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Leuchtturm


Roberto Fanari Nella mia foresta (Searching for Beauty)


Cover Hidden landscape (PI – 016) 2014 mixed media on canvas 110 x 90 cm

colophon ...... ... .

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De helende werking van kunst The healing effect of art Roger van Boxtel

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La mano e il poema The Hand and the Poem Pietro Bellasi

23 Ostruzioni che alimentano la percezione

Obstructions that fuel perception Alessandro Romanini

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Hidden landscapes (paintings)

65 Bronze folio and shattered ceramics 85 Celle-ci sont des feuilles


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De helende werking van kunst Roger van Boxtel voorzitter Raad van Bestuur Menzis

Op zondagmorgen biedt Menzis haar relaties een moment van ontspanning en welzijn aan in Het Koninklijk Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. We zijn sponsor van Het Zondagochtend Concert en stellen onze kaarten vooral beschikbaar aan patiënten, mantelzorgers, verpleegkundigen, artsen en alle andere betrokkenen bij de zorg. We doen dit vanuit de gedachte dat muziek een helende werking heeft en ook het welzijn van mensen bevordert. Kan kunst genezen? Nee, dat niet. Maar kunst kan zeker positief bijdragen aan behandeling en herstel. In de geschiedenis en ook heden ten dage zijn vele mooie momenten te vinden waarop kunst en zorg - of medische wetenschap - elkaar kruisen en versterken. Twee werelden die op het eerste gezicht wellicht ver van elkaar afstaan, zijn toch meer met elkaar verbonden dan we wellicht denken. In het oude Griekenland was gezondheidszorg nauw verweven met religie. De eerste ziekenhuizen waren dan ook tempels, genaamd asklepieion. Hier werd Asclepius vereerd. De tempels waren versierd met vele vormen van kunst. Patiënten werden er omringd door schilderijen, beelden, tuinen, fonteinen, muziek en vertelkunst. Ook in de Middeleeuwen heeft kunst een belangrijke plaats in ziekenhuizen. Deze kunst heeft van oudsher een troostende functie. Kunstwerken werden ingezet om het lot van de ziekte – en de dood die er in die tijd vaak op volgde - dragelijk te maken. In het middeleeuwse hospice l’Hôtel Dieu in het Franse Beaune hangt Het Laatste Oordeel van Rogier van der Weyden, uit de 15e eeuw (1443 – 1451). Een monumentaal altaarstuk voor de kapel. Centraal staat een engel met een weegschaal. Een symbool voor de beslissing van een hemels of een hels hiernamaals. Zieken die hun einde zagen naderen, werden door de nonnen naar het altaarstuk geleid. Naarmate de pijn heviger werd gingen de luiken verder open om meer van het schilderij zichtbaar te maken. In de Middeleeuwen en ook in de Renaissance waren ziekenhuizen in heel Europa - en met name ook Italië grote opdrachtgevers voor kunstenaars. De kapellen van de ziekenhuizen werden aangekleed met altaarstukken, portretten, beelden, wandschilderingen en tapijten. In de Renaissance stond het vrije denken en onderzoeken centraal en werd het geloof een minder belangrijk thema in de kunst. De medische wetenschap kwam op. We zien een periode met ‘wetenschappers-kunstenaars’. Zij wilden onder meer het lichaam ontdekken en vastleggen. Zo is de proportieleer die zich in de Renaissance ontwikkelde belangrijk voor de geneeskunde én voor de kunst. In de Middeleeuwen werd de mens nogal eendimensionaal en daarmee onnauwkeurig afgebeeld. In de Renaissance was het belangrijk om de mens meer natuurgetrouw en exact weer te geven. Een mooi voorbeeld is de man van Vitruvius die Leonardo da Vinci rond 1490 tekende, ook wel bekend als Uomini Universali. Door de voorspoed van de handel overzee werd het erg populair om portretten te schilderen. Naast kooplieden


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en welgestelde burgers lieten ook medici en wetenschappers zich in de 17e eeuw vastleggen tijdens hun werk. Bekend is de Anatomische Les van Dr. Nicolaes Tulp door Rembrandt van Rijn. Met de opkomst van de wetenschappelijke geneeskunde, en toename van medisch technologische mogelijkheden, werd therapeutisch gebruik van kunst langzamerhand minder belangrijk gevonden. Intuïtief werd het echter nog steeds gezien als bevorderend voor genezing. Bijvoorbeeld door Florence Nightingale (1820 – 1910). In haar boek Notes on Nursing beschreef Florence Nightingale de behoefte van de patiënt om mooie dingen te zien. Zoals uit het raam kijken of naar een vaas bloemen. “De mensen zeggen dat het alleen uitwerking heeft op de geest. Dat is allerminst het geval. Het heeft ook uitwerking op het lichaam.” Veel ziekenhuizen hebben die goede raad opgepakt en hebben indrukwekkende kunstcollecties verzameld. Katholieke ziekenhuizen en hospices hebben van oudsher altijd kunstcollecties gehad met religie als voornaamste onderwerp. Zij hebben deze verder uitgebouwd. Veel andere ziekenhuizen zijn kunst gaan verzamelen toen de Nederlandse overheid in 1965 de Beeldende Kunst Regeling invoerde. Boven een waarde van 1 miljoen euro moest 1 of 2% van de bouwwaarde besteed worden aan kunst. Doel was om kunst te laten zien in openbare gebouwen. En de kunstenaars van werk te voorzien. Sommige ziekenhuizen hebben dat groots aangepakt. De grootste permanent toegankelijke verzameling van naoorlogse, Nederlandse beeldende kunst is niet te vinden in het Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, maar in het Academisch Medisch Centrum in Amsterdam. Hier hangen zo’n 6.000 werken. Het is de vraag of ziekenhuizen bij de selectie van hun kunst rekening houden met de meerwaarde daarvan voor de patiënt. Daar is overigens al wel onderzoek naar gedaan. Volgens onderzoeker Roger Ulrich is het belangrijk dat patiënten kunst zien die overeenkomt met hun emotionele toestand of gevoelens. Patiënten met stress en negatieve emoties hebben veel te lijden onder acute emotionele onrust. Zij kunnen dus beter niet kijken naar kunst met dubbelzinnige stijlen die verschillend geïnterpreteerd kunnen worden, denk ook aan kubisme. Niet iedereen is het daar mee eens. Er zijn ook zorginstellingen die schilderijen ophangen die juist voor wat leven in de brouwerij zorgen. In de Humanitas-huizen voor ouderen in Rotterdam hing oprichter Hans Becker zogenoemde ‘conversation pieces’ op. Zoals ‘de kunstenaar en zijn model’ van Aat Veldhoen, een naaktmodel welteverstaan. Hang zo’n schilderij op en de kans is groot dat er die dag eens niet wordt gepraat over alleen ziekte en ongemak. Kunst moet geen hoop of troost bieden. Kunst moet prikkelen, zodat het aanzet tot overdenken of zelfs discussie. Overigens is het goed te weten dat je van teveel kunst ook ziek kunt worden. Dit is bekend als het Stendhal syndroom. Een psychosomatische ziekte die zorgt voor een versnelde hartslag, duizeligheid en hallucinaties bij het zien van kunst, vooral in overweldigende hoeveelheden. De ziekte is genoemd naar de 19e eeuwse Franse schrijver Stendhal die dit overkwam tijdens een bezoek aan Florence. In 1979 gaf de Italiaanse psychiater Graziella Magherini de ziekte deze naam, nadat ze deze had vastgesteld bij meer dan 100 bezoekers aan Florence. Volgens Magherini kan kunst lang weggestopte emoties losmaken die zich vervolgens manifesteren in geestelijke klachten. Of gevoelige mensen kunnen de overweldigende hoeveelheid renaissancekunst in Florence eenvoudigweg niet aan. Kunst wordt vaak opgehangen in ziekenhuizen of zorginstellingen om afleiding te bieden, een gespreksonderwerp, hoop of troost. Dat is een mooi begin. Maar het is nog beter als de kunst ingezet wordt om patiënten sneller beter te maken. Hier wordt steeds meer onderzoek naar gedaan en we zien ook mooie voorbeelden in de praktijk. Een revalidatiecentrum in Amsterdam helpt mensen met niet-aangeboren hersenletsel revalideren door naar

