by Arch. Alessandro Mannelli
Look, touch that roughness; feel the grain of sand, the mortar under your fingers; see the shadows that arise on its surface when the sun's rays pass.
Caress it, the wall.
Discover the mesh of the net that is hidden inside it, which sometimes emerges, or sinks and then comes back on the surface; even becoming a proud protagonist of this research in which it opened, then closed; and then again reopened to let us discover that there is a possible escape route.
But the wall resists; contains the network; and the wall becomes the new boundary.
The wall, the new horizon.
The wall is the central theme, today, of a path that recognizes in its "limes" not the closure but the hope of a beyond, the awareness of an architecture of the world in which the wall lives with its graffiti, its
wounds, his tools that the artist / man uses in the manner of the master craftsman.
And its colors; the gold of the walls withered by time, the deep blue, and the imposing and shameless reds, the torn and floating yellows, the whites stained by the sign of the graphite that appears in suffering transparencies.
Perhaps all this is a prelude to a three-dimensional oneiric vision, where those walls sought, found, represented, macerated and matured inside the soul and above the canvas 'are' boundaries.
Yet those same walls are able to generate within them the cuts, the fissures that become gaps in space and time.
This is what feeds on the path of an artist, and the ability to make us glimpse a possible future from behind the networks of our many deceptions.
Montecantini Terme, August 2018
by Prof. Anna Brancolini
Still the usual humble and daily materials, rich in the taste and smell of a past filtered through the memorial recovery; still the tears on the jute, a metaphor, perhaps, of the lacerations of existence or of hoped and dreamed passages towards an indistinct elsewhere; still those openings in the wire mesh, which project us on this side and beyond the spatial plane of the work, towards the whirlpool of the abyss or a point of salvation.But the artistic research now goes beyond the concept of threshold and overcomes the ambiguous dialectic between order and chaos and between constraint and freedom on which the previous works lingered, meticulous.
In this way a new dialogue is established with the material and the color: refined, the first one, for its different tactility and caressed or scratched as to satisfy the different motions of the soul; the more varied, multifaceted and chiaroscuro the latter, capable of evoking indistinct forms, tremulous horizons or mute presences, almost ghosts torn to a distant dimension, while surfaces quiver with emotional beats or elusive vibrations and the Byzantine glow of gold seem to suggest intercultural trajectories and a renewed dialectic between the sacred and the profane.
Network and jute therefore, in the latest works, are set as a background, even with their strong symbologies; and the research focuses on the infinite plasticity of those sands, those lumps of cement and those acrylic pastes that give body and volume to surfaces and draw multiple dynamic and spatial trajectories, with their scratches, their signs, their imperceptible games of full and empty that seem to hide in itself, filtered by fleeting memories, naturalistic elements: the sand dunes, the plowed or uncultivated fields, the waves of the sea, the clouds of the sky; elements stopped as in blurry snapshots and recreated through new spatial concepts that transport them to another, almost metaphysical dimension; so that the works become an investigation of the absolute space, internal and external, and each referent, of any sign or nature, dissolves and evaporates.
If sometimes shapes appear - mute presences or phantom ghosts, as I said above - these have the contours of the dream and the indistinct. Presences and phantasms of the soul, no doubt, capable of bringing any lived experience or figural element back to an essential, abstract and allusive language.
Even color, this color that now seeks intense blues, blood reds and, above all, the brightness of gold, helps to sublimate every naturalistic echo, every beat of historical time and every fragment of geographical space in an all-encompassing dimension. beyond space and time; and in this complex, apparently simple and minimal whole, different cultural and artistic suggestions dialogue and evocative evocations are evoked the preciousness of the Ravenna and Oriental mosaics, whose exquisitely Byzantine features, with their taste of refined detail and their suspended atmosphere, they are mediated with the deep, variegated and free vibrations of the soul that faces the mystery of the ego and of the universe that the ego contains and justifies. So in these surfaces we perceive a new sacredness: that of our most hidden intimacy and, at the same time, of the cosmic breath that surrounds us, of the infinite space that gives us life, of that continuum that reabsorbs every diversity and makes a small one splinter facing the mystery: a thin but precious trace left by the man of his presence on this earth.
Pistoia, July 2018
The surfaces of Velio
Velio's latest works are real architectural constructions.
The material, mainly cement, is expertly shaped with reliefs, overhangs, recesses that recall pillars and
gutters, walls and vaults, sometimes suspended or intersected with each other.
The effect of plasticity is made even more meaningful by the use of color that harmonizes with the underlying material or makes it stand out, as if to challenge it in a real competition.
Two elements of this
production are striking: the capturing force of the architectural elements
almost leaping out and the vehemence of scratches and smears, measured and
designed to evoke frescoes and paintings of forgotten rooms.
The poverty of materials
seems to be admirably the bearer of compound structures and scratched colors
that recall walls devastated by time, as if to signify the deterioration of
every human work.
