Sandro Lombardi about Francesco Zavattari


Sandro Lombardi, Actor and Writer

The first name that comes to mind is Chagall.  No, I must correct myself:  no name comes to mind.
Archetypical stratified images of the unconscious come to mind:   from prehistoric graffiti found in caves all over the world, full of existential anxieties tied to the basic human needs of food and sex, both felt as necessary to safeguard the species even before being considered as needs for individual survival, to those images similarly imbued with the basic needs of the psyche  of some of the great painters of the last century, namely, Chagall.  With his unparalleled vision, Chagall transformed the appearance, the proportions, the order, the colours of things – and greatly influenced the best artists of the Transavantgarde from Cucchi to Clemente and the early Chia.  
In common with Chagall (and the early Kandinsky),  Zavattari uses a playful element freely that does not fear the monsters of the unconscious mind.  He neutralizes these monsters by portraying them with seemingly infantile shapes, yet, at the same time, fills them with a wisdom that stupefies, given Francesco’s young  age.
As Chagall painted human beings in the manner of dress of the Jews of Eastern Europe during his time,  so Francesco depicts man as he is today, in jeans and tennis shoes, not undermining the fact that it is man’s inner nature that is being investigated – often retreating within itself, heart-broken and injured – rather than merely his appearance which is momentary, temporary, soon to be out-of-fashion, such as the look of the youth of today.  
But, for me,  the most interesting of his works are those teeming with the chaos of existence.  At first glance, it is indistinct, but when studied more carefully, its particular order is revealed:  the order of poetry, the looking beyond the appearance of things.  Guitars, airplanes, interstellar rockets, cohabitate with strangely anthropomorphic flowers, lightning, demons,  and upside-down children.  And simple houses, consisting of a white wall, red door, and huge chimney,  are dominated and almost protected by an enormous, pulsating, red heart. The choices of colour seem intentionally inspired by children’s drawings and a childlike dimension.  Zavattari is still in awe and wonder of the world and its objects, animals, and all living creatures.  Even the Crucifix, which may appear irreverent, is, perhaps, the image which touched me the most, because it is not solely painting, but also word, verb, prayer, hope.