It seems to me that at the basis of Alberto Cavalieri's work there is the peremptory and prevalent affirmation of a principle of "harmony" which at one and the same time belongs to the world of philosophical reflection while disciplining the agreements between the parts that make up the work: this is a measure which, in our case, organizes the background and the figures within a register that does not experience traumatic infringements/lacerations or strong dissonances. This is the immediate, reactive impression not filtered by cultural and specialistic schemes or screens that are capable of having a critical role and place but which are subordinated as soon as the relationship - with the work although also with the author - plays on a register of spontaneous "empathy".

We can therefore talk about "good manners" in conducting the image in painting, about 'well-bred' discretion, also sustained by an adequate dose of irony in the artist's behaviour and, if we wish, also by "syntony". However, the objective is that of an honest and urbane "talking", and the effect - at least in painting - can be obtained by forcing figures and colours within a fan of solutions having a limited breadth and with a differential term between them which is equally reduced. One could talk of bichromatism, from white to black, as the scale used for the work procedure. In reality, the modulations discovered and investigated propose an inexhaustible sampling range. It is in this wealth of solutions in the reduced chosen store that one has the play of a large part of the attraction which the work acquires.

We are in the world of the minimum difference, with the effect of managing to express the totality of sentiments within a reduced range of oscillation. Certainly, it is necessary to pay attention, also to exercise the eye, accustomed as it is to the appearances of the blare or the shout, to grasp a dialoguing between the parts which is more subdued and courteous.

I believe this attitude/approach is the fruit of an aptitude on the part of the artist vis-à-vis common daily perception which gives meaning to the operation and to its particular physiognomy. In a utopian age, sustained by "good manners", expressiveness would have coherently chosen "rudeness".

We have an interwoven polarity between idea and matter within a dialectical sphere which belongs to the imagined world of artistic acting in so far as it comes to compose an otherwise irremediable contrast in the work.

Cavalieri's work above all proposes itself as being profoundly played on a paradox: that of the illustration and proposal of a mental space and that of a practical realization which on a virtuosic ability and mastership of the techniques finds its essential justifications.

It is evidently a mental space as analysis of the surface and of the instruments of drawing and painting, and not of the three-dimensional illusion of the representation that the world of painting can alternatively propose: it is true that it exists before and after, near and far, although this belongs to the physical results which the pigments dealt with actually determine. Not perceptive deception, consequently, but the effect of a series of diversified activities which constitute the complex stock of the operations that are the concrete premises of the work.

It is particularly about this that we wish to discuss as soon as we can have the result of this procedure before our eyes, whereas the ways and means with which one has arrived at this result are not immediately explicit, at least for a superficial reading to which we are accustomed by the speed of production and reaction enjoyed by our means.

Cavalieri's painting is based on the opposition between affirming and veiling, a subtle exercise of adding by hiding given that it is a question of white: an imperious 'writing', a figure which if not unique is, however, central within the painting, diversified due to the choice of the writing instrument, also sensitive to the pressure of the hand, or else reduced to the threshold of legibility.

In previous works the analysis of the writing sign had quite correctly taken on the unfolding (or development) of the list, of the sampling, of repetition capable of 'challenging' or 'testing' the expressive quality of the individual sign in the ascertainable belonging to a voluntarily limited store.

In these recent works the experience of the systematic investigation regarding the physiognomy of the writing sign and its combinatory potentialities previously carried out is now superseded and Cavalieri is now able to work with certainty, the memory of his former research works being his stock and store (which as we said at the beginning is the experience of an image and the experience of the ways with which he arrived at this same image).

This certainty permits a total investigation: that is, where the originating element of the painting, the straight segment, is able to orderly place itself along parallel lines whereby invading almost all of the field; where diversely it can concentrate itself in one or more zones of the surface, determining the evidence of partitions, of sections in which the 'starting area' proves to be subdivided; and where it is able, lastly, to arrange itself with a variable size as the element of a trajectory that determines a new, supplementary figure capable of giving the painting a specific physiognomy of its own.

And also a chromatic field which diversely cuts and segments the surface of the otherwise uniform plane which Cavalieri progressively veils until achieving "perfection": that is, when a centre does not exist, an ordering weight of the whole, but when the individual parts of the painting correspond (albeit in their heterogeneity).

The work times are long, the operation modalities complex and diversified, they foresee different forms of attention: in his mind's eye Cavalieri has a definitive project which it is necessary to accomplish for successive adjustments. Between the first making and the word "end" one can have the passing of an interval of varying length - bound to the observation and to the correction.


Alberto Veca

Milan, June 1996


  Alberto Cavalieri
Copyright © 2001 - All Rights Reserved