A visual alphabet that carves, scratches and caresses


“Valle is neither a creator of order nor its unbridled destroyer”, this is what Maarten Beks wrote in the ‘80s. From then on, the order-chaos duality and the figure of the wayfarer who searches for his home like a modern Ulysses have become the Leitmotivs of Valle’s artistic style and are constantly mentioned by critics. Indeed, when we retrace events in his life and artistic career, it is quite impossible not to think of these themes, especially when we focus on his whole production since he started his career in the 1960s. For once, we are tempted to try and reverse the terms, becoming ourselves the wayfarers of Valle’s order and chaos, stealing a “scent” from the signs, forms and colours that crowd his canvases, in search for that pictorial mystery that repeats itself obsessively and prevents the artist from stopping his dialogue with serial production, where even the slightest variation feeds on its own self in a morphological continuum. By slipping the moorings, we could discover that there is no such distinction between order and chaos in his world, and that one could even say that order was predetermined by chaos, or, if you prefer, that chaos was predetermined by order. Of course, I am just playing on words.


In the “Arcani 2010-2019” exhibition a journey full ofalluring and mesmerizing colours and forms


In order to understand the quid the artist pursues with the pure idiom of painting, we would rather look into the “transformative repetitiveness” of his art and into the expressive enucleations of reality and imagination that are part of his ability to combine things, with the awareness that, when idioms are turned into visions, they always establish a moving system of relationships between themselves and the world. Just like the verbal language, Valle’s visual alphabet leaves iconic and aniconic traces; it carves, scratches, caresses; it does not look for innovation, it looks for freedom. Valle stages life like storytellers do; hence the titles of some of his works, such as Cantastorie balcanica (2012, “Balkan storyteller”) and L’amante del cantastorie (2013, “the storyteller’s lover”). His “ballads” tell us about eternal returns; they pursue the importance of a creative gesture that is as new as it was thousands of years ago. This gesture, which is rooted in memories of primitive cultures, outlines the totem-like shapes that dwell in his mind, engaging them into a dialogue with the contemporary and more and more concise passages of fleeting and improbable realities.The “Arcani 2010-2019” exhibition will not help us understand that quid – as the title of the exhibition reveals – but invites us to take a journey among about thirty large and small works whose elegant watery and earthly backgrounds are cut through by hypnotic colours and shapes, so that some mysterious déjà vu can seduce us once again. Yes, because “Everything is arcane, but our pain” (Leopardi, The Last Song of Sappho).


Paolo Valle
Arcani 2010-2019
Palazzo dei Principi
Correggio (re)
Fino al 06/10
Radium Artis Galleria d’arte
Pietrasanta (LU
Fino al 30/09

Maria Angela Tiozzi




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