Cabinet Studiolo

Via Alessandro Tadino, 20, 20124 Milan

Riccardo Beretta
Domenico Gnoli (Collezione Ramo)

Riccardo Beretta answers questions from
Irina Zucca Alessandrelli, curator of the Collezione Ramo

What is your relationship with drawing and Italian art history of the last century?

Drawing for me is to record a thought, to understand a form, to become aware of one's body, to lose oneself. The Italian artist of the last century who first made me understand the meaning of art was Giacomo Balla. As a child I saw a famous painting of his in which he investigates the movement of a violinist's hand, there I fully understood the threshold between representation and work of art. I feel the artistic tradition, understood in the broadest sense, as a root or a nest and, above all, as a living matter to be touched, shaped and kept warm.

Why did you choose this work by Domenico Gnoli?

I find that the figure of Domenico Gnoli and his painting exert a magical magnetism on me, having the opportunity to be able to choose him for a comparison I thought of making my works dialogue with his. The mystery contained in his canvases is never exhausted; one is often confronted with enigmatic images, magnified details of larger scenes. The imagination is thus caught up in the plots of the reported drawing and solicited by what is not accomplished before our eyes but activated in our minds. This narrative and cinematic aspect I wanted to reverberate in the short sentences in the distinctive font, which I draw on paper or embroider on velvet, to thus tell a story written and depicted by both.

The title of the exhibition, "I Am Metaphysical Not Metaphysical," is taken from a drawing I made in 2018 after reading Gnoli's letters and writings. These two antithetical assertions in his short autobiography struck me because at the time I was working on a series of embroideries where negative and positive cognitions were bound together by the embroidery:

I am ambivalent / I am resolute
I am weak / I am resilient
I did something wrong / I can learn from it

I am fascinated by this simultaneous idea of representation, by the fact of identifying with both extremes of an argument and being able to depict the space that connects them. Standing in front of Gnoli's works feels like standing in front of an open and closed door at the same time.