Fabio Magalhaes

SAO PAULO( 27 Aprile 29 Maggio 1994)

This exhibition of temperas by Alberto Sughi is the first one the artist shows in Latin America and presents his latest works, executed in 1990.
After settling in Rome during the fifties, Sughi is presently one of the most expressive painters of the aftermath in Italy that has remained steadfast to figuration and that has been able, within the current of realism, to escape from doctrinary limitations and to create in the long run a personal language of great intensity and thoughtful depth for treating the themes and characters he chooses. The paintings of Alberto Sughi do not hide his creative process, they actually reveal his drawing skill and the richness of his chromatic treatment. In the canvas exhibited the transparency of the coats of colors partly covering the surface, does not hide the superimposed layers and accomplishes a fluid quality in the characters and objects that are built up starting from a bold graphism and effects an intimate pictorial relation between the painting and the background. The color brings about an autumn feel to the light. An atmosphere, like smoke, enwraps the whole environment. This ensemble made up with the character and the background composes a scenery, a whole of great expressive force. The meaning of the scenery is not narrative like the outcome of adding up its elements, but its richness lies right in the impossibility of separating its elements, of separating the parts his painting is made of.
The distance and the aloofness created by the artist himself are two basic aspects of his way of looking at the world and are the manner in which he envisages the human space. They hint at an utmost lack of companionship, his figures are solitary and also in the scenes where several characters act, only loneliness unites them. Even in the scenes of lovemaking, in bed, a great void is still there, a distance in the way the couple relates. The painter also requires a distancing of the observer from his painting. In front of a painting by Sughi we experience a feeling of isolation arid we take heed that a distance is there that cannot be transposed even when we get close to the canvas.
Alberto Sughi's characters fill with their void all the spaces of the canvas, the sofa they are sitting on, the counter in the cafe, the landscape they look at through the window, the bed and the room where they are making love. Maybe we can find a sort of affinity to writers like Moravia and Leopardi, or to movie directors like Antonioni and Visconti, or again with some painters like Edward Hopper, Lucien Freud and, above all, Francis Bacon. Sughi does not explore the grotesque in the figures he paints and his realism does not mean to underline the decadence of the bodies, as we see in the lofty paintings by Lucien Freud; he develops his themes with refinement and elegance and reminds us of Degas and Boldini. A feeling of melancoly imbues his works. Few plastic artists have tackled so thoroughly this feeling of loneliness, sometimes of incommunicability, of gloom that overwhelms the soul with silence, with void, with boredoom.

Fabio Magalhaes,

museum head keeper, Sao Paolo 1994

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