Luca Grechi: what we entrust to light

Where the sunrise comes to light, Luca Grechi’s painting origins: they are places of inviting greenery, in which there is a joyous reunion of nature, generating crowns of starry petals, just as earth exhales its tumid vapors. Although in every artist’s research there is always something that remains obscure, with Grechi everything seems to be terse, finding its origin in natural causes: his painting is an action of expression with a specific intimacy in which the wind of the initial creation joins the landscape, sprinkled in leaves. Knowing how to catch such territories, where movements of evaporation spills are fixed, gliding down slowly until they dig luminous furrows – which sometimes flow by dropping dewdrops – is the equivalent to conceiving by apperception, that is, standing on a fresh awareness of one’s own perception, according to which the consciousness initially tries to understand what it sees, on the sidelines, each datum is rearranged according to a will of representation, like a load-bearing trellis of a tonal system modeled by light. Thus, what seemed momentarily lost, what escaped Grechi’s search, he thrusts forward, causing it to regain, with difficulty and after various levels of pictorial exercises, an intrinsic luminosity.

Luca Grechi, Il nervo, installation view, Galleria Richter Fine Art, Rome, 2023. Ph. Giorgio Benni, courtesy the artist and Galleria Richter Fine Art

This new approach, as a tenacious revisitation of a past atmosphere, is developed without wanting to dispose of recurring motifs, as Grechi focuses on his themes, and in particular delves into one, which would probably be intimidating or at most would seem secondary to another painter. The artist concentrates on the foliage, on the blades of grass, on the fresh flowers with their large, massive corollas, clasped within tightly stretched calyxes that glisten and can barely be glimpsed as burning elements. He deals with an idea of nature that, according to art historian Bernard Berenson, was the cardinal element of landscape painting, since, apart from the view, this subject had to be necessarily rendered in its infinite detail. This way with Grechi the landscape seems to mock us, giving us a special delight, an unexpected focus on the bristling amber and crimson contours of the foliage. Knowing how to grasp such a rendering, again according to Berenson, is possible only by following the procedure of one’s own reason, that embraces a pictorial compromise between what we see and what we know, between sensation and idea.

Luca Grechi, Fiorisce lo spazio, 2022. Mixed media on canvas, 24 x 18 cm. Ph. Giorgio Benni, courtesy the artist and Galleria Richter Fine Art

Now, let us ask ourselves what does this mean for Grechi in terms of image. Nothing other than a set of tonal recoils, manifested by elective affinities: thus, to depict a landscape, an extract of nature, Grechi seeks to fix an atmosphere a priori, always defined by an air distilled into a light mist or evaporated rarefaction. Therefore, what one appreciates in these works on display is a sought awakening and now conquered, with a certain tepid sparkle coming from the dull interior, produced by the whiteness of the canvas, in which the veils that have just opened up to our eyes unexpectedly stir and are lifted only to then fall back again and again. All of this happens because he knows how to fall into reflection, just as if conceiving, drawing and painting were specific (and intimate) moments for the self. Moments of introspective knowledge in which he acquires the real data, patiently waits for the circuit of real vision to be activated and, in the end, even though he touches all the instruments of representation, as a painter, he takes leave of figuration as he carefully focuses on the landscape and on everything that opens up behind it, not stopping at the real superficiality. In other words, his hands offer the observer a piece of nature. In the drawings, in particular, Grechi defines an identity by recalling tactile sensations that sketch a depth, like the softness, the velvet of the corollas and their gestating warmth, while also suggesting the smells, such as the burning, pungent sharpness of the blades of grass. Without declaring it, but only whispering it, Grechi’s procedure is theurgical, a painting focused on doing. Whatever the purpose of this attitude, it is probably rather an attempt to immerse the natural world in a diffuse, never dull, clarity, where earth remains earth and nature stays nature, but whose tonal reflections reveal the more of the things themselves.

Luca Grechi, Lettera di un romantico, 2022. Mixed media on canvas, 70 x 100 cm. Ph. Giorgio Benni, courtesy the artist and Galleria Richter Fine Art

Regarding the peculiar title chosen for the exhibition, it seems to be emblematic of how Grechi conceives painting, which belongs to him as a natural and therefore bodily, or rather visceral, act. So much so that originating from that place, one is aware that his works may contain intimate moods: such as care, enchantment, interest, fear and doubt, and yet, his pictorial nerve, when materialized on canvas, always remains harmonious. Thus, the artist’s conscience is combined with a skill he deserves: seeing things behind a veil so full of discrepancies, that all resemblance to reality is nullified. In this sense, his works reveal nervous stimuli which are susceptible to a kind of slow and longed-for catharsis, generated by a sudden detachment from the moment. And here then falls another observation: it is only possible to imagine what Grechi keeps under those veils, like a hidden treasure, with only one clear and unshakable certainty; his body, thought and vision are entrusted to light – perhaps the achievement of a new beginning? This is a doubt that remains as palpitating as it is true.

Maria Vittoria Pinotti


Luca Grechi, Il nervo
24/01/2023 – 10/03/2023
Galleria Richter Fine Art
Vicolo del Curato 3, 00186 Rome


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