kunst te kijken. Een ander voorbeeld: patiënten kijken naar kunst tijdens hun bestraling. Dit blijkt geruststellend te werken en helpt patiënten om stil en ontspannen te liggen. Ook zijn er voorbeelden waarbij het luisteren naar muziek de pijnbeleving vermindert of waarbij er zelfs minder narcotica nodig zijn. Als kunst en zorg worden gecombineerd met technologie gaat er een wereld aan mogelijkheden open. Denk aan virtual reality en serious gaming. Zo bedacht men aan de University of Washington de virtuele omgeving Snowworld voor brandwondpatiënten. Patiënten gaan in hun pijnlijke behandeling op in een driedimensionale sneeuwwereld. Hoe meer je jezelf in het spel verliest, hoe minder aandacht er is om de pijnsignalen te verwerken. Onderzoek van het Harborview ziekenhuis in Seattle dat Snowworld al tien jaar gebruikt wijst dat uit. Brandwondenpatiënten hadden tijdens fysiotherapie 35 tot 50% minder pijn. De Amerikaanse kunstenaar Ari Hollander die Snowworld ontwierp, gebruikte levensechte beelden. Kunst integreert op een andere manier in de zorg als patiënten zelf kunst gaan maken. Als bezigheidstherapie, afleiding, expressie, verwerking, noem maar op. Vooral in de psychiatrie heeft dit meerwaarde, maar ook in de behandeling van ingrijpende ziektes als kanker. Er zijn ook vele voorbeelden van schilder-, muziek of toneelsessies en kunstzinnig activiteiten in instellingen en ziekenhuizen. Een mooi voorbeeld hiervan is Art Brut, ook wel ‘ruwe kunst’ - gemaakt door mensen met een verstandelijke beperking. Zelf ben ik lid van het Comité van Aanbeveling van de Art Brut Biënnale, een tweejaarlijkse kunstmanifestatie met als doel meer bekendheid te geven aan Art Brut. Het is een initiatief van: De Twentse Zorginstellingen, Aveleijn, Mediant en Dimence. Het schilderen geeft deze mensen veel plezier en voldoening en vergroot hun zelfvertrouwen. En dat is vaak de basis voor participatie en integratie. Last but not least: deze mensen maken prachtige, kleurrijke en toegankelijke kunst. Van Picasso is bekend dat het hem een leven lang heeft gekost om te kunnen tekenen als een kind. Deze mensen dragen dit talent een leven lang in zich. Hun werk is vrij, spontaan, authentiek, zonder verwantschap met een bestaande kunststijl. Als kunst therapie kan zijn, kun je je ook afvragen in hoeverre bekende kunstenaars zelf zijn gaan creëren omdat ze therapie nodig hadden. Het is van veel bekende musici en kunstenaars bekend dat zij aandoeningen hadden. Schumann was manisch depressief, Mahler verwerkte de dood van zijn twee kinderen in zijn muziek. Het is intrigerend dat mensen die kunst maken vanuit hun eigen lijden, daarmee het lijden verminderen van de mensen die van hun kunst genieten. Zo blijken, zoals gezegd aan het begin, twee werelden die op het eerste gezicht ver van elkaar af lijken te staan eigenlijk nauw met elkaar verweven: kunst en zorg. En natuurlijk hoef je geen patiënt te zijn om de weldadige waarde van kunst te ervaren. Kunst is altijd, overal en voor iedereen waardevol. Niet voor niets hebben we bij Menzis een Kunstbeleid. We kopen kunst voor onze panden. Hiermee stimuleren we vooral de jonge kunstenaars in onze zogenoemde kernwerkgebieden. Externe kunsthistorici selecteren werk van kunstenaars die net van de academie komen en medewerkers worden betrokken in deze keuzes. Inmiddels hebben we een prachtige collectie opgebouwd die onze medewerkers elke dag boeit, inspireert, prikkelt en verwondert. ‘Editing of the senses’, noemt Roberto Fanari dat. Fanari focust zich op editing en cinematografische post-productie. Hij neemt een bestaand beeld, vaak uit de natuur, en onderwerpt het aan een actief proces van visuele selectie. Vervolgens licht hij er individuele details uit die hij combineert tot nieuwe beelden. Het resultaat zijn verrassende beelden, vaak in 3D, die de toeschouwer actief bij het kunstwerk betrekken. Fanari ziet de toeschouwer dan ook als co-creator van het werk. Deelen Art is erin geslaagd het werk van deze getalenteerde kunstenaar naar Rotterdam te halen. Speciaal voor deze gelegenheid is ook dit boek uitgegeven waarin een deel van zijn werk te bewonderen is. Het werk van Fanari past bij het motto van Deelen Art: ‘spelen met de werkelijkheid’. Elke kunstliefhebber interpreteert en beleeft dat op zijn of haar eigen manier. En juist dat maakt dat kunst altijd raakt. Kunst is van groot belang voor onze samenleving, ons welzijn, welbevinden en onze gezondheid. Dat moeten we koesteren!

