2010 - ENZO AMENDOLA, THE ENIGMA OF MEMORY (A. R.Barberini) Stampa E-mail

Questioning oneself these days on the reasons behind painting, taking for granted, not its exquisitely inextinguishable discipline as its true necessity of being in terms of the topicality of the shapes and of their content that couldn’t be otherwise expressed, means to imply, with passionate competence, its millennial story and to evaluate, in light of the experience reached so far, the hypothesis of further developments that could give back a certain vision of the world by means of its very mediation.
In other words, this is a critique of the art of painting from within, but carried out with an approach that is free from the centennial anxiety to conform to the tradition of novelty and to other forms of adaptation and negation of ancient rules. On the contrary, it consciously, perhaps heroically, tries to recuperate and safeguard some precious prerogatives typical of painting with an intelligence which makes it appear almost accidental.
In his Roman study, long ago, while too much figurative painting exorcised its apparent destiny of solitude and isolation, representing workers’ assemblies, Enzo Amendola already followed this virtuous and complex itinerary with no easy ideological winking. Nor did he use the fragile and temporary support given by the tendency to objectify the image that today, decades later, seems on the contrary to dominate the scene, with the help of the media’s conditioning influence on our capacity of interpretation. From this perspective, the work of the figurative painter Amendola could appear as a long term bet won with difficulty. Maybe it could really be so, at least for now, weren’t it for the sidereal distance separating this artist from the most minimal interest in his own belonging to the front of the winners or the losers, in the eternal battle for the dominance of current trends.
Perhaps also because of his generation and cultural background, the interpretation given by Amendola differs from the referential image which is nowadays so popular, not just among younger artists, especially in its glacial objectivity. This differentiation lies in the particular, almost implied  bond which transforms his personal research into an independent, original and unrepeatable experience though it is clearly linked to numerous masters of the past.
His painting, therefore, has and preserves clear and noble roots and historical “assumptions”. And because of this, while on the common grounds of figuration, it differs from that of younger artists who are orphans of true pictorial fathers as they lean on technology.
In this gap which is, as mentioned, first of all generational, lies the difference between Amendola and the new generations. His interpretation of the image, while conserving its crystal clearness, is the result of a complex approach made of emulation (in its most noble, historical meaning) and imitation of experience, nature and in some measure of reality (not excluding even the virtual version). On the contrary, the formulation of a referential image, through the interpretation given by a virtual reality considered as a new model of reference, is typical of more recent pictorial trends that have avoided the “encumbrance” of a cultural heritage.
And it is in the “virtual identity” of these handmade works, born so to speak from the imitation of a technological rather than straightforwardly natural image, that many people in the business recognise something which is very close to the aura of contemporaneousness.
There’s no need to highlight the debt of this latter side of painting towards the principle of “great sharing” which, as it is, reveals beyond suspicion the Pop “contaminations” that, on the contrary, are unconditionally excluded in Amendola’s works.
In highlighting these connoting characteristics, a new and effective interpretation of Metaphysics intervenes in the paintings of the Roman artist. Through the strength of the Metaphysic enigma, this interpretation exorcises the dangers of banalizing an image by condemning it to seduce, from the first glance, with the technical understanding expressed in its visual elements which are drenched with everyday and present life. Paradoxically, despite the hyper realistic approach due to the dimension in which they are placed, these motifs will hardly recompose the intelligible unity of a theme, giving to the artwork the precious trait of the unspeakable. And this enigmatic solution which, in the end, makes us think of the convergence of certain poetic appeals by Giorgio de Chirico and Richard Estes – even though one could go back to Piero della Francesca – could guarantee to Amendola’s canvases the most absolute extraneousness to Pop art even if they were to represent any symbol of pop culture.
On closer inspection, therefore, the activity conducted by the artist makes it possible, so to speak, for painting to exit the dead end traced by the substantially illustrative, hyper realist orthodoxy, and step backward, in space and time, to find a way for an “open” work, which doesn’t exhaust its potential of meaning within itself, but, on the contrary, is completed by the hypothesis of significance made by those who see the artwork. It is for this reason that, despite certain formal appearances, Amendola’s activity is, in fact, more “progressive” than “reactionary” (no matter how evident are the links to the masters of the “return to order”) because starting from the most rigorous referential image, it tends to neutralise the sterility of hyper realism in order to give back a free and active role to eye and mind, thanks to the enigmatic interpretation.
The virtuous lack of a unique interpretation appears as a consequence of a sort of pictorial “assembly” of fragments of life, not merely domestic, “frozen” in the memory. Different situations create within themselves the paradox of coherent incongruence, while in the presence of a highly measured chromatic system, somehow tonal, that is often lighted by flashes “out of register”, visual unexpected events which are very similar to a musical accident. An enigmatic and sophisticated “disjointedness” derives which sometimes shows certain elements as out of place, as though they were part of a collage.
These are frames taken from memory and saved from oblivion, a point of reference in a mind loaded with nostalgia that moves forward image after image and reconstructs situations by identifying details. Pictures standing out on the blur of flat splashes of colour hinting at the sea, the sky, the infinity, and spared, through painting, from being wrecked by the infinity of time.  
(trad. Slawka Scarso)