07.08.2015 – 30.08.2015
Triumph Gallery, Moscow
Alex Folla’s art has always been rooted in the most archaic of Italian traditions. It is erudite art, profoundly intellectual yet proudly technical, crafty, capable of nourishing and feeding itself voraciously, capable of making its own and transforming into pigments — in a lively and pulsating form of painting and drawing — the lines drawn by the master painters of the fourteenth and fifteenth century of Italy, and up and up until reaching, for certain aspects, the Mannerism and the seventeenth century. However, beyond that he cannot see except for brief moments, for rare, intense yet passionate instants, because from the seventeenth century on, for him, most of the art in Italy and Europe becomes fatally school, a repetition that is an end in itself, a futile exercise of style, soulless and heartless.
From the ancient masters of painting — not only those protagonist of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, but also those who were minor artists, forgotten and left behind by art history — Alex Folla voraciously and tirelessly learns the techniques, the way of mixing or dosing the colors, the composition, the ability to model through almost unperceivable shots of light and delicate paintbrush touches, at times a drapery, a facial expression, a game of compositions or the effect of depth. However, what truly interests and intrigues him is something else. It is something else that this artist — both authentic and passionate, very well-read and in love with the painting techniques of the ancient times, so very much an omnivore in his interests and tastes — looks up to and aspires to, including the most popular and contemporary art.
This way, Alex Folla, a bard of other times, different from all that is conventional, [a bard] of time that flows, like in crazy and lysergic dreams driven by Dionysiac or divine influence, sometimes backwards, other times in a vertical fashion, other times in a horizontal fashion, envelopes today and yesterday, what is near and what is far, what is known and what is exotic, in a single unitary and coherent project; this way, we were saying, Alex Folla celebrates the present, through the eyes and the memory of a very unknown, very mysterious, very bizarre and solitary hermit monk, who people say that (maybe) lived on the mountains of a now abandoned village in ruins in a small valley in northern Italy, a celebration of the Creation and its mysterious, inscrutable plan. The artist created his own cosmogony and his own complex, articulated project, to represent a time that, with the linearity of the tale, for many decade had lost the ability and hope to combine together in a single encompassing view the past, the present, the most ancient and fluid mythology, and the articulated and all-enveloping inconsistency of the modern day. Perhaps, Alex Folla’s path on the trail of our memory is a first, small, yet big, step in the right direction to try to join back together this irreconcilable, dramatic fracture.