himself
Therefore, Eremita represents him
as hollow, brainless, mutilated, blinded, frustrated, deprived of his
potentialities, till the body is transformed into in a monstrous being,
horrendous, deformed by corrupted fat or dried up by a salty acid breeze,
thick of hatred and rancour.
So the painting becomes symbolic,
but its symbolism is abstract and conveys a message of a universal and totalising
power. The symbol of the human specie is the woman; the horse embodies the
machine of diabolical progress, of the war, of the arrogant power of the
Apocalypse to which Man is doomed to go towards if he does not oppose any
Nature is presented as well: it
is the vacuum, the leaden or sidereal atmosphere. It is the "unkind mother
nature" that throws Man into the world and abandons him to his mad run towards
the abyss. Nature represents the torn maternity that presents his son as
a warning that oppresses and exalts: it is the "memento mori".
These are only some symbolic aspects,
a running shot. At a first reading, a pessimistic, if not even a desperate,
picture of the human condition emerges out of this bewildering collection
of meanings. Nevertheless, this reading is by no means exhaustive.
Let's give it a closer look: the
figures that float, fly, precipitate or stagnate, are sometimes horrendous,
frightening, bewildering but never ugly. Through them the artist expresses,
thanks to his divine technique, a profound sensual strength or a powerful
erotic instinct, which melts with the dynamic plasticity previously described.
All this causes in the observer a sense of bewilderment and a great emotional
turmoil that often moves him to tears.
Consciously or not, we cannot help
being struck by the these paintings; however, by being honest to ourselves,
we soon have to admit that our feeling is not one of fear or rejection: what
makes the chords of our sensibility vibrate is the fact that these figures
come into an empathic contact with us and ultimately communicate a message
This message reaches the deepest
of our sensibility; this is because it comes from impenetrable ancestral
depths; looking at these figures, we look into these depths and are attracted
and fascinated by them. They call us, exort us; they would like us to understand;
they point at the possibility of a redemption for all of us, at the possibility
that reason will prevail.
Reason can overcome its sleep only
if the first gives itself up to the most genuine human peculiarities: art,
music, dance, Eros, sensuality, sexual pleasure and creativity.
Only if we firmly believe in the
necessity of this message, can we accept without any dispute Eremita's figures
as sincere companions of an existence lived with the open eyes of awareness.
Finally, his poetics. The contemporary
poetry of our country: Tonino Guerra, Federico Fellini, Pier Paolo Pasolini,
Giuseppe Ungaretti are, for Eremita, the prime cultural references.