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canvas as they carried out their work. The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp by Rembrandt van Rijn is one famous example.

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As scientific medicine emerged and the possibilities offered by medical technology increased, the therapeutic use of art gradually became less important. However, it was still intuitively regarded as being beneficial to the recovery of patients, including by Florence Nightingale (1820 – 1910). In her book Notes on Nursing she described the patient’s need to see beautiful things, for example to look out of the window or at a vase of flowers. “People say the effect is only on the mind. It is no such thing. The effect is on the body, too.” Many hospitals followed this good advice and built up impressive art collections. Catholic hospitals and hospices had traditionally always had art collections, the main theme of which was religion. These were expanded further. When the Dutch government introduced the Visual Arts Scheme in 1965 many other hospitals began collecting art too.

The healing effect of art Roger van Boxtel CEO of health insurer Menzis

On Sunday mornings Menzis offers contacts of the company an opportunity to enjoy a moment of relaxation and well-being at the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. We sponsor the Sunday Morning Concert and make our tickets available in particular to patients, carers, nurses, doctors and all other parties involved in the healthcare sector. This initiative stems from the idea that music has a healing effect and also promotes well-being. Can art cure people? No, but it can certainly make a positive contribution to their treatment and recovery. If we look back in time, and also at the world today, we can see many excellent examples of situations in which art and healthcare – or medical science – interweave and strengthen each other. Two worlds that perhaps seem remote from each other at first sight are actually more closely connected than we might think. In Ancient Greece healthcare was closely intertwined with religion. The first hospitals were therefore temples. Such a temple was known as an asklepieion and was where people worshipped the god Asclepius. These temples were decorated with many different forms of art. Patients were surrounded by paintings, sculptures, gardens, fountains, music and narrative art. Art also occupied an important position within hospitals in the Middle Ages. Traditionally, the purpose of such art was to comfort patients. Works of art were used to make the illness – and the death that often followed in those days – bearable. In the medieval hospice known as the Hôtel Dieu in the French town of Beaune hangs The Last Judgement by Rogier van der Weyden, a large altarpiece for the chapel dating from the 15th century (1443 – 1451). At its centre is an angel holding scales, symbolising the decision on whether to send someone to Heaven or Hell. Sick people who were close to death were led to the altarpiece by the nuns. As their pain became more severe, the panels were opened further to allow them to see more of the painting. During the Middle Ages, and also the Renaissance, hospitals throughout Europe – and in Italy in particular – were important clients for artists. Hospital chapels were decorated with altarpieces, portraits, sculptures, frescos and tapestries. Free thinking and research were central to the Renaissance and faith became a less important theme in art. Medical science emerged as a discipline and there was a period of ‘scientist-artists’, whose interests included discovering and documenting the human body. The study of proportions that developed during the Renaissance, for example, was important for the fields of both medicine and art. In the Middle Ages people were depicted rather one-dimensionally and therefore inaccurately. During the Renaissance it became important to portray people in a more true-to-life and precise way. An excellent example is the Vitruvian Man drawn by Leonardo da Vinci in around 1490, also known as Uomini Universali. Thanks to the prosperity of overseas trading, painting portraits became extremely popular. In addition to merchants and well-to-do citizens, in the 17th century doctors and scientists also had themselves captured on

Above a value of 1 million euros, 1% or 2% of the construction value had to be spent on art. The aim was to allow art to be seen in public buildings and to give artists work. Certain hospitals seized this opportunity with both hands. The largest permanently accessible collection of post-war Dutch visual art is not housed at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, but at Amsterdam’s Academic Medical Centre, where around 6,000 works are on display. The question is whether hospitals take the added value for the patient into account when selecting their art. Research has actually been carried out in this area. According to researcher Roger Ulrich it is important for patients to see art that is in keeping with their emotional state or feelings. Patients with stress and negative emotions suffer greatly from acute emotional distress. It is therefore better for them not to see art with ambiguous styles that can be interpreted in different ways, such as cubism. Not everyone agrees with this. There are also healthcare institutions that hang up paintings precisely with the intention of creating a stir. At the Humanitas old people’s homes in Rotterdam, founder Hans Becker displayed so-called ‘conversation pieces’, such as ‘the artist and his model’ by Aat Veldhoen, the model in question being a nude. If you hang up a painting like this, there is a good chance that on that day people will talk about other things than simply sickness and discomfort. Art does not have to offer hope or comfort, but it should stimulate people, making them think or even engage in discussion. Incidentally, it is good to know that too much art can also make you sick. This is a phenomenon known as Stendhal syndrome, a psychosomatic disorder that causes a rapid heartbeat, dizziness and hallucinations when viewing art, particularly overwhelming amounts of it. The disorder is named after the 19th century French author Stendhal, who experienced it during a visit to Florence. It was given this name by the Italian psychiatrist Graziella Magherini in 1979 after she had observed it in more than 100 visitors to Florence. According to Magherini, art can release long-suppressed emotions, which subsequently manifest themselves in the form of mental disorders. Alternatively, sensitive people are simply unable to cope with the overwhelming amount of Renaissance art in Florence. Art is often displayed in hospitals or healthcare institutions to provide a distraction, create a subject for discussion or serve as a source of hope or comfort. That is a good start, but it is even better if the art is used to help patients recover more quickly. Research is increasingly being carried out in this area and we can also see some excellent examples in practice. A rehabilitation centre in Amsterdam is using art to aid the rehabilitation of people with non-congenital brain damage. Another example involves

