The light in people and things


‘The gesture whereby Erminio Poretti allows us to take part in his outlook on the world is only apparently discreet. It is true to say that ‘his’ light, ‘his’ figures and landscapes are never forced on us; and it is also true that his attachment to the everyday aspect of figurative art is not the result of the suffered and almost resentful return of so much icily abstract contemporary painting towards irrepressible reality. In other words, it is true to say that Erminio’s gesture appears to stem from the same discretion with which the world presents itself on certain foggy dawns in his native region of Lombardy, and yet, upon taking a closer look, something vortical animates deep down this fortunate and charming re-composition of lights over Venice and on his many landscapes and faces. Something vortical like anxiety, except that it is not anxiety, a fever that has the pretension of recalling and restoring the world through art. Rather, it is a liveliness something like that which affects children about to start playing when they find themselves in the presence of adults observing them. In other words, if the semblance is discretion, at the bottom of Erminio’s gesture lies a terrifying energy, the same possessed by children and which cannot be replicated. His light is not just another elegy that extends over and veils and unveils Venice or the face of Grazia: it is a light which, though having nothing of the miraculous inasmuch as it defeats all easy imagination enables us to recognise the cities, the fields, the woman. It is rather the glow that remains after a fire, and the fire is his very gaze. The spectators, or better, the actors in his paintings fortunately arrive after, when he, the legend Erminio, has already devastated with the highly violent clear fire of his gaze meaning his charity the wood of brambles and thorns occupying his entire field of vision, the wall of scrub and underbrush heaped in front of eyes unused to the event of the world. The spectator reaches his paintings when the massacre has already ended and just a few unmistakable traces of this extremely strong light remain in the waters, on the walls and in the sky. Erminio’s gesture is therefore discreet. But anyone who did not see in it, besides the reconciled offer of the world in these paintings, also the tragedy that has taken place, would be far from the truth. Or the asceticism, meaning by this word, that single fury to which man can consign himself to obtain happiness, instead of just more fury and loneliness.’


22 Agosto 1999 - 28 Agosto 1999


Exhibitions Meeting Exhibitions