Giulio Catelli. Beyond order

Not everyone knows that poetry, being the daughter of an incandescent matter, must be read silently, almost secretly, because it seems to guard the secret of thought. You, dear Giulio, have hatched and been able to read it “under a blue sky”, just like a long and whispered confidence. And if it is true that temperament guides the artist, you did this with surprising freshness and a spontaneous creative sense, with a playful quiver. Moreover, at a time when real painters are really unusual, perhaps because they let themselves be fooled by the ephemeral fashions and the apparent flattery of easy success as in a crowd of masks of many colors, you are a radiant and clear rarity. But is it possible, and at what price, to know you better? Then let us enter into your intimate workshop as an artist, in which for a finished painting there are many others and where we glimpse a splendid work, that we want at all costs to possess for the affable and refined aestheticism, you meanwhile, with your meditative severity, You hide it by considering it simply “a job”.

“Giulio Catelli. Sotto un cielo tutto azzurro”, installation view, Ph. Credit Giorgio Benni, Courtesy Galleria Richter Fine Art, Rome

Moreover, we are certain that of all the truths you touch the surest one, because you reveal without delay the roots of your search, aware as you are that beauty, to be such, must transgress the rules. In this way, you impose the pictorial rhythms according to regular intervals, in which the game of the brush shapes a sinuous body with very generous strokes that, however, sometimes voluntarily leaves gaps, so as to make the matter breathe, now more consistent and expanded. Other times, however, for a curious will of yours, clean the canvas with a cloth, generating clear halos, because it seems you are looking for the skeleton of the image, considering how your enemy is the regularity and how much you love to address imperfection a fair benevolence, until you oppose the form intended only as an end. Yours seems to me an unceasing tenacity aimed at changing the creations, going so far as to cancel or modify them, an act that reveals the awareness of how your works have a soul red-hot with an unmistakable sense of purity.

“Giulio Catelli. Sotto un cielo tutto azzurro”, installation view, Ph. Credit Giorgio Benni, Courtesy Galleria Richter Fine Art, Roma

We can speak of a narrative of privileged moments, as they reveal intimate and paradigmatic of personal curiosity. So your subjects live for their exquisitely relative approach, made of clear escapes of glances and ambiguous perspective games. From this comes to life the presence of essential moments of your research, according to which color is a form of ecstasy, but above all a constructive reason for the canvas, for the whole of life. You have understood with lucidity how to imprint a cork to the essence of reality and you have to ask yourself if the imagination takes it. It seems absent. What is used by a multitude of painters, with you is forbidden subject, since you place yourself far from the current mythologies and vagheggiams. Thus you touch on the theme of the garden, of the window, of a view, in which the geography of a small world is enclosed, insofar as everything has a place. You are a proponent of a painting as an experience of life lived, without ever touching any pedantry and fatuous meticulousness, and all this is useful to reveal your love for a search from sonic happiness because indifferent to the sounds of current speculations.

Giulio Catelli, “Al parco (a Villa De Sanctis)”, oil on canvas, 120×200 cm, 2022, Ph. Credit Giorgio Benni, Courtesy Galleria Richter Fine Art, Rome

The pictorial order counts little; then I invite you to reflect asking yourself: how do you tame this essential need to take you beyond the order? On this theme I remember what Carlo Carrà said, an artist dear to you, arguing that carelessness is necessary in art, but it is a matter of nuances, trouble to load doses. In other words, involuntarily and without any obstinacy, you develop a balance of an immanent and elegiac metaphysics, which unites the figures and objects deciphering the mystery that lurks in the soul of your world. But above all, painting with strokes stretched and confused, give shape and strength to things, live the air that moves them as a result of a magic. All this is distinctive, because you offer us the subjects keeping them suspended even if in motion, until you make tangible the blue sky above them.

Giulio Catelli, “Terrazza della J.C. University”, oil on canvas, 24×30 cm, 2022, Ph. Credit Giorgio Benni, Courtesy Galleria Richter Fine Art, Rome

These arguments appear vague yet, perhaps, not so far from your intentions, because they lead us to discover a double lack of your pictorial process: the absence of a closure, which thus leads to an airy and impalpable opening, and the consequent deprivation of an order. Which of the two aspects grips your secret and poetic pictorial vision? In both aspects you reflect yourself, you surrender your figures to freedom and you leave them free from the slavery of a pictorial backdrop, using a bending towards the clear, sharp, lying, always rested dough. You would make any slavish painter shout anathema, precisely because of your absence of rules, because you establish them only in action, with your attention to the tone, first as an expressive valence, then as a material pigment.

Giulio Catelli, “Pranzo col Miki”, oil on canvas, 25×35 cm, 2021, Ph. Credit Giorgio Benni, Courtesy Galleria Richter Fine Art, Rome

One last reflection: about this your necessary disorder, it is consequential to recall the memory of the young Emilio Vedova, whose search is so different from yours, but being you in turmoil just as he, We can share the temperament of listening and reflection with the common aim of extending the field of painting to a quality not illusory. Well, Vedova tells of when he was panicking at school one day because the curve of one drawing couldn’t be symmetrical to the other, So he took the tablet – the instrument of his tortures – and hurled it away, making the Carthusian painters who stood beside him jump. It was at this juncture that his most brilliant works were born. You, dear Giulio, in a sense you make us wince in the same way, you lead us both beyond the order and beyond your soul as a painter, pregnant as it is of naked frankness, strong of boldness, remaining coded with an ever living joy and a shining splendor.

Maria Vittoria Pinotti


Giulio Catelli, Sotto un cielo tutto azzurro
28/03/2023 – 12/05/2023
Galleria Richter Fine Art
Vicolo del Curato 3, 00186, Rome


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