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The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters


Enrico Robusti and the creative process El sueño de la razón produce monstruos is the frontispiece of the Caprichos, a famous collection of 80 etchings executed in 1797-1799 by Spanish painter Francisco Goya. The print depicts the artist himself assailed by bats and owls – symbols respectively of ignorance and folly – after having fallen into a deep sleep onto his working desk. Some commentators and critics see in this etching the embodiment of the early Romantic ideal, more precisely the quintessence of the creative process that is allowing emotions and imagination to run free. Two centuries after Goya, we find the same approach to creation in Enrico Robusti’s paintings. Following his degree in law, Robusti devoted himself to the study of XVII century painting technique, with a particular focus on the work of van Dyck and Rubens. For about fifteen years his paintings and portraits had been informed with traditional elements; however, with the turn of the millennium, Robusti felt the urge to find a new way of expressing his artistic personality. The result of this shift is an utterly original approach to both technique and subject matter. His bold handling of paint and perspective generate multifaceted compositions, oneiric, constantly on the verge of nightmares. The sophisticated use of a quasi-fisheye perspective enables Robusti to artificially widen the scope of his depiction and at the same time to play with the distortion effect, making the protagonists of his stories incisive caricatures. The humus from which Robusti’s creations spring is rich and composite. He stridently blends classical mythology, medieval and renaissance motives and symbols, contemporary literature and popular culture, i.e. advertising and cinema. He draws inspiration from the land where he was born, Emilia Romagna, the same region that produced Fellini, another source for Robusti’s overflowing imagination. As in “Satyricon” Fellini offered his own interpretation of a degenerate civilization – Rome under the reign of Nero – so Robusti depicts on his canvases an opulent, decadent society. “Con ROB ogni macchia scompare”, that is “With ROB every stain vanishes” (Cat. Ref. No.3), perfectly exemplifies Robusti’s social criticism. The images are deliberately ambiguous. The husband, whose face is covered in what one assumes is blood, is greeted by his wife, who at the same time offers – as the archetypal advertising image – a commercial product. On the left-hand side of the painting, a child holds a jar of what appears to be jam. The observer is by now confused by the stark contrast between blood and jam. These elements are, in Robusti’s thought, symbols of the society we live in. We live in a muffled atmosphere, constantly pending between the gruesome spectacle of everyday news and the delightful, reassuring image of the world conveyed by advertising. The Albemarle Gallery is pleased to introduce this incredibly talented artist, in the year of his celebration at the Venice Biennale. Alessandro Lorenzetti Writer and Art Critic


1 Arriva Papi oil on canvas 150 x 100 cm (59 x 39 in)

2 Blue Eyes oil on canvas 100 x 120 cm (39 x 47 in)

3 Con ROB Ogni Macchia Scompare! oil on canvas 120 x 100 cm (47 x 39 in)

4 La Scosciata oil on canvas 100 x 120 cm (39 x 47 in)

5 La Madonna delle Brioches oil on canvas 120 x 100 cm (47 x 39 in)

6 La Plafoniera dei Nostri Sogni oil on canvas 150 x 100 cm (59 x 39 in)

7 Le Sirene oil on canvas 100 x 120 cm (39 x 47 in)

8 Fatemi Scendere oil on canvas 120 x 100 cm (47 x 39 in)

9 Vi Dispiace se con Questa Manina Assaggio Questo Zampone oil on canvas 120 x 100 cm (47 x 39 in)

10 Video Game oil on canvas 200 x 200 cm (79 x 79 in)

11 Assunta in Cielo Prima di Abbaiare oil on canvas 150 x 100 cm (59 x 39 in)

12 Com’è Stato Possibile Perdersi in Questo Universoletto oil on canvas 200 x 160 cm (79 x 63 in)

13 Tana! oil on canvas 205 x 160 cm (81 x 63 in)

1956 Born Parma, Italy where he lives and works SELECTED EXHIBITIONS 2011 Lo Stato dell’Arte nel 150° dell’Unità d’Italia, Venice Biennale, Venice 2010 Paralleli, Biennale di Sabbioneta, Sabbioneta Colpo di Fulmine, Palazzo Litta, Milan Colpo di Fulmine, Broletto, Como 2009 Quarantesimo sbarco sulla luna, Piazza del Popolo, Rome Anima dell’acqua, Ca’ d’Oro, Venice Biennale, Venice Telecitta, Galleria Chiari, Rome 2008 Figurae, Villa Genoese Zerbi, Reggio Calabria Figurae, Arteutopia, Milan La fiera delle verità, Moretti Gallery, London La Fiera delle Verità, Galleria Chiari, London 2007 Gnam – foodscapes, Parma Arte Italiana 1968-2007, Palazzo Reale, Milan Mani in alto in nome della legge!, curated by Vittorio Sgarbi, Galleria del Teatro, Piacenza Cinquecentenario, Casato Antinori, Florence MiArt, Milan Verona Arte, Verona Antologia della Figurazione Contemporanea, Galleria Figurae, Milan Collettiva, Galleria Davico, Turin 2006 Enrico Robusti, Galleria Davico, Turin L’ ironia della vita, Italian Cultural Institute, Vienna Bum, curated by Edoardo Cimurri, Galleria Pittura Italiana, Milan 2005 L’inquietudine del volto, curated byVittorio Sgarbi, Banca Popolare di Lodi, Lodi Apollo e Dioniso, Palazzo Municipale, Cortona Roma Robusta, Studio Merlini-Storti, Roma Il ritratto interiore, curated by Vittorio Sgarbi, Archaeological Museum, Aosta Il calcinculo che tutto move, Galleria Pinxit, Turin Il Male, esercizi di pittura crudele, curated by Vittorio Sgarbi, Palazzina di Stupinigi, Turin 2004 E.R., Galleria Pinxit, Turin MiArt, Milan Bar Italia, Galleria Annovi, Modena 1991 Ritratti, curated by Federico Zeri, Galleria Consigli, Parma 1986 De rerum natura, Galleria Consigli, Parma

© Albemarle Gallery MMXI


Enrico Robusti  

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