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Afro Libio Basaldella, Agosto in Friuli
Material and technique
mixed technique on canvas
120 x 142 cm
Fabrizio D'Amico
Heaped at the centre of the painting are forms by now unmindful of the sensible world, which appear to have arranged to meet there and weave a mysterious dialogue. They are bathed in mottled light scored mainly by yellows and oranges, but with pink, brown, white and blue notes echoing throughout. Chromatic blocks that are shot through and joined to one other by a faint interrogative, recurring sign.
Afro spent most of the previous year in America, in New York, where in 1950 he held a one-man show in Catherine Viviano’s new gallery and where he would exhibit to critical acclaim on several other occasions in the decade that followed. It was here that he got to know the work of Arshile Gorky, who more than any other artist seduced him with his selection of surreal art and blend of unnatural, fantastical and dreamlike colours. And this evocative power would emerge in the paintings that followed next, including in this work, which was exhibited in New York in 1953. These paintings justify Afro’s brief love affair with the abstract-concrete poetics of the Group of Eight, which he joined in 1952, and with that equilibrium he pursued between the emotion of the real and the abstract formulation of the image; but they also explain his swift departure from the group in 1954, immediately after glimpsing the first signs of crisis.
Agosto in Friuli
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