He left on July 25th in the afternoon, while the sun began to fall on the waters of his lake. Giancarlo Vitali died in his sleep at the age of 88 in his home in Bellano, right under his study full of paintings and from which he has not moved for life: always been anchored to his shy and somehow lonely nature and also for this he spent his life as a painter in the narration of his microcosm that became thanks to his painting an open universe, full of a universal message, that of authentic life, simple and that he could tell with extraordinary, rapid and fluid pictorial power, sometimes dense with a melancholy irony, but always compelling, unexpected, surprising.
Giancarlo Vitali in his studio in Bellano (photo by Gianluigi Colin)
Not surprisingly, his subjects have always been the men and women of his village : f the priest, the woman, intent on plucking a chicken, the band of the village. Powerful portraits of humble, silent humanity, often forgotten, but extraordinarily alive and handed over to a time suspended thanks to such a noble painting, which Giovanni Testori defines as a material splendor.
And the painting of Giancarlo Vitali really tells the glories of a sumptuous painting a painting born apparently out of nothing if not for the gift of talent dropped from the sky: son of a family of fishermen, Giancarlo Vitali, he discovered himself painter in spite of himself, animated by the necessity of painting as a form of life, as a primary urgency, as an interior need. Vitali, has always painted for himself, supporting only his shy nature, not unlike those who live in those parts and knows he is in a marginal place and far from the power of big cities, but above all has the privilege of private contact with Nature, with the silent power of the lake and its storms, with the meditation of the look of the mountains that give a sense of stability, but also mushrooms and chestnuts.
His world was made of simple things: a sunflower, a cat a plate full of fish, a skinned rabbit, the table at the end of a banquet. In a distant text Antonio Tabucchi traces a poetic portrait of his work: Characters and situations of the soul, in transit to unknown places, surprised by the dazzling light of art. Not the fluorescent light of the neon tubes of video games, but the one that, as a verse from Montale says, lights up men and things in an eternity of eternity.
Until the last, Giancarlo Vitali defended the duty of solitude, of distance from clamor. Of art and everything else. All of this has made it unique in its own way. Also unique for its ability to live a single multitude: to maintain itself has abdicated its identity by creating thousands of paintings interpreting different authors. A challenge with himself and the world. A story from a novel. The few who knew him loved him. But he was certainly ignored by the snooty contemporary art world that considered him an artist of the past.
Something changed exactly one year ago when, in July of last year, Velasco, Giancarlo's son, also painter and sculptor, he decided to deal with his personal history (and the value of painting in a time when the painting seems disowned) by organizing an impressive exhibition dedicated to his father and which reported the title Time Out as if to underline a time suspended on the meaning of painting and also on the dialogue between a painter, father and a child painter.
Thus four important Milan exhibition venues such as Palazzo Reale, the Sforzesco Castle, the Civic Museum of Natural History and Casa Manzoni, hosted a first major retrospective dedicated to the pictorial and graphic work of Giancarlo Vitali. [19659008Herethepowerandthevastness of his entire production have finally been made public: a painting that seems to have Goya, Rembrandt, Soutine, as far as Lucian Freud as companions, in a body to body with painting and where captures a whole life wrapped in suffering, irony, pleasure, disturbance, even by an irrepressible euphoria.
For the occasion also an exceptional co-author . Peter Greenaway, wanted to stage an unexpected and intimate dialogue between the memory of the place where he lived Alessandro Manzoni and the visions of Giancarlo Vitali. To rethink that powerful installation that involved all the spaces of Casa Manzoni and that, among the paintings made during a distant hospital, reproduced a hospital ward, everything today appears as a dramatic prophecy, or perhaps, an unconscious will to exorcise an end that we knew would inevitably have to happen.
Perhaps, for this reason too, Giancarlo's rebellious spirit refused to the end to come and see the four exhibitions that enclosed his entire existence. And perhaps he had to deal with the fragility of his emotions, under the hard shell of the man in one piece. Only a few days before the closing, he succumbed to the pressure of the whole family and finally went to the Royal Palace. In reviewing his entire existence installed in a monumental exhibition Giancarlo Vitali appeared as overwhelmed but to his son, who had worked for years on the exhibition, l did not say anything. Only in the night, in the solitude and the silence of his house, he wanted to write the first email of his life, as if to entrust a sacrality of technology to a technology that said: Thanks Velasco, you have also pleased my paintings.
25 July 2018 (change 25 July 2018 | 22:56)
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