The Lord of the Cities
His painting rests on perspectives and daring visual objectives
HIS CRITICAL STAND IS CLEAR
AND STEMS FROM A REFLECTION
THAT IS NOT SIMPLY ARCADIAN
The opinion that Carmine Ciccarini’s paintings are only the expression of an emotionally descriptive painting of genre is very controversial. The same goes for the idea – which stems from this label – that his works must conform to specific and well established canons of interpretation that are controlled by the sense of sight and the heart. This analysis is related to a knowledge of the subject/landscape that is certainly more historical than analytical, and tends to justify this approach resting on recognisable visual qualities, which art critics and the general public have always considered engaging and poignant. Although Ciccarini’s painting cannot avoid this interpretation completely, a deeper and more focused look sheds light on the meaning of Ciccarini’s work.
In fact, the artist from Chieti willingly went another way: from the start, Carmine decided that his art, besides never being completely social or indifferent, would have been detached from certain individual and introspective issues that are related to the nostalgic idea of landscape understood as an answer to a contemporary age that has forgotten painting. This aesthetic choice actualises in a tangible artistic dimension: the artist uses oil paint and his workdays are intense and measured; he knows very well which features he should highlight to related his work to a kind of visual narration that is typical of the contemporary freedom of the press. This is supported by his intuitive use of photography; moved by an innate thirst for knowledge, which goes beyond the sensations of the moment, Ciccarini uses photography to record the potential moment by shedding light on the constructive idea: an idea made of perspectives and inventive visual objectives that have much in common with cinematography, theatricality and that special feeling of absence from the scene that you can feel when you stand behind the camera. Rather than upon emotional engagement stirred by the view, this idea rests upon a documentary approach to it. When he portrays mainly urban landscapes and views of interiors, the painter recovers a descriptive, static and circumstantial point of view, which many people have duly viewed in the context of certain conceptual results that were achieved by authoritative artists from Hopper to de Chirico (the step is so small). Nevertheless, the artist is more attentive to the constructive power of light, than to its social meaning; he is more interested in the geometric incidence of planes of light, than in their intellectual action.
HIS DESCRIPTIVE AND CIRCUMSTANTIAL
POINT OF VIEW REFERS TO THE
ART OF HOPPER AND DE CHIRICO
And notwithstanding the constant relationship with this noble past made of quotations, it seems that the way in which he modernizes the subject of genre is more interesting than any other comparison. It is also true that one cannot deny that Ciccarini’s views have a confirmed critical stand, although it is still understood in the context of a reflection that is not simply Arcadian: for the artist, the constant and yet latent feeling of estrangement aroused by the scarcely controlled urbanisation that took place over the last hundred years becomes a sheer account of the phenomenon, to which he attaches structural and formal qualities that are proper of painting. So, night light becomes semiotic reading, a sequence of buildings becomes broad birds-eye perspective, composition becomes constant curiosity for reality and invention at the same time. Instead of conforming to minimal contemporary art, which devotes only to the rigour of form and contents and expresses it through the essentiality of lines, he stands on the opposite side of the spectrum and feeds a complex overall view in which each element has its own assigned value.