DUCA Catalog 2015

Analysis And Commentary by professor Vittorio Sgarbi

Duca, or the necessary Reality

The painting of the Umbrian Alvaro Breccolotti, known in Art as Duca, does not invent anything that hasn't already been there. It is a quality, of course, that Duca is perfectly aware of. Anyway, why should we ever invent? It is a myth of the artistic contemporary-ism, vital lymph first of the Avant-garde and then  of the market that commodified them, always in search of novelties to justify new purchases, new economic values to refer to.
In this way, the new, positive in its initial motivation, has become  the new for new's sake, just like in the fashion industry, not by chance today so near to the contemporary art world. And when the new does not emerge, because the heads and the expressive talents are what the are, one takes out the revamped, the vintage, passed off as the latest fashion. 
The result is before everybody's eyes: the art system reduced to an absurd party game for the wealthy hired, social climbers and “luminous fools”, as D'Annunzio would say, in which the intellectual matter lacks miserably. Therefore, while until yesterday nobody could have called him or herself an evolved intellectual without knowing Pollock, Burri or Van Der Rohe, nowadays one feels, of course, less stupid to take Hirst, Koons or Hadid little seriously. Why fall so low Duca says to himself and to us. Let us start our speech from where it had begun forgetting the contemporary frenzy at any cost.
We have a history at our back, more than millenary, which has not expired; it lives together with us, with our customs, our environments, our ways of thinking. There is a language, figurative, still the most comprehensible today, even thanks to the hypertrophic revival of visual communication, a language able to tell all that is important to express, based on a grammar  that has been originated in the Italian tradition, assuming the necessity of a mature, highly evolved skill. There is nature above all, even though threatened by modernity speculative wickedness, it still remains the aesthetic, favorite sentimental and philosophical  reference of art. It is the forced subject of its reflection, today like yesterday, yesterday like today. So why not continue that talk? Why not persist in the use of that language that let us  talk both  with the present and the past, the old and the new, at last in the sign of continuity and not of a dramatic desperate rift? This is the conceptual assumption we should be duly aware of every time we face one of Duca's works. Be it one of his impeccable still lives, where the realism, triumphant, comes to fulfill a world regulating  task, hinged on the haughtiness of the reproduced matter, clear, ripe, incontrovertible, to struggle against the tendency towards relativity of our time, setting itself through an expressive route  that from an initial "caravaggiesque" impulse leads to twentieth-century modernity blending the decisive relationship between light, form and color, a key I should define as Latin (the artist personally indicates to me the name of Claudio Bravo, that he prefers to the other Spanish painters) as well as remembering the metaphysical lesson that in the excess of reality is in search of its secret beyond this world. He has a vocation for the absolute, without abdicating to pour into such stream his very self, his own way, like a supreme creator, through other beings, in respect of the immanent principle of  "Deus sive natura", he therefore claims his right to offer again a typically pictorial subject which is today monopolized by photography, that is certainly not the corresponding truth, conversely the most subtle of all deceptions. In his en-plein-air, with their infinite seasonal versions, I would spot Duca's more moral than aesthetic debt to the Romanticism landscape that anticipated Impressionism, where that tyranny of perception, ruled by Monet and company, includes a capital sin, the renunciation for the artist of the mental tool par excellence: drawing.
Objections that Duca's paintings may seem like a déjà-vu do not count. Even the Bible repeats the same things but it should be daring to say they are old and non actual. Most important is the validity they affirm, or reaffirm. Even under the beautiful cover of art there must always be a substance. It is on that substance we must linger, always.