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patients looking at art while they are being given radiotherapy. This seems to have a comforting effect and helps patients to remain still and relaxed. There are also examples of situations in which listening to music reduces the pain experienced by the patient or even in which fewer narcotics are required. If art and healthcare are combined with technology, a whole new world of possibilities opens up, including virtual reality and serious gaming. At the University of Washington, for example, the virtual environment Snowworld has been developed for burns patients. During their painful treatment patients immerse themselves in a three-dimensional snowy environment. The more you lose yourself in the game, the less attention there is to process pain signals. Research by the Harborview hospital in Seattle, which has been using Snowworld for ten years, bears this out. Burns patients experienced 35% to 50% less pain during their physiotherapy. The American artist who designed Snowworld, Ari Hollander, used lifelike images. Art can be integrated into healthcare in a different way if patients create art themselves – as a form of occupational therapy, a distraction, a way of expressing themselves, a coping tool, etc. This offers added value in the field of psychiatry in particular, but also when it comes to the treatment of serious diseases such as cancer. There are also many examples of painting, music or drama sessions and artistic activities at institutions and hospitals. Art Brut – or ‘raw art’ – created by people with learning difficulties is a good example of such an activity. I am myself a member of the Recommendations Committee of the Art Brut Biënnale, a biennial art event that aims to increase awareness of Art Brut. It is an initiative of De Twentse Zorginstellingen, Aveleijn, Mediant and Dimence. Painting is a source of a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction for these people and increases their self-confidence, which in many cases provides a basis for their participation and integration. Last but not least, they create magnificent, colourful and accessible art. Picasso is known for having taken a lifetime to paint like a child. These people carry this talent with them throughout their lives. Their work is free, spontaneous, authentic and bears no relation to any existing style of art. If art can be therapeutic, you might also wonder about the extent to which famous artists started to create art themselves because of a need for therapy. Many famous musicians and artists are known to have suffered from complaints. Schumann was a manic depressive, while Mahler dealt with the death of his two children through his music.It is intriguing to note that people who create art as a result of their own suffering thereby reduce the suffering of the people who enjoy their art. As I mentioned at the beginning, two worlds that seem remote from each other at first sight are therefore actually closely interwoven: art and healthcare. Of course, you do not have to be a patient to experience the beneficial value of art. Art is always valuable – everywhere and for everyone. There is a good reason why we have an Art Policy at Menzis. We buy art for our premises and in this way encourage young artists, particularly in what we call our ‘core work areas’. External art historians select work by artists who are just out of college and employees are involved in these choices. We have now built up a magnificent collection that fascinates, inspires, stimulates and surprises our employees every day. Roberto Fanari refers to this as the ‘editing of the senses’. Fanari focuses on editing and cinematic post-production. He takes an existing image, often from nature, and subjects it to an active process of visual selection. He then picks out individual details, which he combines to form new images. This results in surprising images, often in 3D, which actively engage the observer with the artwork. Fanari therefore sees the observer as a co-creator of the work. Deelen Art has managed to bring the work of this talented artist to Rotterdam. This book, in which a selection of his works can be admired, has also been published especially for this occasion. Fanari’s work is in keeping with Deelen Art’s motto: ‘playing with reality’. Every art lover will interpret and experience it in his or her own way – and that is precisely why art always touches us. Art is extremely important to our society, our welfare, our well-being and our health. We need to cherish it!

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«In ogni contatto si genera una sostanza» (Novalis)

La mano e il poema Pietro Bellasi

«Nascosto in un albero folto è un ramo che ha foglie / d’oro e il gambo flessibile, sacro a Proserpina; / tutta la selva lo copre e fitte ombre lo cingono / con valli. A nessuno è dato di entrare nei regni / segreti se prima non svelle quell’aureo germoglio. / […] al primo staccato non manca il secondo / d’oro anch’esso e il ramo di foglie d’oro si veste. / Dunque ben addentro osserva con gli occhi e trovatolo, / come il rito prescrive, staccalo con la tua mano; / quello da sé docilmente verrà alla tua mano / se il fato ti elegge, altrimenti non forza ti giova / a piegarlo, né duro ferro a strapparlo» (Virgilio, Eneide, canto VI, traduzione di Enzio Cetrangolo)

La forza, il vigore, quasi la virulenza con cui Roberto Fanari persegue la sua esplorazione appassionata, sensuale delle materie, dipende quasi paradossalmente dalla accettazione umile e sapiente della imponenza della vita cosmica delle sostanze apparentemente inerti; della loro energia immaginaria e della eccitazione poetica, alla lettera “erotica”, che ne emana. Così, se pensiamo ai suoi pannelli, piccoli o grandi, di tralci nodosi e di grandi foglie a serrare quelle siepi impenetrabili (a parte qualche pertugio di arcane e remote profondità), ci appare chiaramente come i materiali plasmati (bronzo e terra) rispecchino senza fine (en abîme) le energie suscitate ed espletate dall’artista. Aggressione e difesa reciproche, direi violente, dove l’artista risponde alle provocazioni dei materiali, cercando di annientare la loro resistenza per richiamarli alla rigenerazione dell’opera. Direi che poco importa se le metafore “figurative” appartengono (con qualche rara eccezione) al mondo vegetale; questo, stranito da una sorta di gigantismo che lo avvicina enigmaticamente a un “bestiario” venuto da secoli bui, smarrito e attecchito nel nostro presente. Quello che conta è “la poesia del tatto profondo”, come la chiama Gaston Bachelard, il grande teorico dell’immaginario delle materie. “All’improvviso la mano possiede i propri poemi”. Questi nascono da qualità primordiali ed epifaniche: durezza/morbidezza, concavità/convessità, levigatezza/scabrosità, continuità/discontinuità, lucentezza/opacità, calore/freddezza. E ciò anche se possiamo pensare non sia soltanto il caso ad aver legato metallo, terre e arbusti nell’immaginario di Fanari. Come ci ricorda proprio Bachelard: «Per secoli si è creduto alla vita minerale, a una sorta di vegetalismo sotterraneo che fa crescere i filoni e le arborescenze metalliche. Le miniere esaurite venivano ricoperte di terra, affinché, in una lunga vegetazione, esse riproducessero una miniera ricca, rinnovata» (G. Bachelard, Causeries, 1952). In più, memore e affascinato per tutta la sua vita dalla grande tradizione alchemica, aggiunge: «Lo stesso oro è la vita materiale giunta infine a maturità. Trasmutare il piombo in oro è semplicemente aiutare la vitalità metallica affinché raggiunga il suo fiore. Senz’altro simili visioni cosmologiche non hanno più corso nelle spiegazioni scientifiche, ma non si cancella facilmente un’immagine con un’idea» (G. Bachelard, ibid.). Quando si nuota dentro l’abbaglio denso e quasi plastico dell’atelier in sua compagnia, a carezzare anche quelle mastodontiche composizioni con la tenerezza e la levità di un tatto che ne rivela tutta la tenue, solida e imponente tessitura, ti imbatti casualmente in tralci, rametti, foglie cadute o divelte dai muraglioni di siepi, come strappate a quelle fitte ombre, trascinate e deposte qua e là da fiotti, correnti, spifferi di luce. Ancora una prova dell’essenza rituale e cultuale del fare artistico nella ricerca di quel luogo misterioso d’incontro tra immaginario della materia e immaginario dell’artista. Un “regno segreto” che, con la figura di Proserpina evocata da Virgilio e propiziata dal “ramo d’oro”, rende plausibile la rivendicazione e il riscatto alla vita dell’inerte e del caduco. Ma si tratta anche di “foglie alchemiche”: rigenerare le materie, evocarle o richiamarle alla vita nell’assoluto simbolico di forme estetiche significa, come si diceva, negarle nella loro apparenza immediata, mortificarle, per

