" It is difficult that before the
work of an artist an eye
trained by profession, is able
to overcome the temptation
to resort to his skills to coldly
recognise the models, evolu-
t[ons, phases, influences, that
is all those elements which
make it possible to immediately determine its critical
position. To grasp the essence
of Possenti's art as a whole
from the various manifestations he has offered us, means
listening to a tale which still
enchants us, a tale whispered
in a lowered voice between
one silence and another; a tale
whose history we wilt nor recall, and we will not he able
to know that the history exists, but we listen... we listen
to the flow of the never before heard melodies that compose it.
Possenti is an extraordinary man and painter: very
gentle, full of ideas, and an
incomparable inventor for
himself and others. Possenti is
the delicate poet of surrealism
which has been ignored until
now. He lives in an incorrupt
and unattainable world, in a
daily and affectionate metaphysical dimension.
One of the jobs of art (in particular surrealist art) is not to
represent that which is outside, hut the part of reality
which is buried in us. Possenti has revealed this.
In art there is room for a
ghost, a desire, an instant of
happiness or terror, a joy, a
torment. Long before surrealism Goya and Füssli
provided the monsters and nightmares that came from this.
Others the desires and joys.
In Possenti, instead, I see a festive Goya, if not a happy one,
with the same impalpable and
liquid touch, but without the
drama and anguish, without
the reasons of a history that is
so urgent, and having a calmer inclination to faity-tale, as
a safe territory, an escape, but
also without too many illusions.
Not the dream, in Possenti, but the invention of the
dream: that which makes it
separate and naturally new
even in comparison to the
masters he has looked at the
An ideal son of Gauguin (but
also of Matisse, Klee, Ensor,
Ernst, the great Arab miniatures),
Possenti is a very cultured painter of "Elsewhere".
Not objective reality, not the
purely linguistic research of
the Avant-garde, but imagination is the explorative field of
his paintings, in a tradition
which, in Italy, dates hack to
Savinio, Usellini, Clerici, and
more recently to Pompa, Armodio and Foppiani. But I do
not know how useful the
identification of a common
tradition is for giving us a
clear picture of Possenti's very
unique painting. One could
say, for example, that Possenti's surrealism has a profound
narrative character, not found
in other surrealists.
Unlike Armodio, the antithesis of narration, who creates
visions petrified over the time
and space of eternity, and desires the universality of the
metaphysics off De Chirico or
Morandi, Possenti instead
tells free, vivacious, very moving stories of the Elsewhere.
He does not care if these stories are descriptions of
unquestionable realities, as they
answer more intimate values,
the pleasure of imaginary creation, the gusto of fairy tales,
the game of reinventing a different world, the extreme
opposite of rationality, predictability, and seriousness of the
"true" world. Like Gauguin,
like Rimbaud, evoked in a
delightful painting able to
transfigure the dramatic power of an event near its end ( a
stay at the Marseilles hospital), Possenti searches for his
"Orient", his "other" place.
Had he lived in Rimbaud's
time, another epoch of explorations and heroic
adventurers, probably even Possenti
would have searched for an
earthly Orient. But today everything that could have been
explored already has been, today the mass media give us the
visual experience of the most
far off lands on a daily basis,
today Agadir is not so different from Rimini or Perpignan,
the only possible Orient
is imagination, unreality, Elsewhere.
There is no surrealism
without dream, and there is
no dream, from Freud on,
that does not mandatorily
lead to psychoanalysis. I wonder if things are actually like
this of if we have not found
ourselves faced with a cliché.
Is surrealism all dreams? It is
in Dali, Delvaux, Magritte, it
is not in Miro, Picasso, Ernst.
After all, there are those who
dream with their eyes closed
and those with them open.
Closed eyed dreaming is the
realm of the unconscious, not
controlled and calibrated by
reason, the imaginary creation
aimed at pleasure.
I think Possenti dreams with his eyes
open; I think his surrealism
painting primarily of imagination and Elsewhere, exists
also without historical Surrealism. Maybe by looking at
Bruegel, Bosch, Magnasco
Romanesque sculpture, Renaissance grotesquerie,
Bomarzo, Casa Zuccari arriving at
pre-Freudian art found in
fairy tales, imaginary myth, the
preferred place of the spirit.
Possenti tells, tells of Elsewhere, of an Orient which is
not there, but which could
have been, good-natured puppets with turbans, sinuous and
turgid forms, warm precious
colours and esotericisms that
one does not know to what
point they should be taken seriously. He tells of seas that can
enter a house, shrewd fishermen, and fake, exhilarating
lighthouses which trick navigators; he tells of magic skies
marked with falling stars,
woods and gardens which
house minor crimes and curious individual virtues in their
silence. He loves to tell stories.
Possenti, contrives his expansive images as maps,
illustrated paths which specific texts
teach us to interpret. Texts
which provoke the happy enchantment of nursery rhymes,
sometimes oracle-like, like the
notes street soothsayers had
trained birds distribute, sometimes sweet and assorted like
epigrams. Texts like "legends",
texts like small legends of a entertaining world where the
absurd is the order of the day. "