sabato 4 giugno 2011
Francesco Visalli was born in 1960, the son of a postal worker and a teacher. He grew up in one of the poorest and most notorious areas of Rome, the “Borghetto Prenestino”, made infamous by Pier Paolo Pasolini”s “Ragazzi di Vita”.
His father died when he was 14 years old, an event which deeply affected his life.
Francesco, an only child, was forced to look for a job to support his mother and pay for his studies. One of the teachers at the technical school he attended found him a place in his firm, which enabled him to enrol in a faculty of architecture and go to live by himself at the age of 19. Francesco was determined, but he was also very young, and work, study and a house demanded commitment and sacrifices. His degree, which would provide him with a better life, was still in the distant future and he felt angry. He was troubled, very alone and afraid; but preferring not to dwell on his own feelings, he sought distraction in sex, drugs and bad company, and become a political extremist.
Then, when he was 21, he fell in love with a woman and followed her to Los Angeles: this was just the first of many transformations that would occur in his life. The woman he loved was rich and he lived surrounded by comfort. He continued to work, completing his studies, until he began to feel suffocated by the woman and her wealth. So he left everything and returned to Rome, where he could start afresh. Free and finally qualified, he set up a studio in his house, dedicating himself totally to his work.
At 25 years of age, he finally met the woman that was to be his great love. They married and he began a spiritual journey with her that changed him profoundly, helping him to find the deep meaning of his life in the Catholic faith.
The courage, faith and great strength of his marriage helped him to open up his professional life to success; he started his first design company, which produced important work in Italy and abroad, and then, still by himself, created two more companies. These were years of great victories, of economic fortune, of esteem and praise from many people, that were always accompanied by his deep faith and love for his wife. They were also years of miracles that he would never have dreamed of, such as the three children he had with his wife, even though medical opinion had declared him completely sterile.
Then, at 43 years of age, everything ended; Francesco fell into bitter delusion, lost his faith, saw everything fall apart and left his wife: these were his years of exile. He continued to work, but knew that he was not free, experiencing disappointment, failure, frustration, sickness and solitude. He finally threw in the towel and closed everything down, spending his time doing nothing: he was now 50 years old and had lived more than enough; what was the point of continuing, if everything was finished? This was his darkest hour.
On the night of 11 October, 2009, however, everything changed once more.
Francesco picked up a pen and began to draw things he had never seen before. He spent the entire night drawing, continuing the next day, the following night and so on, for days on end.
Francesco”s hand, as if guided by something divine, was rapidly moving around the white sheet of paper of its own joyful accord, producing fantastic drawings. Colours burst out and unusual shapes came to life from his hands. After a few weeks, the drawings became paintings. Although he had no knowledge of painting technique, he acquired it by working, finding within himself a style that already had its own very precise expressions and definition, which was his style. Each painting is a new discovery, and he deliberately keeps no records, does not study, has no desire to learn from others and does not look at the great masters, in order not to be conditioned by those that have preceded him. Visalli works like an erupting volcano, continuously drawing and painting whatever his instincts tell him. He passes through the classic creative phases, first producing the drawing and then choosing and applying the colours, without letting himself be encumbered by thought and without any mediation, almost as if in a trance. The relationship between the shapes and colour combinations in his paintings is the product of a harmony that is never deliberately sought, but discovered by chance each time. It is as if he unwraps each canvas to discover the colours that are already there, simply waiting to be revealed by him. He is amazed by the finished pictures that suddenly appear in front of him, like newly discovered portions of an unknown land, which is this strange new reality that he is living. Visalli did not consider and decide on painting as an alternative to his former profession; painting erupted into his life and chose him.
His shapes and geometry are defined by a subtle white line that runs between the colours, which never touch each other. The line is left by the canvas, because it is the canvas that designs the painting; his falsely seraphic figures form a subtle aperture between the eye of the observer and the soul of their creator, who, as if hiding from himself, “wants” to calm the vortex of his dramas and victories behind those distant and rather absent forms; or else hurl himself courageously towards new and infinite horizons, where beyond one heaven lies another, in scenes of a cosmic reality. He obtains incongruous results, rather like quietly shouting at the top of one”s voice, a freezing heat or a whirling stillness. His paintings bring to light his past and future life, without his involvement, like a flurry of pangs and torments viewed through the wrong end of a pair of binoculars, always moving a bit further beyond the heart, in an “Alternative Reality”.