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spremerne con un catalizzatore di morte (la famosa “polvere di mummia”) una essenza votata all’eternità. Come sostiene ancora Bachelard, da sempre l’oro nasconde e per sempre l’oro nasconderà “il dramma alchemico”. Così l’oro germina e fiorisce all’acme del gioioso tormento a cui Fanari sottopone le materie amate, domate per sempre dalla prova del fuoco: i bronzi, le cui profonde e cupe tonalità rimbombano nell’intrico di selve popolate da un mondo vegetale in apparenza colpito da un incantesimo che lo spinge verso ignote mutazioni genetiche; le argille delle “ceramiche frantumate”, le cui policromie sembrano annunciare il risveglio da un sogno inquietante in un primo mattino del mondo. Nella produzione pittorica più recente (gli olii neri e bianchi in apparenza “assoluti”) dove Roberto Fanari rivolge il suo sapiente, energico “sadismo creativo” su pigmenti “estremi”, penso si possa parlare di specchi cromatici segreti. In effetti, gli “specchi neri” e gli “specchi bianchi” sembrano nascondere e svelare contemporaneamente l’enigma e l’ambiguità tribolata ed esaltante del rapporto tra realtà e apparenza, tra epifania e sparizione, tra visione e visionarietà; insomma, tra presenza e assenza, un tema sempre ricorrente nell’arte contemporanea più accorta ai segni dei tempi. Qualcosa che l’artista aveva già esplorato e sperimentato, seppure con modalità molto diverse, e diciamo più “tecniche”, con le riproduzioni tridimensionali e i relativi occhiali. Ideate e intessute con mano “lenta” e quasi artigianalmente paziente, non per caso dentro le tracimazioni di luce del suo studio, queste ultime tele rappresentano vere e proprie trappole ottiche, sorprendenti tranelli percettivi in cui le infinite velature di quei due “colori limite” chiudono in una sorta di segreto anamorfotico, fatto di abbaglio o di tenebra, memorie effimere di un paesaggio remoto nello spazio e nel tempo. La mano di Roberto Fanari, forse come mai prima “in possesso dei propri poemi”, ce ne offre i segreti più intimi. Non gratuitamente, certo! Queste sue ultime opere, che suscitano dalla materia inerte foreste di simboli, richiedono in modo impellente che, in quel sorprendente rispecchiamento aleatorio, imprevedibile, azzardato, in una visione che è viaggio, esplorazione, avventura, si colga l’opportunità rischiosa di rinnovare la nostra sfida immaginaria con la realtà, forse implausibile, del reale.

Milano, ottobre 2014


In every contact a substance is generated (Novalis)

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The Hand and the Poem Pietro Bellasi

Hidden in a shady tree is a branch with leaves / of gold and pliant stem, sacred to Persephone; / all the forest covers it, and deep shadows enclose it / with valleys. No one may enter into the secret realms / before plucking that golden shoot. / [...] When the first is picked the second will not fail. / This too is gold and the branch with golden leaves is dressed. / So seek well within and find it, / as the ritual prescribes, pluck it with your hand; / it will come docile to your hand / if the fates have chosen you, else no force will avail you / to bend it, nor hard iron to sever it.’ (Virgilio, Eneide, canto VI)

The strength, vigour and almost virulence with which Roberto Fanari pursues his passionate, sensual exploration of materials, depends almost paradoxically on the humble and wise acceptance of the grandeur of the cosmic life of apparently inert substances: their imaginary energy, and the poetic, literally ‘erotic’ excitement that emanates from them. Thus, if we consider Fanari’s panels, large or small, of gnarled shoots and large leaves that seal impenetrable hedges (save for some gap of arcane and hidden depths), it appears clear to us how the materials he shapes (bronze and clay) endlessly reflect (mise-en-abyme) the energies he arouses and employs. A reciprocal attack and defence, a violent one, in which the artist responds to provocations from the materials by attempting to destroy their resistance in order to lead them back to the regeneration of the work. I would say it hardly matters if ‘figurative’ metaphors belong (with a few rare exceptions) to the plant world – a world dazed by a sort of gigantism that brings it enigmatically close to a ‘bestiary’ from the Dark Ages, now bewildered and rooted in our day. What does matter is ‘the poetry of profound touch’, to quote Gaston Bachelard, the great theorist of material imaginations. ‘Suddenly, the hand possesses its own poems.’ These arise from primordial and epiphanic qualities: hardness/softness, concavity/convexity, smoothness/roughness, continuity/ discontinuity, gloss/opacity, and warmth/coldness. And even though we may think it, it is not merely chance that has linked metal, clays and bushes in Fanari’s imagination. As Bachelard himself reminds us: ‘For centuries there was a belief in the life of minerals, a sort of subterranean, vegetable life that grew seams and arborescences of ore. Exhausted mines were covered with earth, so that, after a long vegetation, they would once again produce a rich, regenerated mine.’ (G. Bachelard, Causeries, 1952). Furthermore, conscious of and fascinated throughout his life by the great alchemic tradition, Bachelard adds: ‘Gold itself is material life that has finally reached maturity. To turn lead into gold is simply to help the vitality in metal to blossom. Naturally, cosmological visions of this kind are no longer valid in scientific explanations, but it is not easy to erase an image with an idea.’ (G. Bachelard, ibid.) When you swim in the dense, almost plastic dazzle of Fanari’s studio in his company, caressing even his gigantic compositions with a tenderness and lightness of touch that reveals all their subtle, solid and impressive texture, you randomly come across shoots, twigs, and leaves fallen or torn from the great walls of hedges, as if they’d been ripped from those dense shadows, dragged and left here and there by bursts, currents, and draughts of light – a further proof of the ritual and cultural essence of art in search of that mysterious meeting place between the material imagination and the artist’s imagination. A ‘secret kingdom’, which, with the figure of Persephone evoked by Virgil and propitiated by the ‘Golden Bough’, makes it plausible to claim and redeem the life of the inert and ephemeral.

