Luce ritrovata english version


Rediscovered light

by Gianluca Marziani

 The methodical exercise of painting cuts time like a continuous horizon, a scarlet fil rouge that unites eras and places through observation of the figure, objects, landscape, events, life in general. Over the centuries, cities have been transformed, faces and clothing have changed, objects in constant evolution have been born: factors that define the epoch-making moments, but which maintain the general characteristics of the discourse unaltered. Because a naked body remains such, regardless of the time and place, just as a basket of fresh fruit or a landscape from the window substantially does not change. The question of a present time exists always and only in the eye of the observer. The adherence of a painting to its zeitgeist depends on the way of looking at it, on the information that the artist metabolises, on the management of the iconographic installation. If then we speak aboutpainting, a language that has never lost its archetypal aura, we understand that there is no pause between the fourteenth century and today but everything falls into the natural order of processes, along that continuous horizon in which the visions criss cross and mix, in which Beauty pursues a last Eden, in which humanity pursues the same sentimental frequency.

DUCA is part of the dialectic cycle of methodical painting, the fruit of thought and iron discipline. Its is a vision that focusses on thehorizontal plane. The eye isolates itself from the blinding colours of the day, opening a dialogue with the protagonists - the items of fruit  – that are arranged on the stage of the table. Recomposed plants look like aristocrats in pose, not by chance Arcimboldo translated them into an anthropomorphic collaging, revealing their biological and narrative nature. On the picture we see silent actors with the hieratic patience that in nature only plants have, with that dignified arrangement that defines one of the favourite themes in art: so-called still life.

In reality we should reflect on a definition - still life - that does not adhere to a technological world like ours. Perhaps it would be useful to review it to understand the new boundaries that science imposes. Just think of GMOs, new hybrids, natural artifices, discoveries of exotic genres and classes that were unknown to us centuries ago. Changes certainly require us to reason within the continuous horizon but with an adaptation to the spirit of the time, exonerating History to enable a more adherent definition. Plantisms works better, bringing the language out of the theme of death, instead re-entering on the side of Science, through a door of progress that transforms the old limits (the sciences reason to manage death) in a renewed opening of meaning. 

DUCA elaborates his works with surgical attention to detail. The same place where he paints, a magnificent studio in the centre of Perugia, an oasis for the sensitive gaze, shows the importance of the context for a painting that establishes privileged relationships with sunlight. In his workshop you can feel a harmony with the panoramas beyond the window, you understand the frequencies that regulate the colours, you understand the equilibrium of penumbra and direct light, you feel that the vibration of the oil has empathy with the outside. Because one thing should not be forgotten: still lifes are, first of all, landscapes on a plane, artifice constructions that contain the outside and calibrate it on their skins, modulating the light with respect to the focal points, expressing solar energy through colours, transparencies, reflections, shadows and veins.

Plants that are lacking only speech, some would say. Those of DUCA are calm subjects, hieratic as philosophical trees, the umpteenth challenge of art to the consumption of things. Still lifes, if you think about it, have always been the opposite of death in nature. The painter hypnotizes them in a precise moment, blocking the organic process through painting, isolating the ideal moment, the ever elusive moment, beauty without ageing. Fruit cannot speak, it is true, but its firmness is a battle won against the symbolism of death. Solid yet mobile within them, the plant visions of DUCA rediscover Light and they release it in silence, wrapping themselves in the fil rouge of continuous horizons. 

DUCA's works do not need large formats to express themselves. The eye focusses better when the composition is compact, and on this we find the Umbrian lesson of Giotto and Cimabue, of those visionary painters who compressed light within a few centimetres. The focus thus shifts to the vertigo of the forms, to their subtle anthropomorphism, onto the way of incorporating the sun's rays. And here we see the perfect direction of the method, the daily discipline of the artist, the value of the physical act as a stable equation of power and control. DUCA manages the processing system with an almost musical harmony, resembling the conductor who has merged the instruments in a single gesture of the baton (in his case the brush). The manual wave modulates the coordinates of the ancient masters in a dimension that time seems to slow it down to its liking, giving us a wonderful lesson, i.e. only painting can counteract the crazy flow of digital images, the ritual of rapid consumption that invades technological habitats. DUCA's paintings embody the consciousness of a Zen time that challenges the speed of digital time. Probably technology will win but here we are speaking of magnificent resistance and exclusive spaces, Pindaric reasoning and territories of privilege, always beyond relativism and worldly blunders.

The titles themselves help us understand DUCA's approach to the world. Metaphorical or allegorical titles, motivated inspirations, references to the beautiful or dramatic events of his private life. Words or phrases that fly beyond the window, lighting the mobile energy of the painting, offering a poetic context to its plant actors.   

Paintings of maniacal perfection, geographies of the method that pursue, as a philosophical ideal, the divine circularity of Piero's egg. DUCA's works appear but do not disappear: first they capture you with that photographic smell that remains only a scent, an appearance denied by the brush itself; then, when you approach, not hiding the signs of legitimate imperfection, they envelop you in the pulsation of the dense oil, in the utopian tenacity of compressing Nature in a few centimetres. You immediately see that it is not about photorealistic painting (here there is not use of the airbrush) but about an indefatigable struggle between Man and Nature, an open challenge with a winner – Nature – and one with a desire to win - the pictor optimus who never gives up.