Daniele Innamorato

Paolo Curti/Annamaria Gambuzzi & Co.

Allowing liquid paint to run down a vertically positioned canvas is certainly nothing new in painting, but it’s hard to think of anyone, at least in my memory, who has applied this simple painting technique to the wall of the exhibition space as well as to the surface of the canvas—at least until now. Daniele Innamorato expands this mechanical and passive gesture to an environmental scale, transforming it into a generator of energy. The video Opera Prima (all works 2007) documented the operation: The artist and some assistants climb a ladder and apply brushes full of acrylic paint where the wall and ceiling meet; the paint then flows down the wall to the floor. The video shows the production process as a veritable Happening, charged with a playful spirit that could still be sensed in the finished work: gallery walls completely covered with colored vertical lines, all the same distance apart, and all in vivid acrylic tones. In short, the repetitiousness and passivity of the gesture were transformed into rhythm, energy, and dynamism.

Hung at the center of one wall were six canvases, numbered rather than titled, that had been treated in the same manner. Thus, a second battery of lines was superimposed upon those poured along the walls; most were also vertical, although some canvases were turned onto their sides, superimposing horizontal lines on the verticals. The artist also played with variations: The canvas that first greeted gallery visitors, 3, has an irregular pattern to its lines, introducing a formal element of disturbance. Innamorato puts a great deal of effort into preparing his canvases, freeing them from the stretcher frame and resting them on top of wooden structures he has arranged for this purpose. He often uses the same tools (tripods, for example) that served him in his earlier work as a fashion photographer. On top of the surface he has thus “shaped” he pours the liquid paint, which then takes various directions and, once the canvas is exhibited, interacts with the pours of color scattered over the wall, further complicating their perception.

But that’s not all. In front of two of his canvases, Innamorato also exhibited two Rietveld chairs, famous examples of historical design, which had been painted completely white before being subjected to the same sort of pictorial intervention. Thus, the chairs have become an integral part of the two paintings, as if to signify that painting, on the one hand, is reduced to material that chromatically enlivens whatever it touches, but on the other hand can invest every object, including those tied to everyday existence, with its energetic potential. The show also contained two “still lifes,” that is, groupings of objects (plates, brushes, notebooks), each including a skull, all painted white before being covered with colored stripes and placed in front of a striped canvas. The intervention in this case, however, was less convincing, being too laden with symbols and too Dionysian in treatment.

In another room, where the walls remained untouched, a large canvas with a chair in front of it revealed a different mode of intervention. The surfaces of the canvas and the chair had been covered in spray paint and were spangled with circles of different colors. The effect is almost optical, making the piece nearly impossible to look at, as almost blinding flashes form along the rings that surround the nuclei of intense color. The reasoning behind painting has outrun the logic of vision as well as that of functionality.

Giorgio Verzotti

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.