All art is contemporary…Episode #13

03 March 2021

“The animals”

Fauna between symbols and meanings in the work of Flashback’s eight edition.

“Man does not know more than the other animals; he knows less. 
They know what they need to know. We don’t.” 
Fernando Pessoa
Let us start our weekly incursion into Flashback’s works by detecting what the world of domestic, wild and imaginary fauna is telling us. The first one is an ancient intriguing Ningxia carpet on a yellow background, coming from the 19th Century’s China, 198 x 132 cm, which represents – in its complex plot – the dogs of Fo, hounds of the Chinese tradition that are also called watchdogs. 

Let us then focus our attention on Enzo Cucchi, born in 1949. The work is drawing Senza titolo of 2020 (pastels and charcoal on white card, assembled in an irregular shape), which belongs to I Predicatori “The Preachers” series. The subject is the muzzle of a horse that transforms and branches out through the black of the charcoal. By the “The Preachers” series, the artist give birth to some sort of fantastic bestiary, where the irrational, the vision and the dream reign. 

The incursion continues with Scena pastorale by Dirck Van Den Berghen, oil on canvas of 1675. A composition of animals in the foreground: three bovines, two ewes and a lamb; the sun which emits a soft light through the clouds; a hut within which we spot the figure of a man, all elements which – as a whole – perfectly render the serenity of the rural life.

Carol Rama, a painter from Turin, adds a further tessera to the tale by her work S.T. of 1990 (marker and enamel on cardboard), which represents a man with an orange-colored toad beside him; on it, another green toad with red, black and yellow dots. Fantastic totemic animals the artist used to draw beside naked subjects; animals that multiply, evolve and represent transformation.

We continue with the Horse of China Shaanxi province, Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.), in gray terracotta with polychromy on white engobe. This work expresses the dynamism of such animal: the neck in torsion, the head facing upward, the tensed ears, the open mouth and the lifted right paw highlight its restlessness and realism.

Finally, the precious Earrings in yellow gold, black onyx and diamonds of 1970 approx.: golden rings that thicken and turn into snake heads crowned by diamonds resting on the volcanic stone black background. By their shapes, these jewels recall a snake biting its tail, i.e. the ouroboros, the symbol of the eternal return, of all that ends to restart in an infinite cycle.

In the image, on the top Left /hand: Dirck Van Den Berghen, Scena pastorale (Pastoral scene), 1675, oil on canvas, cm 26.7 x 33, courtesy of Galleria Luigi CarettoTurin (I), Madrid (E). Enzo Cucchi, Senza titolo (Untitled), belonging to the series “I Predicatori” (The Preachers), 2020, pastels and charcoal on white cards assembled in irregular shape, cm 170 x 110, courtesy of: Aleandri Arte ModernaRome (I). Followed by: Ningxia Carpet, China 19th Century, cm 198 x 132, courtesy of: Mirco Cattai Fine Art & Antique RugsMilan (I).
Below, on the LH side: Carol Rama, S.T., 1990, marker and enamel on cardboard, cm 34 x 24, courtesy of: Galleria Del PonteTurin (I). Followed by: Earrings, Italy about 1970, in gold, black onyx and diamonds, courtesy of: Lorenzo e Paola Monticone Gioielli d‘Epoca, Turin (I). Followed by: A painted pottery horse with raised neck, China Shaanxi province, Tang Dynasty 618-907 A.D., gray terracotta with polycrhomy on white engobe, cm 49 x 54.5, courtesy of: Schreiber Collezioni, Turin (I).