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But we are also dealing with ‘alchemic leaves’: to regenerate materials, evoke them, or bring them back to life in the symbolic absolute of aesthetic forms means, as was said above, to deny their immediate appearance and mortify them, to extract from them, with a catalyser of death (the famous ‘mummy powder’), an essence devoted to eternity. As again Bachelard sustains, gold has always hidden and will always hide ‘the alchemic drama’. In this way gold germinates and blossoms in the climax of the joyful torment to which Fanari subjects his beloved materials, forever tamed by the test of fire: the bronzes, whose deep dark tones echo in the tangle of woods populated by a plant world apparently under a spell that drives it towards unknown genetic mutations; the clay works, the ‘shattered ceramics’, whose varied colours seem to herald a reawakening from a disturbing dream in an early morning of the world. In his most recent pictorial work (the apparently ‘absolute’ black and white oils), in which Roberto Fanari turns his skilful, energetic ‘creative sadism’ onto ‘extreme’ pigments, I think we can speak of secret coloured mirrors. In fact, the ‘black mirrors’ and ‘white mirrors’ seem to simultaneously hide and reveal the enigma, and the troubled and exciting ambiguity, of the relationship between reality and appearance, between epiphany and disappearance, and between vision and visionariness; in short, between presence and absence, an ever-recurring theme in contemporary art that is more aware of the signs of the times, and a theme the artist has already explored and experimented, albeit in very different, and let’s say more ‘technical’ ways, in his three-dimensional reproductions and their accompanying glasses. Conceived and composed with a hand that is ‘slow’ and almost craftsmanlike in its patience, and not by chance in the flooding light of his studio, these latest canvasses represent veritable optical traps, surprising pitfalls of perception in which the endless veils of the two ‘boundary colours’ close, in a sort of anamorphic secret made of dazzle or darkness, ephemeral memories of a landscape remote in space and time. Perhaps as never before, the hand of Roberto Fanari ‘in possession of its own poems’ offers us the most intimate secrets. Not gratuitously, of course! These latest works of his, which conjure forests of symbols from inert matter, make the urgent request that in that random, unpredictable, hazardous and surprising mirroring, in a vision which is a journey, an exploration and an adventure, we will take the risky opportunity of renewing our imaginary challenge to the perhaps implausible reality of the real.

Milano, ottobre 2014


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Ostruzioni che alimentano la percezione Alessandro Romanini

Nel suo inesausto percorso di ricerca concettuale ed estetica Roberto Fanari allestisce un ennesimo paradigma ostruttivo, per offrire alle sue opere e alla sua poetica nuove soluzioni espressive. Perché l’artista ha continuo bisogno di cimentarsi con limitazioni che diventano stimoli alla creatività ma soprattutto necessità inevitabile di fornire nuove soluzioni, inedite, alla percezione. Alla base dell’ingranaggio creativo, l’attività di selezione-combinazione delle immagini frutto della rappresentazione, icone della realtà mediate e già quindi affrancate dalla “verginità” dello sguardo a favore di una riconoscibilità “mediatica”, che predispone lo spettatore a ricercare altre dimensioni percettive più rarefatte. Un’attività selettiva quella condotta da Fanari su rappresentazioni spesso provenienti dalla mano di raffinati incisori del XVII secolo e ancor più spesso di tema naturalistico. Immagini in bianco e nero, prive di quella connotazione mediatica contemporanea, che sposterebbe il baricentro dell’attenzione del riguardante nei territori dell’indagine puramente grafico-stilistica, mentre all’artista interessa il linguaggio e i processi della percezione, utilizzando come catalizzatori di questo processo, i materiali. I materiali sono infatti l’elemento caratterizzante l’operazione di ri-combinazione degli elementi visivi, che prende avvio da principi visuali e di armonia compositiva stabiliti e distillati a insindacabile giudizio dall’artista stesso. Fanari seleziona i materiali spesso più distanti dalla natura grafica del nucleo motore del processo. L’elemento visuale frutto della selezione e ricombinazione, viene “costretto” all’agone della trasformazione materica, della metamorfosi strutturale, dal quale può uscire vincitore solo attraverso il mantenimento dell’idea di base, del fulcro concettuale iniettato nel nuovo vestito. E’ un procedimento a ostacoli e ostruzioni quello che Fanari struttura, perché solo dal superamento di questi impedimenti si ottiene allo stesso tempo una visione chiara (da parte dell’artista) del percorso creativo, sia una percezione autonoma e soggettiva (da parte dello spettatore). Difficoltà ostacoli cercati, problemi concettuali e d’interpretazione che rappresentano in realtà opportunità percettive mascherate in abiti da lavoro. Perché è ferma convinzione dell’artista che esiste un costo di accesso alla bellezza, - termine desueto ma indicativo dei valori perseguiti – che coinvolge in un contratto rigido, l’artista e lo spettatore. Entrambi coinvolti in un ruolo attivo; l’artista nelle vesti di progettista e guida nell’esecuzione con la finalità di rispettare l’assunto di partenza e lo spettatore, chiamato a un ruolo partecipativo, che lo affranchi dalla passiva contemplazione e gli faccia rivestire un ruolo co-autoriale, per completare il percorso percettivo di cui necessita l’opera.


