"Bellezza Vera" [True Beauty]
by Riccardo Mannelli
curated by Alessandra Frosini
From September 10th to October 2nd 2016
The Galleria Gagliardi of San Gimignano celebrates its 25th anniversary with an exhibition-event dedicated to Riccardo Mannelli, one of the most important living Italian satirical caricaturists and painters. The artist featured in the 130th event organised by the Gallery was not chosen by chance; Mannelli perfectly represents and sums up the guiding principles that have always inspired the gallery owners (Stefano Gagliardi and Isabella Del Guerra) in their choice of artists and in their evaluation of the traits of their works: beauty, truth, quality and real value. A choice that is not easily sustainable on an art market often contaminated by speculative rules, ephemeral productions, short-lived trends and sector operators with questionable and inadequate professionalism. Not an easy choice but a winning one through the years: thanks to the rigour of this personal vision, many of the artists chosen and permanently supported by the Galleria Gagliardi today are widely shared by many other gallery owners and promoted by museums both in Italy and abroad. The professional merit acquired during the past 25 years has made it possible for the Gallery to organise more than sixty events, outside its own venue, in collaboration with museums, foundations and public organisations.
The Galleria Gagliardi will be presenting “Bellezza Vera” [True Beauty], a solo exhibition of works by Riccardo Mannelli, featuring about fifteen mixed techniques on framed cotton paper, along with dozens of drawings and watercolours of precious painting and graphic quality. As always, Mannelli stages stories where bodies and faces are presented with the awareness that, as the curator of the exhibition Alessandra Frosini writes “...beauty is a fragile gift par excellence, which transforms us, leaves a trace and breathes life into us, nourished by our limits and by our potential. Once we meet beauty, we simply cannot do without it, because it does not coincide with perfection but is rather a state of the Soul.” In Mannelli’s works, the curator explains “… Nothing is left to chance and so, in editing the compositions and building up the drawing of these figures, we find points of reference rooted in the artistic tradition of the past, starting from the Tuscan 15th century, progressing through symbolism and German expressionism and via authors like Klimt, Kokoschka and Schiele, from whom he borrows a new synthesis between soul and senses, revealed in a more intimate dimension of reality. Among his contemporaries, he is close to the neo-expressionist realism of Lucian Freud, of which he underscores the marks left by life on human bodies. From Francis Bacon he takes and presents the style which invents the body and places it in the space, on the surface of the painting, according to a movement capable of conceiving a body, granting the eye unprecedented angles and surfaces. What is created is a simultaneous story, which runs by at high speed when the word-sign slows down, concentrating and expanding space. To quote Roland Barthes, storytelling falls within a trans-historical category, detached from time, which can be embodied in countless tangible supports, from words to actions, writings and images. Mannelli is the author of stories in which most of the atmosphere remains suspended, to stretch the imagination, to create a balance which is always precarious, to grasp the here and now, cancelling one way of storytelling and forming another, different way, with a rhythm all of its own.”