MOTION IN THE MAKING
by Bruno Di Marino
IThe film imagery of an artist like Antonello Matarazzo is, can't not be strongly affected by the author's early pictorial background. The accuracy of his gaze together with the need for a gesture, always a clear and peremptory one, by which he tries to translate into images (moving or not), the chaos of the world, is, for instance, one of the characteristics of his art making. All in all, you feel that, despite not being born as a filmmaker, Matarazzo can perfectly master the medium, exploring its opportunities, and its effects too, never choosing a narrative way, moving instead in the balance between experimentation and documentary.
And it is on this side that Matarazzo has practiced over the past two years, with two works that are very different from each other: the medium-length film Latta e cafè (2009), produced for the Filmauro by Aurelio De Laurentiis, and the short film Video su carta (2011), showcased last June at the Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro in Milan. The first (film recognized as of cultural interest from Ministero dei Beni Culturali) is a portrait dedicated to Riccardo Dalisi, architect and designer in Naples. Telling through pictures the long and many-sided activity of a figure like that of the eclectic Dalisi, requires an absolute freedom of staging. It is for this reason that Latta e cafè starts with a metafilmic touch through the enunciation of a structure that will be largely disregarded by the development of the project. In this sense, what is defined in part a portrait of Dalisi, reflects the approach and the style of the subject: Latta e cafè is an "unpredictable" documentary, which affects certain issues, then leaves them behind, unless touching them again, in a schizophrenic stream reflecting the same eclectic energy that informs the aesthetics of Mr.Dalisi's works. The main object of Dalisi's inventiveness, that is the tin-plated coffee pot, makes its appearance in the first part of the film in order to reappear only towards the end: and it is just an example of how any subject can be handled by Matarazzo without being ever ended. Indeed, the rhythm of the film seems to enhance Dalisi's aesthetics, which is a kinetic machine too, highlighting - up to a breaking point - how lively the creations of the architect are.
Latta e cafe's chaotic structure counterbalances to the linear and geometric architecture of Video su carta, shotted on the occasion of the exhibition of Perino & Vele at Pomodoro Foundation. If the artistic process of Dalisi is a baroque-shaped telling, the short film on the two artists both coming from Campania (and AM's longtime friends and colleagues), who decided to focus on a single but extraordinary technique, the papier-mâché, is far closer to the language of minimal art. The universe of Perino & Vele is synthesized through "outlined pictures", or through visions that, in addition to documenting the various procedural stages of their work, continuously turn into infographic sinopias, with a shift from images from life to images from the lattice tracking the same squared texture of Perino&Vele's papier-mâché figures. Static shots, slow and well-defined camera movements, and especially an editing that scans the staging, in sync with music and sounds: this is the style adopted by Matarazzo, the opposite, indeed, of handheld cameras, fadings from black and neat cuts we have found in Latta e cafè.
In these two works Matarazzo, while echoing the style of the artists whom he chose to tell, stands out because of his own eyes: re-reading and re-staging the aesthetics of his colleagues, he takes advantage of his unique language.
In the creative evidence we can also find traces of the artistic and experimental ground Matarazzo has been exploring in recent years. The interconnection and the exchange between still images (photographs) and moving images (videographic) is the focus of several of his videos and installations, from La Camera Chiara to La posa infinita, a theme that becomes crucial in other works too: from VeraZnunt - which will be repeated in the form of installation at Zenobio Palace in Venice – to Peopleconnection, from Motus to Karma, one of his most recent works produced in different versions, which will be set up - in September as well - at the CAM in Casoria (Na), the Italian regional Pavilion of 54th Venice Biennale.
A common thread that ties all of these creations is the relationship between matter and memory, time and movement, individual history and collective history. The autobiographical remembrance of the old Armenian guy who looks back to the genocide of his people by the Turks, takes the form of a photograph that magically takes life and marks a "rebirth" or a return to innocence, to a world not yet shocked by violence, intolerance and death (VeraZnunt). A parallel is found in Karma, all played upon the oxymoron between immobility and transformation, represented by the existence of a tree, the roughness of its bark so similar to that of an aging human body: that of an elderly woman in which we see the same mixture of stillness and transformation. The strenght of the plant is apparently inanimate, as opposed to the fragility of a body who is subject to the time passing by. Two organic forms of nature absorbed into an inexorable cycle, where everything is to be changed and nothing is destroyed.
In Matarazzo's aesthetics the faults of the time and also the continuous and rhizomatic steps from stasis to movement contribute to the creation of a path rich in character, consisting of visual-narrative fragments that compulsively run in the name of an acute primal yearning, where the sense of history and nature overlaps and disappears.