By Giorgia Ferro
There is a new exhibition in town worth visiting: “Botero” dedicated to the Colombian artist FERNANDO BOTERO, running from the 12th of October 2019 to the 26th of January 2020 at Palazzo Pallavicini, in Via San Felice 24, very close to the city centre. Curated by Francesca Bogliolo in collaboration with the artist himself, it is promoted by Pallavicini Srl, and sponsored by the Municipality of Bologna and the Colombian Embassy in Italy.
The exhibition consists of 50 unique works, including a series of drawings made with mixed media techniques and a fine set of watercolors on canvas. The show is divided into seven sections, respecting the themes dear to the artist and focusing on his personal outlook on the world and the transformation of matter and volumes enveloping colors and original iconographies. A visionary hymn to the existence that underlines the outlines of the body and suspended like characters in dreamlike dimensions.
Among the works on display we are able to view characters related to the practice of bullfighting, to the circus, silent and metaphorical still lifes, delicate nudes, religious personalities, individuals caught in their everyday life: a visual review that takes into account Botero’s intense pictorial research, aimed at the affirmation of a clear and recognizable style.
Hidden by burly volumes, Botero’s characters or objects wait in a trance like state for a voluntary movement or event to take place. In perfect balance between irony and nostalgia, fairytale atmospheres blur with reality, where Italian classicism and South American culture merge involving and fascinating the beholder.
Botero’s work shows he has developed a stylistic cipher capable of harmonizing the fullness of forms with space, so as to render color through perspective, without recourse to the use of shadows. He then retraces the teachings of Longhi, whom he listened to several times, who theorized the perspective synthesis of color and form, referencing Piero della Francesca, Paolo Uccello and Giovanni Bellini whose influences we see in his work.
“An artist is attracted to certain kinds of form without knowing why. You adopt a position intuitively; only later do you attempt to rationalize or even justify it.”
Though the artist is known for his signature style, also known as “Boterismo”, depicting people and figures in large, exaggerated volumes, Botero is an abstract artist in the most fundamental sense, choosing colors, shapes, and proportions based on intuitive aesthetic thinking. His work brings us to reflect on why visual art is so subjective in the emotions it stirs in its viewer, whilst the personalities depicted never meet our eye thus maintaining a surreal state.