Ennio Finzi Biography – Jacob Samuel

Ennio Finzi was born in Venice in 1931 and as a young man became interested in painting and music. After attending courses for a brief period at the Institute of Art in Venice, he became attracted to the discovery of cubist structural disarrangement, which allowed him to transcend the representation of given reality.

 

After the 1948 Biennale, the Historic Archives of the Contemporary Arts in Venice reopened, offering Finzi the chance to dedicate himself to the study of masters of avant-garde movements in history. Meeting Atanasio Soldati, who spent a period of time in Venice, stimulated Finzi and probably influenced subsequent works characte­rised by bright chromatics and rigo­rous formal symmetry.

 

In this way Finzi’s first “inventions” were born ­rhythm, colour, light and tone became fundamental elements and formed the basis of his research. In that period Virgilio Guidi and the ideological strength of his creative thought, and Emilio Vedova, with his strong brush­strokes that attacked the surface, also exerted a strong influence on Finzi. The discovery of dodecaphonic music led Finzi to seize the principle of “dis­sonance”. Then suddenly, in the same way, the praxis of colour dissolved of any shading and having the exclusive function of tone opened new and wide horizons.

 

From that moment until the late 1950s his work became an obsessi­ve search for the semantics of brush­stroke, light and tone. The colour­sound relationship, a colour that Finzi loved to “listen to” more than “to see” in its most intimate resonance, allowed him to express himself freely under different and altogether aleatory rules.

At the end of the 1950s (years marked by the remarkable insight of Lucio Fontana, whom Finzi met in Milan on the occasion of the artist’s exhibi­tion at the Apollinaire Gallery) the gestured turbulence and expressive urgency of Finzi’s work became calm and expressed a more reflective dimen­sion.

 

It was the path of superseding painting itself and moving closer to gestalt theories on the phenomenology of perception. Up until 1978 the prin­ciples of optical art informed his research on optical effects, due to the phenomenon of the retinal conserva­tion of images. After a short crisis fol­lowing an exhaustion of interest in the principles of structural visuality, Finzi with renewed energy and enthusiasm in 1980 yielded to the rediscovery of the immediacy of painting.

Once again he began exploring fascinating themes relating to colour, and went beyond the dissonance of the 1950s. Painting again became the dominant space with colour and non-colour, light and shade successively alternating and competing on the surface of the work. Black was used as the light of the dark, of emptiness, of silence, and led him to probe the most secret reso­nance of non-existence in the invisibi­lity of painting itself In the conti­nuing dialectics that counter-distin­guishes the principle of his research, Finzi proceeds in successive stages of development characterised by greater chromatic sumptuousness and sudden elimination of luminosity in which energy is concentrated in a potential state.

 

This incessant questioning of working style makes him foreign to any preconceived stylistic form and gives him the professional label of “non-style”: Through the experience of experience, Finzi continually follows the dream of surprise in painting with a stress on constant regeneration and catharsis.

In more recent years he retakes connotations that are rooted in painting and colour, but these connotations are no longer inhibited by ideologically closed regimes; the artist retakes with an abandon that is completely open and available to the totality of feeling which is painting.

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