Ultrareale

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Five artists for an investigation into reality and its hidden layers and meanings. This is the sense of the next exhibition scheduled at Punto sull’arte from May 7th.

“Ultrareale” lays out five different ways of returning the visible through painting, showing that in general when we speak of hyperrealism, very often we go no further than the surface, forgetting that when true painting enters a contest with photography, the result is the possibility of tapping into a beyond, which the eye – even that of a camera – could never see.

Roberto Bernardi’s lollies and sweets show it, toned in a palette of bright and captivating colours, wrapped in layers of dazzling, gleaming cellophane, that attract us like magnets to then throw us into an impossible world, a land of extraordinarily seductive toys that in its splendid frivolity lays bare the superficiality of today.

Ottorino De Lucchi’s fruits illustrate it, caught with an intriguing technique – that of watercolour drybrush – which makes the surfaces velvety, realistic down to the tiny pit left by an insect on the apple peel, yet impossible, lost in those boundless backgrounds, poised in a metaphysical universe which also makes it credible that a bowl can hover over what appears to be the horizon of the world.

And then Valentina Ceci says it with her compulsive mapping of refineries and industrial plants, rendered in ballpoint pen, tube after tube, container after container, and then, however, thrown into a soft Tiepolo sky, that seems able to swallow them, cancelling and denying all of man’s ingenuity.

And then Casagrande & Recalcati with their sensual flowers gaping, resplendent, the scent of which can seemingly be perceived, flowers which then at a second glance reveal crumbled petals, about to wilt; and then the meadows scattered with extraneous objects, treacherous animals and disturbing presences which turn our reading of reality upside down.

And finally Nicola Nannini evokes it, for once throwing open the doors of the houses with which he has enchanted us and revealing their most secret rooms. His rooms with their unmade beds – an exquisite play of drapery on the snow white sheets – silently tell of love and farewells, habits and certainties, boredom and passion, in brush tip, so true, here and now, yet steeped in memories and nostalgia.

Roberto Bernardi was born in Todi (Perugia) in 1974. After finishing high school, he moved to Rome where he began working as a restorer at the church of San Francesco in Ripa, but he soon moved on from painting restoration to devote himself entirely to the creation of his paintings and moved towards a new form of realism closely related to hyperrealism. In 2004 he moved to Manhattan, his works were strongly influenced by the American culture and he began to have relations with the prestigious art world of the Big Apple. From 2004 to 2010 he took part in many artistic projects sponsored by American and European collectors along with other artists of the hyperrealist movement. In 2010 the Italian multinational oil and gas company, ENI, added Bernardi to the group of young talents from all over the world to uniquely interpret every moment of Eni’s communication and commissioned Bernardi a work that they added to their prestigious art collection.

Since 2012 Bernardi took part in an international museum tour that began at the Tübingen Museum in Germany and then continued in 13 other museums around the world. This exhibition tour included the prestigious Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Museum of Bellas Artes in Bilbao (Spain), the Kunsthal Museum in Rotterdam (Holland), the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Oklahoma City Museum of Art (U.S.A.). In 2014 he was invited to the “Contemporary Realism Biennal” at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art (U.S.A.). He took part in solo and group exhibitions all over the world. He lives and works in Todi.

Sandra Casagrande (1968) and Roberto Recalcati (1969) graduated in Architecture in Milan. Their artistic partnership sees them engaged in the debate on the conservation of cultural heritage through teaching and the publication of articles and essays. A characteristic in their work is the contrast between the exuberance of the rich floral still lives and the phases of decay and decomposition of the flower that shows, with pride, its dents, bruises, aridity and its slow deterioration into a further stage of beauty. They have taken part in many exhibitions and art fairs in Italy and abroad. They have made several artistic projects for Dolce & Gabbana, in partnership with Ferruccio Laviani, for their private homes and in Dolce & Gabbana Man store in Milan. For Costa Crociere, in addition to several painted cycles, they signed the artistic curatorship of four cruise ships. During the 54th Biennale di Venezia, they were invited to exhibit as guests at the collateral event “Cracked Culture?/Eastern borders. The Quest for Identity in Contemporary Chinese Art”. Since 2012 their large painting “Flowers 07” is part of the permanent exhibition of the lobby of the presidential unit at Palazzo della Regione Lombardia within the project “Le colonne dell’Arte”. Their paintings have been exhibited in Sala delle Regie Poste at Uffizi Museum in Florence and at the Archaeological Museum in Reggio Calabria. They live and work in Milan.

Valentina Ceci was born in Milan in 1985. She graduated with full marks at the Academy of Fine Arts in Brera and subsequently worked as an assistant to the chair of Scenography. She collaborates in the creation of sets in many theatrical and television shows. After some experiences as a set designer and illustrator, she devoted herself to painting and exhibition activity. She taught drawing at the Scuola Superiore d’Arte Applicata of Castello Sforzesco in Milan. In 2013 she was selected to take part in the “Illustrator Exhibition” of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair with the resulting exhibition of her illustrations in a travelling exhibit within four museums in Japan. On the same year, after having won the “Bonatto Minella Price”, in front of a jury headed by Vittorio Sgarbi, she held her first solo show. She takes part in many group exhibitions as well as painting and illustration contests. She lives and works in Milan.

Ottorino De Lucchi was born in Ferrara in 1951. He graduated in Chemistry and Pharmacy at the University of Padua. Throughout his life he has always carried out his artistic activity interposing it with his career of academic chemist. During his stay in the United States he could closely observe the works by Andrew Wyeth, getting aroused by the technique and virtuosity of his “drybrush” paintings. Without any further detail, he started a series of experimentations which led to the independent development of an original technique with regards to the execution and to the chosen subjects. Drybrush is a technique that requires great mastery and concentration. The glazes and the concentration of colour obtained directly and through the careful removal of colour allow results which are not obtainable with other painting techniques. The striking contrasts caused by the touches of light has surprised many Italian and foreign art critics so much that Ottorino De Lucchi has been invited many times to illustrate the technique in Academies and Art Institutes. He taught at the Ca’ Foscari University in Venice Conservation and Restoration. His works have been shown in prestigious Italian and foreign art galleries in France, Spain, Germany and USA and he has taken part in many art fairs. He lives and works between Padua and Folgaria.

Nicola Nannini was born in Bologna in 1972. After attending classical high school, he graduated from Bologna Fine Arts Academy with full marks. From 1994 to 2018 he worked as art teacher at the Artisan School of Art in Cento, and since the early 2000s he has been professor of painting at Cignaroli Academy in Verona. After finishing his institutional studies, he conducted his own training independently through contact with the works of great masters of Italian and European art, from which he assimilated the techniques of painting. These traits merge in his works, where the constant dialogue with his own cultural education is an integral part of poetry. Nannini tackles thematic cycles ranging from the cataloguing of human and urban typologies to landscapes of broader and more lyrical breadth, marked by an almost contradictory ambivalence, but on the one hand aware of symbolist (or romantic) needs and on the other rationalistic aspirations; in the desire to clearly catalogue the surrounding environment and its peculiarities. Protagonist of many solo and group exhibitions in Italy and abroad, he has exhibited his works in private galleries, public museums and foundations. He lives and works between Bologna and Vicenza.

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