A new language in Contemporary Art

by Gaetano Grizzanti

The author

After a long interval of decantation, an interval he occupied with distancing himself from unsatisfactory academic training, to the accomplishments of parallel yet different work, Gaetano Grizzanti gradually matured the way he sought to think and "communicate" with us.

It should be noted that he, the Author, is well aware of living in the society we are forced to share at this bleak dawn of the third millennium. Gaetano Grizzanti started out anew two years ago, not three, as Massimo Troisi claimed. It is a process of reducing, of breaking through, of humility that brings academia and also, by other avenues, his own trade as a designer back into play.


He started out anew from two because there are two elements that have been preserved from the ancient method: the canvas, in other words, the place, and the brush, which is the tool. Since 2000 Grizzanti has created this hypothetical artistic “current” that he calls "ICONISM". But before we begin to delve into this broad topic, it is a good idea to analyse the two elements I have already highlighted. The place and the medium are by no means new, indeed, they are well known and rooted in the painting tradition of our country from the 1500s and beyond, to give a general outline.

The fact should therefore be considered what “Painting” and "Art" mean when we go and analyse them. But which "Painting"? That which can be traced, saved, enucleated, viewed, exhibited and done today. And which "Art"? That which we have to learn to come to terms with, that which never takes off here in Italy, that which is contemporary but stopped with the "Macchia" of Marteili and Fattori. So therefore, with caution and humility, Gaetano Grizzanti, having saved these two elements, begins the process of a new language in Art.

In the shipwreck he brought with him the colours, those pure, bold colours that kept him company in his work as a graphic designer. He uses them sparingly, however, two or three at a time. One colour for the background field and not much more for the chosen image. The subject stands out in the middle of a plain field, frugally, subtly encompassed in solid, decisive lines that refuse to yield to either softness or geometry. They are lines only meant to be functional to the chosen form. Functional to the composition and to conveying the message displayed and yet hidden by the generalised mental atrophy induced by the sloppy, redundant mass of images that our society serves us up on a daily basis. Thus, the cathode ray tube brings us pseudo three-dimensional kitsch, rubbish that is flatter and less articulate than the screen displaying it, despite the blaring jingles that accompany it deafening us.

Of course, with regard to the samples proposed by Grizzanti, the canvases are roughly the size of the screen, but the brush and colour, through the Author’s hand and way of thinking, create an isolated image, not mealy, but fresh and clean looking, and as appealing as freshly picked fruit to our lazy, negligent eyes; which are by now unable to read any image.

In order to help listless viewers, Grizzanti affixes captions, in other words, titles to the works, which are the invitation to enter the interactive place on the canvas, where the ICON will play without ADSL and without a Charge (whether in terms of energy or money). We are thus invited to use our brains, and starting out from the painting, to take a tour of the real and ephemeral within ourselves, and around ourselves and in the world today.

Emanuela Catalano

Art Historian, Full Professor of Advanced Art History Courses, Art Institute of Florence