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Ruolo, quello spettatoriale che impone uno sforzo di creare un percorso autoreferenziale, in ultima analisi una mappatura soggettiva dell’apparato sensoriale messo in campo dall’artista. Lo sforzo, il costo di accesso all’esperienza percettiva è una delle chiavi di lettura più esemplificative per l’opera di Fanari. L’impegno profuso nella selezione e ricombinazione, ma soprattutto quello connesso alla declinazione materica della visione, che innesca conflitti multiformi con i limiti e i paradigmi della tecnica, i limiti e le potenzialità chimico-fisiche, il dialogo con le maestranze, la spinta a superare la routine produttiva delle strutture. La difficoltà d’individuare percorsi verosimili per spostare in avanti le potenzialità espressive di tecniche, materiali e risorse umane. L’ostruzione-limitazione autoimposta oltre alla dimensione materiale passa anche attraverso fattori visivi, come quello cromatico. La pittura, una delle forme attraverso cui l’artista si esprime diventa in questo contesto illuminante. Pittura come medium che richiede l’intervento diretto dell’artista, che fa scaturire l’immagine dal supporto in maniera“surgiva”. Come nel caso della serie nera, il confronto con il bianco diviene elemento guida. Colore ad alta luminosità ma senza tinta, contenente tutti i colori dello spettro elettromagnetico, che si contrappone immediatamente all’esperienza “ostruttiva” della serie nera (nero - assenza di colori). Al contrario delle credenze assodate, è il bianco, l’eccesso di luce ad annullare la visione, non l’oscurità e il nero. Quindi da qui è facile immaginare come gran parte del lavoro congenito a questa nuova serie, sia legato alla necessità di far letteralmente scaturire immagini e percorsi percettivi da questa dimensione senza tinta, acromatica. Strutturare delle dinamiche produttive e percettive in grado di liberare il complesso spettro di colori e nuances, contenuti nell’involucro del bianco (da Blank tedesco, essendosi perduto in italiano il termine albus latino). Il nucleo di quest’ulteriore avventura creativa e percettiva di Fanari si raccoglie qui, nella eco sensoriale e nelle sue molteplici declinazioni suscitate dal bianco e da tutte le implicazioni materiche che da esso scaturiscono. Creare un apparato percettivo in grado di far vibrare materiali, superfici al cospetto dello spettatore. Operazione circoscrivibile in termini critico-analitici di ben altra complessità nella sua dimensione realizzativa. Questo percorso ostruttivo, che trova nel bianco anche una perfetta simbolizzazione di sublimazione, purificazione (di biblica ascendenza) da tutti gli elementi decorativi ed esornativi connessi alla produzione di immagini, testimonia perfettamente anche lo spirito etico che sorregge e sostanzia l’operato di Fanari. Atteggiamento che mira con pervicacia a combattere la pervasiva pioggia d’immagini che connota la nostra civiltà, depauperando il senso profondo della visione e la pertinenza semantica e percettiva delle immagini stesse. Un conflitto che mira a restituire allo spettatore una sua dimensione soggettiva della visione, il diritto all’induzione del significato (come avviene nella lettura), affrancandolo dalla passività fruitiva a cui ci hanno abituato e costretto i mass media. Il bianco, nell’opera di Fanari, vuole anche conquistare – specialmente nei materiali plastici – quella capacità “sonora”, di “vibrare” al cospetto dello spettatore, raggiungere la dimensione del white noise, che in acustica raccoglie tutte le frequenze udibili e apre il campo indirettamente a tutte quelle dimensioni extrasensoriali o non direttamente riconducibili alla pura dinamica percettiva fisiologica. Il bianco che impone un’inesorabile condotta all’insegna dell’essenziale, che depura nel percorso realizzativo l’opera da tutte le istanze accattivanti e decorative per puntare dritto allo scopo percettivo, che non tollera niente se non la perfetta corrispondenza fra contenuto e contenitore del senso. Bianco che manifesta illusoriamente, come nel codice del Pronto Soccorso, un’urgenza minima di intervento ma allo stesso tempo impone – in questo caso alla percezione – un tempo di attesa e di meditazione indefinito.

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A role that necessitates an effort on the part of the viewer in establishing a self-referential course, ultimately a subjective sensory mapping of the sensory apparatus brought into context by the artist. The effort, the price paid for accessing the perceptual experience, is one of the most illustrative keys to understanding Fanari’s work. The specific commitment directed towards the selection and recombination process and, above all, the effort directly connected to the material declination of the vision, triggering complex conflicts with the limitations and paradigms of the technique, the limits and the chemical and physical potential, the dialogue with the workers, the momentum to overcome the routine production of the structures. The difficulty lies in identifying plausible courses of action focused on driving forward the expressive potential of the techniques, materials and human resources. In addition to the material dimension, the self-imposed obstruction and limitation, also takes into account visual factors, such as colour. Within this context, painting, one of the artistic mediums through which the artist expresses himself, becomes illuminating.

