Pop-contemporary classicism in Istantanee by Ettor...

Pop-contemporary classicism in Istantanee by Ettore Tripodi

There are those who leave and those who stay. But where is one headed when departing? Where does the mind of those who remain wander when no one else is watching? These and other questions struck me when I first saw Tripodi’s work, so rich in references across the centuries, so layered on the light paper – almost transparent – despite a seemingly simple yet precise and evocative ink line. His drawings open up in the corridors of the mind like small windows into moments of negligible happiness, snapshots, inhabited in turn by infinite worlds. Every single detail, a blanket, a gesture, a tapestry on the wall, an entanglement of legs, becomes a slightly ajar door to a parallel universe, a reference that will be revisited later, in another panel, in another story.

Ettore Tripodi, “Istantanee”, 2024, installation view at OPR Gallery, courtesy OPR Gallery Milano

In the series dedicated to Claire, one gets the feeling of watching an extremely long sequence shot, a slice of life, which returns an intimate, mostly domestic narrative – because it is legitimate and desirable to define one’s own people as “home” – yet each panel harbors endless insights envisioned by the artist that will then be picked up elsewhere and change the endings. There is always an action taking place, even waiting becomes action, even rest is so, and all around there are many other suspended moments: dozens and dozens of frames stolen from “another here and now”. But the narration flows smoothly, with a harmonious and intangible lyricism, as light as a dance. As if Tripodi had done nothing but tell stories all his life, up to now.

Ettore Tripodi, “Danza”, 2023, tempera on wood, 35×30 cm, courtesy OPR Gallery Milano

A disarming peace inhabits each of these precious image narratives, a peace that recalls the elongated figures in Arturo Martini’s minecraft. Even when attempting to represent traffic distractedly, in Tripodi’s hands, it melts into a liquid state and becomes a moat just outside the high city walls, fortified like a modern “Medina”. The reference to the East, then, becomes even more concrete thanks to the transposition of some designs onto jacquard fabric tapestries: the result is a perfect interweaving of colors, which immediately captivate the eye without stealing the scene from the rest. Within them, all the small damask details, once again quietly insert themselves into the folds of the narrative, unequivocally clarifying the artist’s intellectual depth. In the same room, indeed, the small canvases with “earthy” painting claim space whispering, where references to Matisse’s Nudes and Cezanne’s The Large Bathers interact with the “romantic futurism”, as the artist himself has defined his fascination with speed and movement.

Ettore Tripodi, “Istantanee”, 2024, installation view at OPR Gallery, courtesy OPR Gallery Milano

Tripodi also looks to the hieratic suspension of Carrà’s portraits and to the complacent glances in Donghi’s paintings. A nap on the beach, populated by lazy and immobile figures who turn their “gaze to the camera” on some sunny afternoon in an isolated August, even recalls Manet’s Le déjeuner sur l’herbe. Tripodi is the harbinger of the burning flame of classicism, his is not an undue appropriation, it is rather a precise intention to delicately lead, through the ages, this millennial tradition, reactualizing it on Japanese paper with the light ink line; a line never uncertain but always extremely precise in intent, even «to give back the image of the great neon signs in the fog», as Ettore Tripodi stated. The exhibition closes in grand style with the finissage at OPR Gallery on Friday evening, May 3. Just a few more moments, then, to tiptoe the red carpet on this small chamber of wonders.

Giulia Russo


ISTANTANEE. Ettore Tripodi
29/02 – 03/05/2024
OPR Gallery
Viale Corsica 99, 20133 Milano


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.