2012 - THE GIFT AND THE PROJECT OF ENZO AMENDOLA (Mario Lunetta) Stampa E-mail

The gift (and the project, obviously) of Enzo Amendola’s
visual work is something I’d be tempted to define
as unnatural naturalness: the artist has always
exerted on his matter, confined in a very concentrated
perimeter, a valiant formal safeguard and a clear rigour.
The authenticity of the immediate relationship with the
subject is always put through a series of second degree
interventions that modify its sense and measure. The
artificio, the Russian formalists’ prïem, namely the primacy
of shape over content, is a de-regulating element
always present in the research of this Roman artist. One
needs to say, however, that Amendola’s syntax proceeds
with oblique movements, avoiding any declared
confrontation. Though within his organically compact
synthesis, in his firmly plural system of nature, it strategically
aims at causing distress in the viewer’s certainties,
thanks to a (never sensational) play of movements,
postponements, discards, allusive détours which, even
in the less explicit situations, inspire, on a narrative
level, alarm and suspicion.
The artist’s works, from the fascinating oil paintings
to the skilful etchings, seem to have been self-generated.
At first glance, the viewer’s impression is somewhat
similar to the suggestions given by the poetics of
“impersonality” that in literature were, between
Flaubert and Zola, the modus operandi of a late Nineteenth
century realism, more visionary than mimetic.
Well, a painter such as Amendola tends to disappear
from his work, while always transferring on it every
responsibility of viewpoint and style. Of course, he
doesn’t always succeed, as in the marvellous case of
one of the most perturbing paintings in the series of
works from the latest years, such as Il bagno, 2011.
Here, without any contradiction, a double, dissociated
and estranged vision of the personae is in fact accentuated
in a pictorial drama made extraordinarily restless
by its seeming phlegm: all of a sudden, on close up, a
full-figured self portrait, absolutely anti-celebratory, is
looking at the viewer sideways while giving its back
to a female figure entering the waters of the sea, with
its still, light green bed, its absence of sparkles, if only
for a little wavelet around the her legs.
Amendola, as I already had the chance to notice in
the past, does not hide his network of absences behind
the fetish of incommunicability. On the contrary, he
seems to temporarily suspend the communication between
his characters, and between these and objects,
indoor settings and nature: it’s a sort of philosophical
waiting, resolved in a painting with a sobriety increasingly
full of inner richness, its figurativeness having an
by Mario Lunetta
enigmatic, cruelly inquisitive abstraction, while objects
often acquire the role of protagonists. The outdoor armchair
is an example (Gusci in riva al mare, 2011); as
the above mentioned Il bagno; Bagnante che riposa
(2011), created following a completely staggered visual-
spatial organization, under a softening light,
vaguely revived by moments of more lively colours;
L’armadio (2011), in which the white gleam of the
armchair entertains a both placid and hostile relationship
with the green piece of furniture and the hanging
dresses. In these and other artworks the artist lingers
without a hint of rhetoric on classical statuesque exhibits
regarded as not too different from contemporary
objects and manufactured products – above all, I’d say,
dresses. Through their role of true protagonists-antagonists,
the artist develops a sort of visual and tactile
fetishism, lit with beautiful chromatics, often becoming
the centre of the image. He does so through dresses,
bathrobes, perhaps casually placed on a chair, bedcovers,
carpets; and shoes, preferably tennis shoes, left on
the floor in an affectionate oversight in the tight corner
of this aesthetic universe which masterfully filters even
the easy seductions of a summer and marine imagerie,
while, on the contrary, being constantly engaged in a
profound questioning of the phenomenal chaos, caught,
with patient intelligence and extraordinary talent, with
its insufficiency, its precariousness and frailty, its
morsels of faith.
That of Amendola is a tragic painting that never raises
its voice. Thanks to its consciousness, it imposes, upon
itself, the essentiality of a language rich in a culture
made of instinct and nature. And in this series of texts
regarding the research of these recent years one can
find, with the usual rigorousness, a sort of colour reduction:
like a stylistic twilight inclination that, if possible,
makes the calmness of the look even more
The random and insane circus that we call the Art’s
Market is now capable of giving involuntary lessons
of self-interest and deceit. Humorous inventions follow
phoney brainwaves: and within the suffocated Culture,
with all its compartments now regulated almost exclusively
on the basis of mediocrity dressed up as urgency
and sensation, Enzo Amendola’s lesson is also – in evident
and sharp contrast – that of a Master of integrity
and great pictorial distinction.
April 2012 Mario Lunetta
(trad. Slawka Scarso)