Giulio Catelli, Gianluca Di Pasquale, Andrea Grott...

Giulio Catelli, Gianluca Di Pasquale, Andrea Grotto: the reasons for a question

Sometimes we feel an imperative need not to listen, and when we are asked a question, we respond lightly and intuitively.  In an incomprehensible, poorly heard, and perhaps unspoken word, new and broad interpretive horizons unfold, as if wanting to narrate a joyful world, rippled by intelligent laughter, a symptom of experiences, issues, and doubts. In such a halo of sentiment lies the exhibition e se non gridi non ti sento, ridi?, featuring works by Giulio Catelli, Gianluca Di Pasquale, and Andrea Grotto, scheduled at Galleria Richter in Rome until September 9th, 2024.

Giulio Catelli, Gianluca Di Pasquale, Andrea Grotto, “e se non gridi non ti sento, ridi?”, installation view at Galleria Richter Fine Art, courtesy Richter Fine Art, Roma, ph. Credit Giorgio Benni

The exhibition aims to unite distinctly different painters, whose explorations, imaginatively brushing the auditory nerves, stand out as rare and silent stars in the noisy, hysterical and neutral landscape of today’s pictorial research. Nonetheless, the artists share a tenacity to vividly narrate moments without any exemplarity. Although the exhibition is set up with acute prudence, to frame and not stifle the spaces, this extreme simplicity and strong airy layout confounds many, prompting the viewers to reflect on whether the number of works displayed is adequate to convey the project’s narrative.

Giulio Catelli, “Miki che guarda nel boschetto”, 2023, oil painting on canvas, 40 x 50 cm, courtesy Richter Fine Art, Roma, ph. Credit Giorgio Benni

With the intention of elucidating the reasons that inspire title of the exhibition, Giulio Catelli finds an answer in the relationship between the unique and intimate truth that resides in the outward appearance of the object. According to this vision, each work is the revelation of an absolute eye, an organ through which a series of mental confrontations are activated, conveyed by intuitive reactions. The displayed works are depictions of scenes captured from a high angle, obliquely or drastically frontally, all generating an impact. The fluidity of the color is like a moving liquid that does not stop at the forms but aims to convey a sense of overall evocation. This element finds its heart in the touch: almost liquid material, with suggestive traces of chromatic virulence. Furthermore, the state of the paintings reveals how the artist’s interest is aimed at capturing live moments. Consider Il paesaggio dal boschetto (The Landscape from the grove) or Miki nearby, which allow us to imagine the painter naturally immersed among the shrubs and in a pensive cloud while painting. Thus, in its apparent mobility, Catelli’s eye instantly captures the curious sensation and, covering the canvas less and less, if not with flashes of chromatic fibrils, delivers a concise and concentrated painting in luminous spatiality.

Giulio Catelli, “Due ragazzi e un gattino”, 2022, oil painting on canvas, 30 x 24 cm, courtesy Richter Fine Art, Roma, ph. Credit Giorgio Benni

The crackling blues and greens typical of freshly picked grass clarify the choice to embrace a reality that is never passive but proudly displays its belonging to the real. Yet, today in which especially painting is precluded from all simplicity and honesty, Catelli demonstrates a desire to act with sincerity, aligning with the thought that «in painting, know well what you want to say and say it as clearly and frankly as you can».[1] Thus, it would be absurd to think that the exhibition contains something unrevealed, precisely because all sensitive issues, such as the value of composition, the sense of color, and its spatiality, are frankly addressed. The ability of facing such choices derives from a painting action performed outdoors and from life, face to face with the subject, whether animated or landscape, as a moment of seeking a subjective and intimately convinced descriptive expression.