Obstructions that fuel perception Alessandro Romanini

In his never-ending conceptual and aesthetic quest, Roberto Fanari establishes yet another obstructive paradigm, imbuing his works and his poetic depictions, with new forms of expression. The artist presents a continuous need to contend with limitations that eventually become creative stimuli and, above all, that drive the unavoidable necessity for innovative new solutions, focused on perception. The driving force behind Fanari’s creative apparatus rests in the selection and combination of images. Images that are the product of the representation, icons of reality mediated and therefore already liberated of the “virginity” of the gaze, in favour of a recognisable “media” that entices the viewer to search for other more rarefied perceptual dimensions. A selective activity of a “forensic” nature conducted by Fanari, carried out on representations often produced by the hands of refined engravers from the 17th century, and even more often covering naturalistic theme. Images in black and white, devoid of that connotation characteristic of contemporary media, which would shift the focus of the viewer’s attention towards an investigation focused purely on the graphic and stylistic components, while the artist is interested in the language and in the processes of perception, relying on the materials as catalysts of this process. The materials, in fact, represent the distinguishing element of the operation concerning the re-combination of visual elements, activity that begins with principles of visual and compositional harmony, established and refined at the discretion of the artist himself, yet which later have to endure the scrutiny of the materials. Fanari selects materials furthest away from the graphic nature of the core mechanism associated with the process. The visual element, product of the selection and recombination process, is “forced” to face the agon of the material transformation, of the structural metamorphosis, from which it can emerge victorious only through the preservation of the basic idea, of the conceptual core presented in a new frame of reference. Fanari structures a framework based on obstacles and obstructions, because only by overcoming these impediments is it possible to obtain, at the same time, a clear vision (on the part of the artist) of the creative process, as well as an autonomous and subjective perception (on the part of the viewer). Difficulties resulting from obstacles sought, conceptual and interpretive problems, which in reality represent perceptual opportunities disguised in “work attire”. Because the artist rests firm on the belief that there is a cost to attaining beauty – obsolete term, yet indicative of the values ​​pursued – which constrains the artist and the viewer within a rigid arrangement. Both take an active role in the process – the artist in his role as designer and guide, with the objective of respecting the underlying assumption, and the viewer, called upon to take a participatory role, liberated from a mere passive contemplation and entrusted with a coauthorial role, to complete the perceptual framework required by the work.

Painting as a medium that requires the direct intervention of the artist, who gives life to the image, springing forth, so to speak. As in the case of the black series, the confrontation with white becomes a guiding element. A colour characterised by strong luminosity yet equally devoid of tone, containing all the colours of the electromagnetic spectrum, setting a direct and immediate contrast to the “obstructive” experience of the series black (black = no colour). Contrary to established beliefs, it is white – the excess of light – that is responsible for cancelling the vision, rather than darkness and black. Thus, from here, it becomes easy to understand that a substantial amount of the work devoted to this new series relates to the necessity to literally spring forth images and perceptual pathways devoid of colour, achromatic. Structures associated with productive and perceptual dynamics capable of liberating the overall spectrum of colours and nuances contained within the white element (derived from the German word Blank, while in Italian the Latin term albus has been lost). The very core of this ulterior creative and perceptual quest undertaken by Fanari is focalised here: in the sensory echo and in its multiple manifestations precipitated by the white and by all the corresponding material implications that arise from it. This consequently brings into scope a perceptual apparatus that causes the materials and the surfaces to vibrate as perceived by the viewer. A circumscribed operation in critical and analytical terms, of much greater complexity in its actualisation. This obstructive journey also identifies in the white element, a perfect symbol of sublimation and of purification (of biblical origin) from all the decorative and purely ornamental elements related to the production of images, while also bearing perfect witness to the ethical spirit that supports and substantiates Fanari’s work. A determined stance striving to combat the pervasive rainfall of images that characterises our society, exhausting the more profound nuances of vision, together with the semantic and perceptual relevance of the images themselves. A conflict that attempts to allow the viewer to recapture a subjective dimension of their vision, the right to the induction of meaning (as is the case with reading), freeing the onlooker from the fruitive passivity to which we have become accustomed and constrained by mass media. The white in Fanari’s work also attempts to conquer – especially in terms of the plastic materials – that “audible” capacity, the ability to “vibrate” in the presence of the viewer, attaining a dimension of white noise, which in acoustic terms gathers all the audible frequencies while indirectly making way for all those extrasensory dimensions, not directly connected to the purely physiological perceptual dynamics. The white, imposing an inexorable capacity to that which is essential, purifying the work during its production from all purely ornamental and decorative aspects and focalising on the perceptual objectives, tolerating nothing less than the perfect correspondence between the content and the container of the meaning. White that deceptively manifests – as in the emergency room – a minimum urgency of intervention, while at the same time imposing – in this case the on the part of perception – an indefinite waiting time and period of meditation.


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Hidden landscapes (paintings)

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Hidden landscape (PI – 011) 2014 mixed media on canvas 220 x 170 cm


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Hidden landscape (PI – 014) 2014 mixed media on canvas 220 x 170 cm


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Hidden landscape (PI – 015) 2014 mixed media on canvas 220 x 170 cm


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Hidden landscape (PI – 013) 2014 mixed media on canvas 240 x 160 cm

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Hidden landscape (PI – 012) 2014 mixed media on canvas 220 x 150 cm


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Hidden landscape (PI – 016) 2014 mixed media on canvas 110 x 90 cm


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Hidden landscape (PI – 018) 2014 mixed media on canvas 120 x 50 cm (Dyptich)


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Hidden landscape 2014 mixed media on canvas 120 x 50 cm (Dyptich)


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Bronze folio and shattered ceramics

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Bronze folio (FB – 019) 2012 bronze 133 x 102 cm

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Bronze folio (FB – 017) 2012 bronze 167 x 118 cm


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Bronze folio (FB – 018) 2012 bronze 186 x 143 cm


Shattered ceramic (CF – 023) 2013 glazed ceramic 224 x 186 cm


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Shattered ceramic (CF – 021) 2013 glazed ceramic 168 x 124 cm


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Bronze folio (FB – 009) 2012 bronze 85 x 103 cm


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Bronze folio (FB – 013) 2012 bronze 84 x 102 cm


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Bronze folio (FB – 015) 2012 bronze 85 x 103 cm


Celle-ci sont des feuilles

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Ceci est une feuille? 2014 glazed ceramic 52 x 39 x 28 cm (approx.)


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Ceci est une feuille? 2014 glazed ceramic 52 x 39 x 28 cm (approx.)


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Ceci est une feuille? 2014 glazed ceramic 54 x 37 x 27 cm (approx.)


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Ceci est une feuille? 2014 glazed ceramic 48 x 34 x 32 cm (approx.)


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Ceci est une feuille? 2014 glazed ceramic 44 x 32 x 28 cm (approx.)


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Ceci est une feuille? 2014 glazed ceramic 54 x 37 x 32 cm (approx.)

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Ceci est une feuille? 2014 glazed ceramic 34 x 27 x 21 cm (approx.)


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Celle-ci sont des feuilles? Installation 2014 glazed ceramic 210 x 140 cm (approx.)


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Profile for Roberto Fanari

Searching for beauty  

Roberto Fanari: searching for beauty. Rotterdam, Deelen Art

Searching for beauty  

Roberto Fanari: searching for beauty. Rotterdam, Deelen Art

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