Pino Pinelli

Turchetto Plurima / Galleria Il Milione

These two exhibitions of work by Pino Pinelli traced his development from the mid ’70s to the present. In monochrome, Pinelli has found a condition for redefining painting critically. For him, as for most other analytical painters, the reduction to a single color is equivalent to the elimination of subjectivity, but in Pinelli’s work the chromatic values are radically mitigated, because his intentions are focused on the construction of a pictorial event. The manual quality of the work is evident: colors are made visible through the application of several coats of paint, while the complete paintings result from the sum of identical, small fragments. In this way, the monochrome loses its integrity, and the fragmentation of the whole becomes a spatial investigation. Mindful of Lucio Fontana’s work, Pinelli looks at space as the only referent of painting, and he uses the two elements as dialectical poles. But if Fontana proposed the relationship between work and space as the unveiling of a further dimension (a reflection upon the absolute, the indication of an elsewhere), Pinelli intervenes into the actual work, intended both as the virtual space of representation and as a physically constructed object. Thus, beginning in the mid ’70s, his paintings consisted of a totality of identical parts, often arranged to trace linear trajectories. Here, a repetition of shapes marks a regular tempo that reproduces the actions that “construct” each painting. The space of the work, then, is simply the wall upon which it is located; the surface that holds it becomes the condition of its existence.

If the single-canvas monochrome painting is presented as an absolute proposition, Pinelli’s paintings, on the contrary, fragmented as they are on the wall, are in strict relation to the codified space of the wall’s two-dimensional surface. The relationship introduced by the work is dynamic; it institutes a visual rhythm in expansion, and the space “enters” the fragmented work, becoming an integral part of it.

In the pieces from the ’80s, the arrangement of the parts becomes freer, and Pinelli concentrates his analysis on the relationships between colors, limiting his choice to primary and complementary ones. In the more recent pieces, the parts look like splinters applied directly to the wall, bearing traces of the hand that shaped them. The manual quality that governs the work is now emphasized in circular shapes that seem like traces of an elementary gesture. The color takes on a principal role now, because the artist, experimenting with its expressive potential, brings it to the maximum degree of intensity.

Pinelli does not conduct his search for the absolute in the name of transcendence. He seeks the most rarefied way to express an emotional overheating, but one that also pertains to the material foundations of abstract painting.

Giorgio Verzotti

Translated from the Italian by Marguerite Shore.