Gianluca Di Pasquale, “Studio per circo rosso”, oil painting on canvas, 40 x 50 cm, 2019, courtesy Richter Fine Art, Roma, ph. Credit Giorgio Benni

In Gianluca Di Pasquale‘s works, on the other hand, the painting proceeds through purification; in the women seen from behind, there is a voluntary absence of facts, so the figures are what is held suspended in memory of their essence: fixed hieratically, they rest with iconic lightness on the canvas. Yet, the artist approaches the theme of portraiture in reverse, in a condition of hyper-clarity[2], where the characters are a revelation of how they will never be able to see themselves in the mirror. Thus, the women appear to have a cold soul due to a painting executed, only in some areas, with thin glazes that hold their shoulders behind a glassy surface.

Gianluca Di Pasquale, “Gea”, oil painting on canvas, 100 x 70 cm, 2023, courtesy Richter Fine Art, Roma, ph. Credit Giorgio Benni

Therefore, we can imagine the coldness of their gaze and, in the intent to embrace an apparent order, every single hair is gathered to make them splendid, proud and joyful of their attractive beauty. The glassy surface that characterizes them gives seemingly eternal images, whose colors between porcelain pink and flower do not enhance any connection between background and figure, revealing instead a clear visual detachment. Conversely, this is different from what happens in the landscapes, where, far from any directorial contrivance, the figures are composed of fine and impalpable brushstrokes. The brush rests due to the painter’s breath, whose inspirational search is akin to that of a meticulous, sharp, ascetic, and impersonal investigator.

Andrea Grotto, “Un amore cane”, oil and acrylic on canvas, 50 x 40 cm, 2024, courtesy Richter Fine Art, Roma, ph. Credit Giorgio Benni

With Andrea Grotto, the painting is never a faithful replica of what it represents, as what is on display is atypical for its splendidly varied character and stunning inaccuracy. The works convey contemplative silence just barely broken by a human voice, the tones of powdered butterfly wings, dear affections, and the gifts that derive from them. For Grotto, painting is a dynamic, profound and mental practice, a necessity for research that leads him to work simultaneously on different canvases, making it natural for the artist to discover something new with every blink of an eye. Quoting Ettore Sottsass, a writer dear to him, the artist works through a liberated psyche, a permanent perplexity that leads him to discover fragments and sudden flashes of stories[3], also working with the syntax of the titles given to the canvases.

Andrea Grotto, “Sommi capi (Giulia)”, oil and acrylic on canvas, 70 x 50 cm, 2024, courtesy Richter Fine Art, Roma, ph. Credit Giorgio Benni

Thus, in each work, particularly in the notably beautiful Un amore cane (A Dog’s love), the material abandons its elementary nature, dissolving into substantial lamellae now expanded across the entire canvas. In this way, for Grotto, painting encompasses countless situations and what is secondary naturally becomes a unifying motif through the clarity of a savory intelligence that fascinates and seduces with its intent to narrate unexpected stories. Even where the figures seem to be the sole protagonists, the faces, careful not to consider them portraits, are placed within a flow whose gaze captures a sentiment of dubious reality. One could say that Grotto’s research model is of an investigative type: probing the complementarity of the pictorial medium through subtraction and addition of dry and rich layers of color. For this reason, in response to the question prompted by the exhibition’s title, the three painters unequivocally answer with yet another question: if there exists chaos outside of you that doesn’t allow you to be heard unless you shout, how many stories of wandering painters like dancing stars do you think can still be listened to?

 Maria Vittoria Pinotti

[1] Ugo Ojetti, da Raffaello e altre leggi, in Il ritorno all’ordine, a cura di Elena Pontiggia, Abscondita, Milano, 2005, p. 70
[2] Alberto Savino, Ritratto, in Nuova enciclopedia, Adelphi Edizione, Milano, 2017, pp. 322-323
[3] Ettore Sottsass, Di chi sono le case vuote?, Adelphi Edizioni, Milano, 2021, p. 159


Giulio Catelli, Gianluca Di Pasquale, Andrea Grotto. e se non gridi non ti sento, ridi?
Galleria Richter Fine Art
Vicolo del Curato, 3, 00186, Roma
21/05/2024 – 09/09/2024
Hours: Monday to Saturday from 3 pm to 7 pm, or by appointment


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