La Passeggiata di Buster Keaton
Solo exhibition by the artist Fausta Squatriti (Milan, 1941), the first to be held in the rooms at Via Lecco 20. The show examines the origins of the artist's work by presenting the cycle entitled La Passeggiata di Buster Keaton [Buster Keaton’s Walk], created in the early 1960s but never previously exhibited.
The title is taken from a play by Federico Garcia Lorca which he described as a farce, written in 1928 after his meeting with Salvator Dalì. The contradiction between the light-heartedness of the walk and Keaton’s enigmatic melancholy became the starting point for the very young Squatriti’s playful depiction of spaces in which debating figures in alluring acid colours describe themselves differently from how they are. Congregated on the edge of a cloud, they throw themselves into the void while the trumpet of doom announces joyful, oblivious defeat. The canvases are both very large and very small; one of the latter illustrates example no.1 from Squatriti’s first artist’s book, inspired by pataphysicist Alfred Jarry’s Tatane, also on display in the exhibition.
In their eagerness for change in the early 1960s, the Milanese bourgeoisie jettisoned the carved and stuccoed frames that traditionally adorned family-owned paintings, replacing them with the simple, narrow white variety favoured by architects. The young artist fell in love with the discarded frames she discovered at Viganò the framers and created canvases to suit them. This sophisticated but misinterpreted approach anticipated the advent of Kitsch, whose popularity was to take off a few years later, mostly due to the study by critic Gillo Dorfles. The frames clash with the rampant pink, blue (but also black) spatiality of the paintings, destabilising their contagious gaiety. Misunderstood at the time, Squatriti convinced herself she’d made a mistake and removed almost all the frames. Today, however, they are once again on show, reunited as an integral part of the canvases.