Giorgio Bartocci. Camouflage reflections: the demo...

Giorgio Bartocci. Camouflage reflections: the demon of color in contemporary urban space

For several years the young muralist Giorgio Bartocci has developed a personal expressive language that comes from the street, perceived as a physical environment and emotional forge, and aims to expand in different fields of contemporary visual culture, such as fine art, graphics and fashion. The characteristic that unites all of his production is the ability to orchestrate large masses of color that transfigure and move the surfaces to which they cling, combined with an obsessive attention to detail that demonstrates how, even in the most passionate chromatic explosions, the artist never loses control of painting and its relationship with the surrounding space.

This is also confirmed by his latest outdoor work, the site-specific project Riflessi mimetici (Camouflage reflections) commissioned by the Zanichelli publishing house for the windows on the ground floor of the offices of its headquarters in Bologna, a spectacular building designed by Luigi Veronesi in 1938 in a monumental style. The starting idea, suggested by the reflective transparency of the glass, is to summarize in an abstract form the architectural presences that surround the visual field of the painting (as if it were the painting that looks around to absorb the essence of what it encounters), at the same time integrating the fleeting passage of people, things, lights and shapes into the image. In the design phase, as is his consolidated practice in urban interventions, Giorgio Bartocci created a dense series of visual, mental and emotional samples of the neighboring context, and more generally of the visual culture of Bologna, which he then translated into gestural and compendiary brushstrokes and in overlays of papers and materials with different textures. By assembling and enlarging these suggestions, he arrived at the final image, a mimetic continuum on an environmental scale that was then printed on a semi-transparent film, subsequently applied to the display case in a total identification between the support and the chromatic and material elements constituting the work. Calibrated gashes in the adhesive film in fact let the viewer see some mirroring portions of the window, which become unstable visual elements integrated into the painting in which, depending on the angles from which they are observed, tactical shots of the neighboring architectures or fragments of reality in movement appear.

The project brings out a subverted interpretation by the artist of the concept of camouflage, usually associated with the idea of ​​hiding the outward appearance of an element by standardizing it with that of another one to make it unrecognizable. Here, on the contrary, the camouflage created by Giorgio Bartocci works as an tool of revelation, liberation and galvanization of the urban landscape, which in his vision is never a static succession of lines, volumes and colors, but a fluid jumble of energies in constant transformation. The careful work of preliminary chromatic and material sampling and the meticulous pictorial connections between the parts of the image divided by the window frame allow the eye to spontaneously recognize the continuity and homogeneity of the work with the surrounding landscape, perceiving it as its augmented version free from the laws of physics. What the viewer is faced with is a spectacular battle of antagonistic chromatic masses, a swirling mix that tells the urban environment as if it were a monumental contemporary tribal epic. In Giorgio Bartocci’s creative process, vision and imagination coincide and exchange roles: the deeper the artist pushes his perceptual and emotional investigation of the world, the more powerful his gestural restraints of the atmospheres he breathes become.

In Riflessi mimetici we can glimpse the precious transparencies of a fiery dawn next to sensual metallic sparkles that allude to the night and we can imagine concrete, plaster and asphalt as creative and destructive forces that, mixing together, generate space and life. Each trace of color is a peremptory presence and finds its rightful place in a sort of fight-dance that makes it live in unison with the other pictorial elements. In this regard, we could speak of urban animism: the brushstrokes are like mysterious colored animals ready to tear each other apart, elementary divinities of a postmodern cosmogony in which the only survival strategy is the ability to dissolve into the other. As in any natural selection process, there is no violence in the continuous rebirth and death of a chromatic paste that regenerates itself starting from its own endogenous energy, whose irradiation capacity becomes an invitation to extend to the surrounding urban setting the sentient and participatory attitude that this painting requires. Looking at the movement of color, it is inevitable to become passionate about the titanic events of these abstract chromatic demons to the point of perceiving on the skin their mysterious biological and primordial physicality, which reminds us how man-made spaces can be pregnant with stories and suggestions, if only we can mentally overcome the inertia inherent in the habit of considering the structure a definitive category.


Giorgio Bartocci, Riflessi mimetici, detail of glass painting. Photo: Nicola Babaoglu (Midnight Snack Agency), Bologna, 2021

Giorgio Bartocci, Riflessi mimetici. Photo: Nicola Babaoglu (Midnight Snack Agency), Bologna, 2021

Giorgio Bartocci. Riflessi mimeticiGiorgio Bartocci, Riflessi mimetici. Photo: Nicola Babaoglu (Midnight Snack Agency), Bologna, 2021

Giorgio Bartocci, Riflessi mimetici. Photo: Nicola Babaoglu (Midnight Snack Agency), Bologna, 2021

Giorgio Bartocci, Riflessi mimetici, detail of glass painting. Photo: Nicola Babaoglu (Midnight Snack Agency), Bologna, 2021


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