At the age of 87, he pursues emotions with the delicacy of his lines
His paintings are defined by a dialectical play between perception and conception
“Physical moment and mental moment interact in the work of Riccardo Guarneri; colours tend to lose their identity and turn into pure luminous transparencies and chromatic traces and signs that can be barely perceived. Moreover, by giving birth to geometric shapes from the inside, they give stability to the pictorial surface. The picture is thus redefined on the basis of a dialectical game between perception and conception…”. This is what Filiberto Menna wrote in 1967 about the art of the Florentine maestro, whose artistic research has been guided by this principle to this day. Over the years, he has enriched his gesture of allusive seductions and emotional tips. In the 1960s, in line with his previous experience with Informalism, his focus was mainly on sign; in the 1970s, he focused on a fleeting geometric structure and in the 1980s he finally resorted to watercolour to conquer certain transparencies.
There is a constant monochromatic variation accompanied by classical songs
A moment that the author himself described in a note in 1985, “Now I am painting hard and rather quickly with a small and soft brush. I am staining everything with that pink-orange. I put it on everything: on greens, on blues, on pinks, on whites… and everything turns into a strange hue that seems to almost have a sound, and as I stain the canvas, other empty points appear, waiting for that colour. It is a continuous monochrome variation. Tartini’s concert in E Minor accompanies me in this sort of exaltation”. And here emerges that innate passion for music that has been feeding his personal pictorial compositions, providing them with a persuasive and delicate rhythm. This explains the extraordinary success his exhibitions reaped after, in 1964, he founded the “Tempo 3” group (with Giancarlo Bargoni, Attilio Carreri, Arnaldo Esposto and Gianni Stirone).
“I am considered a lyrical painter, differently from other aniconics”
The group aspired to overcome the dictates of abstract art and Informalism and was invited to participate in several important art events, including the Venice Biennale (where he returned in 2017), the Kunsthalle in Bern in 1966, and the Paris Biennal in 1967, just to make some examples. These exhibitions promoted his talent and spread the message of a new painting style that fostered unknown emotions in those who could receive it. As I mentioned above, with the passing of time this very personal “landscape” of the soul sometimes welcomed a rhythmic and spatial narrative track, giving rise to phantasmagorical apparitions, as if memory wanted to emphasize its importance, or as if he intended to provide the observer with an additional encouragement to look, or wanted to share a delicate consoling vademecum by the modulated means of light, that light that continues to suggest the caress of the gesture.
Guarneri says, “For all this, I am considered a romantic and lyrical painter, differently from other aniconic artists. I fell out of love with strong and striking colours; I was more interested in a beam of light that is reflected on a wall or on a car”. Thus, at the age of eightyseven, he still loves to measure the time of his own emotions with the sublime delicacy of the line and loves to measure the emotions of the people who reflect themselves in his paintings.
Born in Florence in 1933, where he still lives and works, he began painting in 1953 and held his first solo show at L’Aia (1960). He was featured in some important exhibitions: the Venice Biennale (1966, 2017), the Paris Biennal (1967) and the Rome Quadriennale (1973, 1986). He was also invited to a number of memorable exhibitions on Italian art; in 2000, he conceived the project for the 24-square-metre mosaic in the Lucio Sestio metro station in Rome. In 2004, he held the important Contrappunto luce survey exhibition at Palazzo Pitti (Florence). In 2019, during its reorganization, Museo del Novecento in Milan included one of his works, while Museo del Novecento in Florence dedicated an exhibition to him. Riccardo Guarneri taught painting at the Academies of Fine Arts in Carrara, Bari, Venice and Florence.