by Enrico Ghezzi
I have the privilege not to know Antonello Matarazzo (it's not true, we have met at least seven times, and have often communicated in that non place between the "net" of the "windows" where one writes, and where I would be right now if I could). I say a privilege because, even before appearing ( that is being buried in an image) in one of his films entitled "Astrolite" (his and Carlo Michele Schirinzi's, with the collaboration of Marco de Angelis) and then becoming it, I had the impression to be one of his portraits; not a portrait of me made by him, but an enricoghezzi image, portrait of something else (maybe nobly imagined) to which I would be ignobly and yet proudly unrelated to.
"I am a provincial artist" he told me when I called him on the phone after seeing one of his videos (I engaged him right away for a festival). As if having the courage to call oneself an artist could automatically mean not being from the "province", maybe blossoming while still remaining a populated desert, while the city, urban civilization, is more like a re-populated desert (populated and drawn by force), a concentration camp of ghosts, movements, and effects that are instead being lodged, contained, and dispersed with a softer and more melancholy entropy [...] In The Fable it was exactly the melancholy that struck me, and what is even more wicked (ironic maybe), are the extremely long end credits, moreover infinite and genealogic like in a "technohollywoodian" colossal. These credits know exactly well that inside a simple photographic album, that at every time and at every glance all the history of the world culminates.
I underline that I was talking about video, as already stated. This is also valid for all Matarazzo's "gameworks" (from now on I will just say "Antonello"). Not only because of the technical and the magical sense that the difference between film and video still has. This is especially true now in this twilight where all images digitally mix themselves towards the invisible image that awaits us, without form and substance, without "us" because "we" will find ourselves to be substance and form of that image, we will in the end recognize ourselves in that image. Both "film" and "video" were and still are those genres of his unrelated Raffaello Matarazzo (not surprisingly they always names of painters). I immediately asked him if they were related, and he disappointed me by answering "no we are not relatives".
Okay, so be it. As irritating as they may be, videos (and then films when the post-Welles imposters in a Barney-like stile impose themselves thanks to large sums of money and "unique original copies" for millionaires whose best qualities are in the hypothetic and easily wishable reproduction and counterfeit) "signed by an artist " often come out as the most ingenuously genuine in the "circle" of the enormous number of "short films" roaming from one festival to another in the world, they immediately pay for the two main ambitions that are often interlaced in thousands of small beginner films, that's to say the autistic-artistic one, and the ones who sell themselves in advance with an indifferent visiting card, demonstrating their clever complex and neat reliability for those longer golden "filmatic" and spectacular "realizations". Nevertheless, we can nowadays observe in what measure an average moment of a Mario Bava film can considered "more intense" than the still fascinating and recklessly post-filmatic exercises by Douglas Gordon or Gordon Douglas or even Bill Viola (the "net" is there at the disposal of all).
We can't avoid to say that on their side (their and of many other post-video-filmatic artists) they are more intense and engaging than the larger part of other contemporary artists, even the most dogged, rigorous, and lonely (those who can't then help from progressing once more in a crypto-filmatic sense finding with a sense of vertigo in the readymade duchampism of the artwork itself (which is nothing but a breaking wave of the readymade world). It is enough for me to underline how the palindromic/surnames of the two "douglas'" mentioned are precise quotes or maybe unnecessary baroque volutes of the name of that perfect, style-less, dry, explosive genre director from Hollywood, who produced, among others, one of the great eponymous titles of filmatic science fiction, which is to say that "them" whom he constantly indicates to us with obstinacy.
I don't know Antonello's artworks then, the one where objects and images claim to be still or almost still, at least as much as in television, cinema, and video claming to be caught in motion. I know however, that a genealogy with no chance for a grip joins us together. I also realized that the images of his films, of those I love the best, and that I would define (from my point of view) his "first-last ones", reveal a profound respect towards the deposit of interlaced archives that are behind all of his images as much as in every face, every look, every "blindvoyant", every part of them. Today's best extreme cinema lives out of this invisibility of the visible and upon this blindness. Sokurov and Straub & Huillet, might be opposite examples, but they are nonetheless united in engaging upon a sort of "iron glance" of comparison with the fixed look – Cezanne is the only name here (to make it short ) but Piero.., Monet, Turner, El Greco, are placed higgledy piggledy, and a part from him there are seventy seven other painters moving impossibly on the same length and vibrations of the subliminal stillness/movement. I find (and re-find) there, the artists quiet ability of knowing the inanity and his consciousness of himself as "nobody's child" in a quarry where millions of humiliated or rebelled hands without names have been digging for ages; beasts from Lascaux, imprisoned miners or anarchist quarrymen who are diggings themselves a ditch. Or maybe an exhibition. Or the bitter taste of refusing the viral capitalistic imperative of pressing money, because in the end we/ them are not eternal.
Nobody's children, a bit like brothers, maybe recognize each other without knowing each other. Because the image is neither son nor mother, nor father or son, neither a copy or an original. We recognize it without knowing what we know of the "figures", of signs that we believe to recognize but we do not know. Concerning "nobody's children" we have the least bit of respect for their parents and relatives all: that is to say for none (we see this especially in art where someone thinks the relationship must be with something real or true, instead of with nothing).
(extraction of a text published in the catalogue Antonello Matarazzo, Studio Vigato editions, Alessandria 2003)