"My vision is spiritual and is commensurate with the accent I put on the invisible, for example on the representation of vibrations rather than on the boundaries of the appearances of things. I mean that I am less interested in the formal aspect of figural representation; rather I act to grasp good vibrations in their essence.”
Bruno Ceccobelli acts on the occult and mystery component of an image that never reveals itself completely, that slips away without letting itself be captured; an artist-seer, he avoids all forms of linguistic regimentation and undermines materialist thought. Since his early work in the first half of the seventies, he has expressed his subversive vein in relation to a complacent and reassuring language, where a minimal-advertising aesthetic formalism prevails. Faced with the prevalence of branded and logged-on art packaged for the window dressers of luxury goods, in line with a trend that has become unbearable over the last decade, he launched his cry of pain in a polemical pamphlet that was not without irony and recalled the posters of the early 1900s. Published in 2009, the volume, with the emblematic title Gratiaplena, Economia della Grazia (the parody of the art economy appears evident), he lashes out against “that immaculate-coated art that is suited to bourgeois behavior, that is more design than metaphor: from the conceptual to the minimal, or from those buffoonish actions of artists (advertising art-directors of themselves), the degenerate grandchildren of Duchamp”. And with a compelling rhetorical device, Ceccobelli denigrates himself; he loudly asks to be called a “painter of nothing” and to be able to make mistakes in order to live the artistic experience exhaustively, free from taboos and conditioning. “I am a hyper-traditional artist, of the post-temporal, a ‘null painter’, I feel that I was born from the Beauty of otherness, the ‘nothing’ that is’ between and by means of you, I remain eternal.” The otherness lies in the constant desire to face the sensible world without escaping from the ethical role of the artist who, like a hacker, constantly impairs the conventions and sell-outs of a system aimed at promoting post-avant-garde decoration without any content. To prêt-à-porter art forced to live in the worldliness of the transitory present, Ceccobelli prefers research aimed at conquering new spaces in a perspective of greater awareness capable of renouncing the here and now. “For Us it is the negation of ‘Time’ that drives us to search for a Better Space, to compact ourselves around our image made up of poetic passages and hidden landscapes, unknown inner decipherments, but reflected clearly on all our determined physical being.” Like St. Sebastian, a recurrent figure in his explorations, Ceccobelli continually exposes himself to the criticisms of detractors, who would like him to show greater coherence, understood as the repetition of signs and constant recognizability so that he can finally be pigeonholed somewhere. But with an attitude verging on masochism, he eludes formulas by distancing himself even from his friends of the Scuola di San Lorenzo. Each work asks to be accepted in its diversity by presenting itself as an intimate, thaumaturgical, alchemical or transcendent event without being replicable or conformist. His is a layered imagery, laden with memory, where the action is never univocal and can summon up infinite technical and stylistic stratagems that are contaminated and overlap with an alogical and visionary procedure. Loss, as Ceccobelli tells me, is the only way to rediscover oneself after having wandered like a blind-sighted person, in the depths of a sunken painting not intended to be exhibited and without any intention of emerging into the open. His exploration across the whole field conceals disquiet and restlessness expressed through magmatic and vital works, not necessarily pleasant, sometimes even irritating, which require to be decrypted, as if they contained messages from vanished civilizations. Art, therefore, as an indispensable necessity, even before it turns out to be a compositional project. “The artistic figures have eyes, hands, feet, wings and fishtails that are all black, masks of childhood competition, absurd simulacra racked by the rays of the Imaginary.” (5) In this sense, Ceccobelli undergoes a process of continuous transformation where the work of art develops in its autonomy through numbers, symbolic rituals, unexpected calligraphies, and unconventional compositional mechanisms. An alchemy that passes through the use of different materials such as lead, ash, sulfur, wax. But also carbon fiber, cardboard, mortar, textiles or colored brushes. From all this arises an articulated and ambiguous intervention where the artist combines the tools of his research, in which he becomes an accomplice.The jagged, wounded, contaminated painting not only passes from one material to another, but rests on every possible three-dimensional support, often resembling an objet trouvé, as in the case of icons or retables with exposed hinges brought out from some cellar or arranged rather carelessly. The fundamental point is to escape from anonymity, from the innocuous conventionality of representation, as well as from the formalist arrangement of the elements. For Ceccobelli the work of art is not a tautology but an “all-knowingness” where the deposit of painting is characterized by entrainment, fringing, deviations and trespassing with respect to an imaginary that distances itself from quotationism. “The figures must surpass themselves penetrating deeply in the invisible well.” In the unexpected of the apparition, the event is fulfilled that interrupts the daily flow, creating a short circuit of the vision from which arise different splinters of distant places. His investigations move below the radar; they tend to sink, as is evident by observing the works that belong to two cycles from 2014 Iride and Pupilla. In the latter case, the tar, arranged circularly, zeroes colors and pays homage to the “creative power of the unseen”, the power of absence and essence. Ceccobelli celebrates black, which has always been a part of his expressive resources (Luce nera, for example, is a major work from 1985). A black filled with light, in fact double light and it collapses due to excess of brightness.The material hosts the whole and fills the gaps. Not by chance, at the center of Iride and Pupilla appears, sometimes, a small mirror, a symbol of imagination and self-reflection that absorbs the black and reveals the real by zeroing the colors. The outside world, depotentiated by appearances, is behind us with its store of memories following us like a shadow. Before lies our consciousness.