Old, faded walls, peeling and
corroded plasters are the images that evoke Velio's works, from which perhaps
an intrinsic sadness emerges that however the artist admirably dampens with
those golden gleams and mosaic speckles that make one vibrate with light the
Laura Cappellini, February
by Prof. Anna Brancolini
There is a reduction to the essentials in these works: wooden surfaces covered by a simple mesh with variable meshes, stopped with hot glue. Pure colors mixed with sand or neutral acrylic paste or cement / glue that caress these surfaces and these nets creating different tactility, vibrant, chiaroscuro.
The colors are few and recurrent: the black of the night, the blue of the depths of the sea, the bright yellow of the sun and the wheat fields, the white with ambiguous valences, made pulsating by brilliant golden inserts and also present on the jute of other pieces , always characterized by chromatic contrasts and the dialectic of lights and shadows between superimposed spaces.
The result is works full of quivering, dynamic in their apparent static and in their use of geometric modules, always corroded by something imperfect: a ragged tear in the jute, an irregular cut in the net, with the jutting out of the links to other planes space, with volumetric temptations.
An allusive ambiguity envelops these plastic forms that seem to express the multiform values of the concept of limen: threshold, but also limit and boundary and, again, starting line and therefore beginning and beginning. Trajectory towards a faded and uncertain elsewhere, frightening and reassuring at the same time: the limen - note - is also the house, the safe harbor, the nest (G. Pascoli).
So the network expresses the sense of closure and constraint or is a sort of protective cage to stop emotions and memories and remove them from the inexorable flow of time and oblivion?
The tears allude to the many lacerations of life, are the ring that does not hold (E. Montale) or the passage to the elsewhere, the escape of salvation, the metaphor of freedom or the reassuring port of a landing but never definitive and defined?
Perhaps all of this together, in these surfaces of uncertain status, traversed by tremulous horizons or plots of vibrant yearnings to escape upward, up, into the sky.
To the earth, with all its load of experience, bring us the scratches on the hills, on the sand and pasty colors, those scratches that seem to write an intimate and hidden story, very personal, and also evoke the distant charm of ruined or scuffed walls, rigged by the experiences of the submerged and anonymous life of generations.
Visions of the mind and of the heart, nostalgic evocation and composed of something lost, on an individual and collective level, to which the poor materials - the net, the jute - undoubtedly initially recovered: those materials that, almost with modesty, they refer to the ancient craftsmanship of the territory and to the warmth expressed by the hand of man.
On the other hand Ferretti's works are neither casual nor improvised: they closely weld a dexterity lived without reservations with the lucid awareness rational of a project that has clear the play of the symmetries and the formal, chromatic and perspective equilibriums of the compositions.
So reason and feeling come together in these pluriverse and synaesthetic works that stimulate multiple sensory levels with their luminous and material quivers and seem to really come from deep to plunge into the deep, to the frontier of an indistinct dimension: a measured and discreet trace of one's own interiority and also veiled and suggestive metaphor of the Wandering Man to the perennial search of oneself and of never definitive ports.
Always ad limina, in fact.
Pistoia, April 2018
by Prof. Federico Napoli
In early Velio Ferretti ‘ s paint, geometric shapes of landscapes, chromatic fullness, space complexity, whole descriptive composition, general synthesis, come to be felt too restrictive and too descriptive from the painter who needs therefore a new research elsewhere.
Ferretti set a knowledge and a comparison method with different materials and he searches the way to divide shape and content. A necessary creative process to gain a new expressiveness in his works. Today we are able to find personal inner reality in Ferretti’s life spaces. The author’s attitude comes to light through non-narrative allusions, while objective references disappear.So, since 2015, Ferretti’s artworks moved from “the inside” to “the outside”, the painting leaves represantative component and gains more reflexivity,so the focus moves from the object to the subject.
Artwork shows soul and personal truths that the painter can only try to identify, it is an echo where we can find tremblings and thrills, anxiety and hope.
Ultimate works have a global vision : in a material and ideal cage, that is metaphor of segregation, imprisonment, constriction and loss of visual , a breach is opened. “…this edge which hides from my view/so large a portion of the farthest horizon…” (Giacomo Leopardi, “L’infinito”).Trough this one we can escape and find a hopeful mood that we can gain through a difficult and undifined way.
The cage foresees a metallic structure emerging from a chromatic mass; this structure can be broken and so we can see a hopeful feeling.
The artworks live in a colorful mesh (often but not always dark), where polygonal structure of constitutive elements collides with the rectangular and regular dimension of work surface area: snatches are underlined by a clear colour – but often we can find an inverted situation-, cerating a conversation with action,light and perspective depth.
Ferretti focuses on his inner world. The composition doesn’t centralize neither assume an accurate sign as necessary, so it arises more emotional.
Consequently sign and gesture relate the substance and its manipulation; the author gains flash lighting, freedom, hopeness despite he doesn’t use academic, heartening compositive elements – replaced by a huge material surface made with plasters, glues, sand, metallic net that lying on canvas, wood and jute surface.His places are closed, we need to escape to reach other spaces where there is anyway an occlusion sense.
