Since 2014・Volume 5
Classical surroundings might be in his DNA, but Repetti also has very up-to-date views of contemporary art circa 2018. ''In the field of visual art we are witnessing a fragmentation unparalleled in any other historical period,'' he explained to Art Reveal when asked what art means in contemporary culture. ''We now find ourselves buried by images which multiply ad infinitum and seek to amaze—inventiveness, maybe even provocativeness, at any price. On the other hand, from the ‘user’s’ perspective, what we have is considerable confusion, generally linked to a superficial knowledge of the subject and a cultural preparation which, when it comes to interpreting the image, is very approximate and produces an easily satisfied and undemanding superficiality.'' Well said.
Repetti's ballpoint works have been featured on the internet for a few years but he has yet to actually exhibit them. That will change in July, but not in Italy. ''Genoa is currently going through a period of decay and regrettably shows a marked lack of interest in the promotion of art. A difficult place for artistic experimentation or trying to make a name for yourself as an artist. This is where banking was born; there is a decided predilection for short-term profit and art doesn’t yield tangible and immediate wealth, so many artists go exhibit elsewhere.'' Repetti's Biroscapes and Biroramas will instead make their first public outing in London, at the Coningsby Gallery. The artist promises ''at least nine'' new works for the show, all in A2 (60 x 42cm) and A3 formats (42 x 30cm), taking his work to greater dimensions. And greater depths ?・
Continuing from HEADLINES 1 ...Technique and depth; two words you'll hear when talking art with Repetti. ''I often refer to technique because I regard it as fundamental, the key to extending the representational possibilities.'' Repetti often speaks in classical terms when talking about art. It may be in his DNA, having been born, brought up and educated in one of the world's classic art regions: Italy. ''I am very aware of my country’s artistic tradition; ideas of art on the basis of compositional structure and a formal exploratory dimension. Renaissance and baroque are part of a heritage that emerges in every Italian designer or painter,'' the artist explained in a 2017 interview with Art Reveal magazine. ''For me it does not so much influence as determine the background noise in my work.'' Repetti attended an art high school, Liceo Artistico, then went on to graduate from the Academy of Fine Arts in Genoa, an art institution founded in 1751. He studied painting and etching, but graduated as Maestro di Pittura (Master of Painting). He likens aspects of his ballpoint technique to those of both etching and painting. ''The approach is still the same and both help me refine the way to hold the pen,'' Repetti says of using the brush like a pen and vice versa. ''I can pass from the sfumato of the objects in the background to the sharpness of those nearby to show distance between the forms, from the lighter shades to very deep blacks depending on how you press your wrist and how you tilt the pen.'' Repetti found the 'expressive possibilities', needless to say.
Repetti's 'depths' matured with his Biroscape series, an 'open' series of small
pieces already numbering over a hundred. All measure 14.8 x 10.4cm,
horizontally oriented. ''The series was born as a challenge, to show that even
working on a small scale you can still represent an immense, profound space,''
he says. ''Paradoxically, the smaller the drawing the greater the effect of depth.'' For artworks which are smaller than they seem in reproduction, the depths charted in works such as Point (2017, pictured) or The Mountain is Made of Stones could be promotional stills or storyboards illustrating the cinematic proportions of films by Kubrick or Spielberg. Diminutive size does not necessarily mean less drawing time. ''You might think I draw on a smaller scale because it takes less time, but actually that’s not true. Time varies considerably depending and what’s being represented and how,'' explains Repetti. ''Even for a small drawing it may be necessary to use a considerable amount of time if you want to obtain delicate nuances.'' Nevertheless, time measured in minutes and hours; not months or years. So far.
Repetti doesn't admit to any actual locations depicted in his Biroscapes—he sees them as ''the representation of a possible space. A precise space, albeit one which is imaginary''—but recognizable features do make their way into some, forming ''irreal'' landscapes. A number of them present well-defined horizon lines—land or sea, miles and miles into the distance—under cloud coverage evoking changing weather conditions. In those pieces, a cloud may sometimes just be a cloud, but other times it might not. Flour Sky, Sea Milk (2017, pictured) shows what might be a shoreline where the white of the page meets inky outcroppings, or are they just another streak of clouds blowing across a white sky? The hazy reflectiveness of Mounds (2016, pictured) might only be a mirage at the far end of a hot desert highway. Each viewer will no doubt attach their own interpretation to each piece, most of which leave plenty to the imagination, but expository titles such as The Sea doesn't Know When the Storm Will Come and Cloud Rest Stop direct viewer consciousness in some instances. ''The titles come to me while I am working or when the work is finished and give some kind of clue to help the viewer penetrate more deeply into the ‘secret’ of the drawing.'' Meanwhile, the only man-made structure in sight is the drawing, itself.
PENNAME by R. Bell posted May 31, 2018
Alberto Repetti Genoa, Italy
TITLE ・DATE ・MEDIUM ・SIZE
But Repetti's Biroscapes aren't just impressionistic cloud coverage and horizon lines. The surreal
Pangea, psychedelic A Tricky Riddle (both 2017, pictured) and the many others like them are
ballpointing at its freestyling best. From outward expanse Repetti now just as often turns inward, exploring organic, microscopic and unclassifiable 'depths'. ''All the forms are suggested by forms I encounter which stimulate my curiosity,'' the artist interjects. Repetti's earlier penwork was often left unpolished and therefore more indicative of the brief creation process, but an apparent tightening of technique brought ballpoint lines blended or buried with smoother results. More is left to viewer's imagination; less directing, or at least seeming so. With enough of a repertoire to jump freely between subject matter, Repetti is even mixing them up and along the way Biroscapes led to Biroramas. A slight size jump also took place, with pieces such as The First Door, an impressive if somewhat imposing play of depth, measuring 50 x 40cm (2017, pictured). Increases in size and precision added to drawing time, relatively.
Throughout the creative process, no matter how long it takes, you can bet there will be music playing in the background. ''When I'm at home there is rarely silence; I'm always listening to music, it helps me to concentrate and stimulates me to invent new solutions, a necessary intellectual nourishment,'' says Repetti. Stare long enough into a Biroscape and you might
hear the accompanying soundtrack to Repetti's ballpoint cinematography. Repetti can.
Artwork, from the top : La Sabbia Intorno (The Sand Within), 2018, January, ballpoint pen on paper ; Above : Slideshow : Repetti Biroscapes drawn between 2016—2018
showing clearly defined clouds & horizons. Below : Slideshow : four Biroscapes drawn between 2016-2018 showing free-style ballpointing at its finest. All artwork 14.8 x 10.5 cm (5.8 x 4.1'') ballpoint pen on paper.