Francesca Guffanti / Unpainted


Francesca Guffanti

16 April – 22 May 2011

UNPAINTED is the title of the second solo show that Francesca Guffanti (1962) is due to inaugurate on Saturday 16 April in the CACT Contemporary Art Centre in Canton Ticino.

At a time in history when ideological certainties and the avant-gardes have lost much of their impact, giving way to fashions, to television, to technologies, to the latest aesthetic models and to market strategies, the return to iconology achieved by means of the material and corporal achievement of the concept is one of the many aspects of post-contemporary art. While there is no shortage of viable conceptual and installation artists, there are fortunately still very few good painters, despite the fact that the language has made a comeback to the scene – and not so recently, at that. The need for artists and the public to take possession of a medium as ancient as it is universal resides in the requirement perceived by many: a need to go back to measuring time without any of today’s technological and virtual mystification, to work in real time to reappraise the image and its meanings. Such as painting and its history.

Francesca Guffanti is a painter.

UNPAINTED is a body of work that can be classified in three distinct moments, when this Italian artist makes an unabashed declaration of her linguistic affiliation: to painting, naturally. She does so by conceiving colour fields and her art, its history and her study of the medium of painting. Guffanti’s themes are consistently focused on a feminine world, which permeates so much of her recent work. Of late, her study has implied observing history and quotationism as an element used to measure up with it, as well as to revive an established awareness that is balanced on the knife-edge between dynamism and tradition: Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Pontormo and David Hockney.

Seriously questioning the abstract, Futurist and conceptual avant-gardes that permeated and dominated the entire twentieth century, setting the purity of Art for Art’s Sake free from its niche context, is one of the underlying elements of the research conducted by this painter who lives in the north Italian city of Monza.

The Deposition (2010), the Annunciation (2010) and the Visitation (2011), the first oil on canvas and the other two on paper, all three in a large format, immediately conjure up the concept of meeting, which Francesca Guffanti then transfers to a female world, relocating it between the universality and the centrality of art and of the human being in the post-contemporary era in which we now live.
The mise en abîme to which the artist subjects herself as she captures her image for posterity in self-portraits constitutes the development on the theme of the “meeting” as a moment of sharing and defining an identity. Nudity stands for the symbolic sublimating and stripping of the ego in search of the id, to which Guffanti gives body and meaning with her video work, which has the ability to reproduce the ritual of the act of meeting and of sharing.

The third body of this exhibition is another recent production that represents the fairy tale and in particular the characters in Little Red Riding Hood: the grandmother, the wolf and the huntsman. Sensual little icons that alternate in technique between oil on canvas and watercolour on paper, these works represent stages in the famous tale, in which the artist ponders how moral roles are attributed to the various characters. As always in Guffanti, the aspect of analysis – which sometimes verges on the politely obsessive – is a constant in her work and her research, in the specific case of this brand-new piece starting from the writings and the literary and iconological versions of the Grimm Brothers and of Charles Perrault.

As an accompaniment to the exhibition, the lounge in the venue will host a screening of the video interview Il sangue segreto delle cose (The secret blood of things), conducted in 2011 by Mario Casanova, in which Francesca Guffanti casts all restraints aside as she talks about herself and her art (curated and directed by Pier Giorgio De Pinto).

Mario Casanova, 2011 (translation Pete Kercher)

Ph Pier Giorgio De Pinto © ProLitteris Zürich.



Museo e Centro d’Arte Contemporanea Ticino

Via Tamaro 3, Bellinzona.

Opening hours

Friday, Saturday, Sunday

2 p.m. – 6 p.m.

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