2018 Mantra

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Mantra

Ferruccio Ascari here returns to using the technique of fresco transferred to canvas, typical of his painted works. But there is an element of innovation: the element of writing, previously used episodically in the fabric of his works, becomes the key element of this work, which is also a text.[read more=”Read More”less=”Read Less”]The range of colours is limited to just two: a very dark green for the almost-black background, and gold for the words of the text flowing across twenty-seven canvases, hung not in a line but in a pattern that recalls a musical score. At first glance, the text seems unfathomable, but as the title suggests, it is a fragment of a mantra of Vedic tradition. The text is a threshold to cross, an enigma to decipher in order to reveal its content of truth. Mantra is part of a cycle of compositions the artist has been working on since 2017. They all fall within the same province: a spiritual tension, a questioning of the sense of our being in the world in this historical period of radical transformations. The sense of these works that refer to different religious traditions lies in their quest for a common core, able to preserve us from hate and intolerance. The message contained in Mantra goes in this direction, but not only. The artist’s formal choices are in themselves a declaration of intent: the drastic reduction in figurative elements as well as the gold and the dark green make this work an object of meditation with a contemporary slant and with an implicit reference – also via Malevich’s Black Square – to the icon and its theological as well as artistic significance, its being a ‘presence’ and not just a simple artistic depiction.
[BIAS 2018 – Biennale Internazionale di Arte Contemporanea Sacra delle Religioni e Credenze dell’Umanità (Padiglione Filosofico) – MUSEO RISO Cappella dell’Incoronazione, Palermo][/read]

Mantra. Fresco transferred to canvas, gold and iron, 27 canvases, 30×40 cm each, 2018

2017 Luogo Presunto

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Luogo
Presunto

The exhibition “Silenzio” (Silence) started with this installation consisting in a series of spindly iron-rod structures and located at the center of the opencast space of the cloister of the Basilica of San Simpliciano. This exhibition has been conceived by the artist as a path twisting in the center of Milan and comprehending two other places of spirituality, that is the rectory church of San Raffaele and the chapel of San Bernardino alle Ossa.[read more=”Read More”less=”Read Less”]The elements of the installation, wiry and fragile architectures, were placed in the space with no apparent order, simply seeming to respond to a desire to spread out: “Archetypical buildings that could almost fly away from one moment to the next. A house between land and sky, a suspended shelter that avoids contact, perhaps protecting us even more than a sturdy construction standing solidly on the ground”, as the artist described his work. The title, “Luogo presunto” (Suspected Place), a quote from Borges, in fact refers to an imaginary place whose existence is uncertain, a place with the same texture as a mirage or a dream.[/read]

Luogo presunto. Environmental installation, iron, variable dimensions, 2017

2007 Omphalos – scultura

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07

Omphalos II

The idea of center as origin, the place from which infinite directions depart, or the infinitely small vanishing point, is found in the iron scultpure Omphalos,[read more=”Read More”less=”Read Less”]a series of ink drawings with the same title, and La freccia che colpisce il bersaglio vola per sempre, a sculpture in white terracotta whose four parts are, in turn, composed of a series of concentric sub-parts sloping towards the inside to form a sort of visual vortex. Omphalos is a word from ancient Greek meaning “navel,” but also umbilical cord, the center of the Earth. The omphalos is the center of the human body, but it is also, significantly, a scar that bears witness to the moment in which we were separated from the maternal body that hosted and generated us; it is the tangible sign of a separation, but also of the conquest of an independent life. The reference to the many meanings of this word emerges in two sculptures, one in iron and one in graphite, and their related drawings. In the sculptures the movement of expansion that starts at the center necessarily encounters a limit at the borders of the object, while in the drawings the lines that spread out from the center suggest a potentially infinite movement. Again in these works, it is not so much the natural, the living that is shown and represented. As the artist remarks in his writing, instead it is a question of “to act as nature would, which is also typical of the alchemical process. The alchemist is he who sets out not to reproduce a natural phenomenon in the laboratory, but to pro-duce processes of transmutation according to the ways of nature, attuning soul and body to its way of proceeding”.[/read]

Onphalos. Iron, 24x60x58 cm, 2007 [S0022]

1999 Dittici

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Dittici

Untitled. Diptych, fresco transferred to canvas, 2 elements 43×57,5 cm each, 1999 [A0206]

Untitled. Diptych, fresco transferred to canvas, 2 elements 43×57,5 cm each, 1999 [A0207]

Untitled. Diptych, fresco transferred to canvas, graphite, 2 elements 43×57,5 cm each, 1999 [A0208]

2000 L’Ordine dura un istante sculture

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L’Ordine Dura
Un Istante I

L’ordine Dura Un Istante. Perforated alcantara, 40×49 cm, 2000 [TR0004]

L’ordine Dura Un Istante. Perforated plastic material, 39×58 cm, 2000 [TR0003]

L’ordine Dura Un Istante. Perforated alcantara, 2000 [TR0023]

L’ordine Dura Un Istante. Perforated and painted iron, 2000 [TR0007]

2006 Metameria

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06

Metameria

Both Metameria, an iron sculpture composed of 23 parts, and Come fosse in ascolto, made of 21 parts in white terracotta, are organized on a plane, on a longitudinal axis,[read more=”Read More”less=”Read Less”]in order of decreasing size, symmetrical to a central element, or “in a rhythm of crescendo and diminuendo,” as the artist says, borrowing terms from the language of music. Both focus on the question of symmetry and its disruption, the dialectic between order as a principle of stability and disorder as a generative factor. Besides, both suggest similarities with imaginary organic structures, although there is no actual intention of mimicking reality: the point is not to represent – in the sense of re-producing – anything that exists, but to bring into being forms that reveal their shared belonging to an imaginary organic world. In Come fosse in ascolto there is a balance between the single parts that almost has a musical shape: from the low central note of the central element to the gradual ascent of pitch, in two opposite directions, towards the ends. The reference to sound in the title can also be connected with the form of the elements that make up the sculpture, which recall strange auricles and suggest the idea of a mysterious listening device.[/read]

Metameria. Iron , 24 elements, variable dimensions, 2006 [S00006]
Photos by Giovanni Ricci