Intimacy and playfulness decree eternal youth in a fast and overwhelming world. Remembering as a matrix of contemporary and cultural expression. Memory is inextricably linked to gesture and every mark it leaves is nothing but a fragment of those experiences floating in the mind. They take colour, they take shape, they become domesticated to make things, pictorial things that for the artist – maybe – are not only things.
Leonardo Devito – a young Florentine painter born in 1997 – has the stubbornness to translate something intelligible into matter. There is no concept in his works, they are simple memories to recount, Freudian moments of an acerbic life marked by that playful passage between childhood and adolescence, between adolescence and maturity. It is for this reason that the artist has chosen My Favourite Things as the title of this exhibition, that is, what he prefers to remember and transmit according to his vision and stylistic filter. In the Italian translation of the title and the exhibition overview, however, there is a subtlety that emerges: the ‘favourite’ things do belong to that intimate and carefree representational sphere, but also to their dichotomy from contemporaneity.
Devito’s works are ‘pre-wounded’ – which literally means ‘before the wounds’ – as something to be preserved, thoughts and manifestations to be protected, which is why there is a kind of detachment from the pictorial to the emotional phase. The spontaneity of the painter has nothing to do with the tortuous, academic reality. In this sense, Leonardo Devito mixes techniques and colours heedless of their transposition into the realistic and generalist vision. Oil is mixed with acrylic, the material is formed in agglomerates of pigments rather than in chromatic layers. Stylistically, the figures resemble a crossroads between Morandi and Masaccian deeds, between metaphysical and renaissance architectures.
It is from this jovial and light-hearted compendium that the exhibition at Galleria Acappella in Naples was born. Nine works are exhibited, five paintings and four bas-reliefs to be precise, and the latter are positively surprising for their obsolescent matrix rarely seen in this historical period. Works such as Mamma sgrida figlio che guarda troppa tv and Gormiti – respectively a terracotta bas-relief and an oil and acrylic on canvas – show in their manufacture the family intimacy, the imaginative playfulness of childhood, and above all that passage from one stage of growth to another that conveys at times pain, at times indifference and at times need. The painting entitled Spaghetti a Porta Palazzo symbolises those memories to persevere, a place emotionally bound to the artist that leaves room for the spontaneity of the moment and the affection that comes with it.
Leonardo Devito simply chooses to experience contemporary art with a playful, benevolently childlike disinterest, looking to his culture and memory to draw on his own “favourite” semantics.
Leonardo Devito. My Favourite Things
28/04 – 5/06 2023
Vico S. M. A Cappella Vecchia 8/A, Napoli
Art Curator and Art Advisor, graduated in Visual Arts and Cultural Mediation, with Master in Curatorial Practices, born in 1995, lives in Naples. He collaborates with Galleries and Independent Spaces, his research is mainly focused on Emerging Painting, with a careful and inclined gaze also on other forms of aesthetic language.