To get really free we need to start a long and perilous road made of Ferretti’s language symbols. Tangles and crossroads refer to the difficult continuation of the journey.Painting surface stripings and geometrical inclusions of metallic nets create a tactile duality of lights and shadows. An uncertain horizontal line preludes a not so easy hope to hand. So we face a strictly personal creative world : “ Let the doors whisper, people of the world along corridors don’t listen” (Ray Bradbury, “Interval in Sunlight”).
Even if the context is dramatized a controlled order, of complex and suffering techniques, remains on the work surface area. The painter seems to show strongly a possible way of freedom that is however uncertain.
The art of painting becomes an existential research with an humanistic and personal effort and without a narrative and metaphisical aim close to mankind: notwithstanding a biting reality, a snatch liberating gesture overtakes limits and it leads beyond as a gamble, towards the hope of an elsewhere.
Velio Ferretti is in progress.
Firenze, luglio 2017
by Arch, Alessandro Mannelli
"Maybe it is true that each man carries loyalty to a certain voice inherent in his very blood, and that he cannot but obey that voice, however many defections occasion may incite him to."
Gesualdo Bufalino “The Keeper of Ruins”
(translated by Patrick Creagh)
There comes a time when the emotion of old thoughts becomes overwhelming. There comes a time when the calmed depths mature and the soul’s tears break free and hover in the air.
There comes a time when our senses are able to distinguish the subtlest fragrances, the smoothest – or roughest – surfaces, the most refined tastes, the sweetest – or harshest – melodies.
There comes a time when the innermost self can be reached without fear and is regarded with respect and love but also with crystal-clear awareness.
Or perhaps as much self-knowledge as awareness. Or the opposite. Out of this opposition comes a multifaceted sense of shame that leads one to deny, at times, one’s own nature, but also to assess oneself objectively, as if standing before a full-scale mirror, you could see someone who only resembles you, but is not really you – that person you thought you knew.
Life teaches us to compete with ourselves. Yet what lingers in the end is the peace made with one's own experiences, one’s own story.
Art, every artistic expression is an obvious and inescapable sign of this progression and its outcome. Velio has lived life and his experience bears clear and inescapable traces of how much each of us “carries written in our own blood".
The first outcomes of his intellectual journey, of his expression as a man and an artist belong to a distant past, yet they are powerfully and clearly connected to his latest works, in which there clearly appears a reduction to the essential, a real-life poetry, transferred to the rough and imperfect surfaces, that the artist has wished to exalt in his latest works.
Velio is reborn as a phoenix each time that he, as a man, transfers to canvas perceived tensions, and attempted or imagined paths. This necessary passage belongs to all those who live and coexist with the flame of art, often subdued or disguised by other, very different activities.
Velio is reborn, and his new life is traversed by the thrills that lead him into uncharted lands.
Velio is reborn and his artistic-self explores roads that belong to a somewhat different past. Yet in the reconstructed pieces, in the nettings that capture memories, in those rough, skillfully blended surfaces with deep red, brown, and gold backgrounds, experiences related to structures of operating behavior, to man-resource management, social skills and desires that belong to man are re-interpreted, creating a conscious metaphor of the artist who survives, resists, and finally emerges triumphant.
However, let us go slowly.
At first it was a triumph of color, especially yellows and reds, with backgrounds defined by a spider’s web of "paths", as if to identify a hypothetical mental map (perhaps of life’s journey?).
A symphony of notes with senses alert to the fragrances and flavors of a new life and new directions.
As in a life re-lived, each painting has pushed the exploration of color further and brought thoughts closer together, until they formed clusters, the reds acquired shape, materiality, and density, and the yellows become suns, pure gashes of gold.
Look for a tear in the net
that binds us, burst out, break free! ... "
E. Montale , On the Threshold , from “Cuttlefish Bones”
Awareness and the interpretation of pain is overpowering; the tear in the wire netting appears uncontrollable and liberating and the sun, a hint of salvific light, a moment of new-found joy, a triumphant joie de vivre.
The wire netting – sometimes a fine or a coarse mesh, sometimes a squared micromesh – pasted and blended into the background material is suddenly opened. Does the tear mean there is a way out of suffering?
We should not ask he who experienced it and offers it.
Velio does not answer. His tranquil silence lets each individual interpret that doubt.
It is true. Each person can read their own story in these deep red pieces, in those paintings where gold or brown form the background and open elsewhere into a vertical or horizontal slit where brown, black, and gold itself separate the “world” into two universes. These two universes seem to reflect each other as in some of the more recent works where the almost whites give the impression of a new horizon. Perhaps it is a new frontier for the artist, a new approach, a different awareness, a road for those who have passed through the mesh of this “wire netting” and travel freely on the sea of a new world.
Alessandro Mannelli, October 2016