Essays and articles
Artist's writings

Pauletto, 1996

Vendoglio, Treppo, Tarcento, the Tagliamento, the Musi; in what way do these places explain Albino Lucatello’s painting?
Places provoke us and provide us with something to relate to: they give reason and proportion to images and states of consciousness. Places reveal us to ourselves, and just as we measure them, in turn they measure us.
Places are not at all indifferent, they have a thousand ways of filtering through the works of painters, writers and poets: sometimes they are precisely recognisable, sometimes in their essence, when this essence meets with a tension which re–engages culture and instinctually, that which we are deep down, and that which we have become through experience.
Forgive me, but I must be more personal, as this is the only way that I can explain the key to understanding the works of Lucatello, that I ‘hold’ since 1986 when I saw his retrospective exhibition organised by Venice municipality, at the ‘Bevilacqua La Masa’ Gallery. I believe – and it will be an arbitrary affirmation, or maybe inevitable – that the artist had found (precisely in that very same Friuli) what I myself find there, and continue to find there: a relationship with nature more direct and more ardent, more original, where the intoxicating perfume of a maternal sweetness rarely separates from a feeling of obscurity, panic mystery: even, and not infrequently, from a feeling of underground fear. In short, a perfect metaphor of life, that enchants, fascinates, charms: and frightens.
I believe that this is what Lucatello profoundly, physically felt in the nature of Friuli. This he said and testified, not only when he moved to Friuli, but right from the beginning. Gradually, with improved awareness, he used an instrument which at the same time was both theoretical and stylistic, an instrument which allowed him to obtain the greatest of results: this instrument was immersion. In fact, right from the start he eliminated all elements which were solely narrative.
At the beginning of the 1950s however, there are some figures and landscapes which seem to contradict this idea of immersion, some of which are even present at this exhibition in Pordenone. Particularly the series of coalmen and rice–weeders where the image encamps in the foreground, without any other background other than itself or, at the most, a minimal element of surroundings: a table or a glass.
But it is clear to see, even here, that it is not narration, rather an attempt to immerse oneself in a human condition beyond all immediate specifications.
Of course, there is a political intention behind these figures, but this does not surpass their weight of reality, the same painful dignity that they are part of, makes them emblems and icons, not accounts and less than ever didactic accounts.
If we then consider carefully the drawing representing a group of rice–weeders hard at work, we see that Lucatello arranges the figures here in an amplitude of landscape which welcomes them into a kind of natural ‘everything’. Furthermore, if we consider the drawing of the wood, we see once again that he clearly does not want the observer to see a vision, but rather to stay inside it, not perceive an image of, but an immersion in and amongst the trees in the wood.
Therefore it will not surprise us at all, that in the series of the Venetian rooftops and the Vegetable gardens at Portosecco, Lucatello brings the images of those rooftops and vegetable gardens closer in a wide–angled manner: materialising the light in articulate, intricate backgrounds of reds, blues, greys, blacks, or yellows ochre and earths, not worrying at all if they are recognisable, just careful however that his work expresses a feeling of both belonging and possession, that is to say, exactly a metaphorical will of immersion.
Consider that it is not contemplation, it is not ecstasy towards the world, but action, involvement, the will to become at the same time as becoming. Moreover this was emphasised by Berto Morucchio in the catalogue preface for an exhibition in Venice in 1969, when he cited Rimbaud when referring to the artist’s attitude towards reality: “We eat air, rock, coal, iron…stones that some poor man breaks, old stones of churches…”. To eat, to take possession, to immerge oneself: Lucatello knows and feels part of nature. He does not believe that this being nature can be expressed in other ways, if not through the identification, obtained by the painter, through the chromatic material used like a builder uses stone: not to represent, but to create, not to see, but to live.
We can also understand why Lucatello – so obviously touched by the proposals of informal art, so clearly aware of the art of the masters of the century – insisted in defining himself as a realist artist; because inside his vision is precisely realism and nothing else. Realism that he continuously searches – even at times despairing – to make infinite, organic importance of nature, which incorporates everything, sky and earth, rivers and mountains, man’s work and man himself.
One of the artists’ first idola in Friuli was the Tagliamento, just as the Po delta had been previously. If what we have written up to this point has any sense, it does not seem difficult to understand why. The Tagliamento is inextricably life and death, water and plants, green and grey, white and red of sunsets. The Tagliamento is also a great original, geological space, the gigantic footprint of an omnipotent naturalness, always different and always the same as itself.
To try to represent all of this in perspective terms however vague they are, would mean that it would all immediately loose its’ metaphoric complexity; to make images of what is, instead, by essence, pure natural dimension.
Therefore the only possible means appears to be–just as it was for the delta – to intersect high dense paints, which get darker into black backgrounds, or which get whiter in fresco–like whiteness, to create a highly original, robust, earthy elegance.
On the other hand, all of Lucatello’s Friulan pieces of art live as a matter of fact between two poles: one of a potent sensuality pertaining of matter and the other of a sublimated lyric lightness.
The latter sees in the Musi series its most involving achievements, but does not fail to express itself also in many other works on canvas, and even in certain splendid "papers" that I have had the opportunity to see and that, in my opinion, need to be brought together once in a definitive occasion.
The Tagliamenti belong to the first pole together with other visions of earth and nature where the panic intention of the author is so visible that sometimes it exceeds – according to my sensibility – the limit that distinguishes the visual fact from the mental fact, the pictorial fact from the – theoretical – certain idea of the painting: like when the linguistic elements of a work are so reduced that they touch aphasia.
It was the risk of who directed all of his efforts to make the indissoluble interlacement felt through painting: an interlacement which ties each appearance to all others, each life to all others, each essence to all others.
And to obtain, on the other hand, unforgettable results: for example, certain Moments of nature, of such a joyous truth and lightness that their vegetation is no longer matter, but dreams and sparkling life; for instance a number of Solar moments of sensational fine painting, sons of a concentration that is hard to imagine. Likewise, the canvases as well as the mountains, of certain Musi, upheld in their lyric happiness by unalterable creative energy, seem to be daughters of nature, of the limpid, indelible dance of necessity.
Because this was, deep down, the intention of Lucatello: to paint something that was itself nature, which supported the illusion of being able to remove, for art, the diaphragm – desperate and necessary – that consciousness interposes between our life and the life of everything.


translated by Rebecca N. Kay


Lucatello “Between the Tagliamento and the Musi”
Personal anthological exhibition, Pordenone , Palazzo Gregoris, 18th October – 3rd November 1996

Giancarlo Pauletto




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