The shores of another sea
Francesco Valeri, Porto San Giorgio 1979, known as ‘Lu FRA’, was one of the artists called upon to interpret flashback 2018, dedicated to sci-fi anthropology, to the meeting between worlds and the contact among them. Francesco Valeri’s work is characterised by a powerful colour, a trait both naive and caricatural, both from the past and the future, charged with humour and sarcasm. His figures have an African touch, a continent which holds a special place in his heart. His artistic expression is by and for the people which are also the subject of his work.
The image represents a timeless context, hanging in the balance between past and future, between new and ancient; two characters belonging to different traditions and identities establish a contact, a meeting made by strange tools: a bulb comes out of the westerner’s ear, while the club-scepter of the “indigenous” tickles his cheek. What world are we in? Francesco Valeri’s sign tells us that – between Picasso and the graffiti – the very role and function of art is to overstep andcross the space-time dimensions, to intersect and connect the levels and reactivate the ‘mechanism of thinking’. In this saturated colorful universe, every option suddenly becomes viable, provided that we remain open and willing. Thus, every age is actually present and we can again today – as in other moments of our history – deeply connect different temporal areas: the ancient, the modern and the contemporary in its becoming.
For flashback he has created live The shores of another sea: a 60 sqm live painting that has embraced the theme of the event and has projected it in a timeless dimension.
The Wanderer, Hunter and Reverie
courtesy Gian Enzo Sperone
Three life-sized figures are placed on plinths, some shaped as rocks, some shaped as logs. Around the sculptures, the walls are decorated with a wallpaper with sea motifs: a digitized picture of waves dissolving on the horizon. Tony Matelli erases reality and unveils a far, imaginary place, on the shores of another sea. We, therefore, like survived castaways from an island of dreams, are invited to embrace our fears, our anxieties, and our curiosity and sense of mystery. The three figures, all self-portraits of the American artist, present almost grotesque characteristics, maybe displaying the way the emotions are animating the artist’s mind. In every character we find conflicting impulses, the same impulses, the same fears and the same curiosity that are part of the journey towards the ‘other’ and the ‘beyond’.
In Wanderer the artist portrays an explorer that travels with a long stick, accompanied by three monkeys, and even though the group seems more likely to be found in the city maybe it’s in the new equipment that we find what we need to imagine a new world. Reverie (the dreamer) represents a character who is apparently carefree, with workout clothes and white socks, playing a small guitar. It’s as if every doubt evaporated in a moment of relaxation. But the tree behind the figure and the rope hanging from a branch behind his neck symbolise the lurking fears. In Hunter Matelli becomes an unlikely hunter, armed with only a rope and whose clothes are seemingly inappropriate. It’s as if the camouflage fabric, suitable to hide among the leaves, had been replaced by a fantastic uniform, perfect to wander in the world of dreams. The stunned expression on his face reminds us of the feeling of smelling a mysterious smell, halfway between repulsion and attraction, between the fear of finding out something unpleasant and the desire to meet something new.
All characters, all castaways, all of them busy trying to represent the contrast and the comparison between fear and curiosity, between bewilderment and desire for knowledge, all visions and feelings resulted from the journey towards the ‘other’ and the ‘beyond’.
Tony Matelli (1971 Chicago, Illinois) is an American sculptor who belongs to the realist sculpture school. He’s known to the general public for the artwork Sleepwalker. He exhibited in the greatest museums in the world such as the Palais de Tokyo in Paris and the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg and with important international galleries such as Marlborough Gallery, Andréhn-Schiptjenko, Gary Tatintsian and Perrotin.