Tucci Russo Gallery,
Turin 1992


This exhibition was conceived as a polyphonic choir with one dominating work (Facce di Gomma, Rubber Faces) which set the rhythm with a bass, insistent tone, like a continuous rumbling sound. Three different series of works were shown: Facce di Gomma (Rubber Faces), Ombra su Ombra (Shade over Shade), Per noi (For us). At irregular intervals, like punctuation marks, were very small works depicting a face placed behind a book (or rather the cover of a book) which was colored by the paint painted on the back of the cover. These small works served as intervals, as a silent pause between the recurrent singing turns of the choir. The themes of masquerade, veiling and hiding glided from one to another, giving life to forms, movements and expressive nuclei achieved with sudden changes in technique but always directed to giving emphasis to the painting with a rhythmic alternation of fluidity and fixity.


“The work Rubber Faces is a self-portrait; I worked on my own face, remodeling it.
The human figure is present in my work as a measure, sometimes out of proportion. The question of the body, how it perceives the visual space and its relations to it through representation, underlies all my work.
This work is architectural for me because it defines a space where the themes of the desire for painting and the representation of a neutral space (place of the face and the human presence) co-exist, giving life to a lived-in space. A space of hope, of solutions sharing the questions.
In art the theme of the mask often reemerges to give emphasis to that which should appear veiled or hidden. Even the canvas itself on which the artist paints represents a possible variation.
I like to think of the mask as that which best depicts the artist’s face; an augural object (in the Roman tradition the mask was associated with larva, the caterpillar that would turn into a butterfly) and at the same time as a cup destined to hold color, hence painting.
A cup with a hole in it can never be filled; it is inexhaustible like painting itself. One has to imagine the mask in reverse, a concave form, a container in which to pour the color that has overflowed from its leaking parts with a flow of liquid, as if it rose from a hidden spring that streams down to a valley. I would like to replace the image of the world as a “valley of tears” with a chromatic valley, joyous and expansive.
Tears appear, but they do not signify pain, rather endless flow; they show a chromatic range, a vivacity again expressing the desire to create space, to dissolve into things.
I cannot imagine a work that has unhappiness as its purpose.”
Alfredo Pirri


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