Velocity. The paintings of Francesco Zavattari

The paintings of Francesco Zavattari

Valerio Evangelisti
Translation by Albert-G. Storace

For the degree of abstractness and refined choice of colours one immediately thinks of Kandinskij. But Francesco Zavattari’s kind of painting is all his own; original because it is grounded in spiritual needs which belong to him in an exclusive way.

Before a painting by Zavattari, even the most indifferent of observers could not but say that it is beautiful. It is a beauty which does not spring from this or that element  -  lines, words, designs of a misleadingly infantile style, flowers, little faces, clocks (above all, clocks)  -  but rather from a compositional and chromatic coherence of the whole. The artists reads the external lit by his inner light and presents us with a complex plot, as complex as his psychic reality.

There is nothing naïve in Zavattari’s artistic output and above all nothing resembling the world of cartoons. On the contrary, what emerges is a depiction of various states of mind which range from sedateness to anguish, and to restlessness rendered with a knowledgeable dose of sources and colouring; with incumbent clocks which remind us that on the canvas there is a precise moment in his life, be it sweet or bitter.

And all is in motion. Here lies the major difference from other forms of abstractness. There is not a moment of peace; of being static. Rather, a blend of reality or changing fantasies, a crossing over and nervous movement of perceptions and sensations without a solid base on which the whole could stand in a definite way. We are far away from both Kandisnkij and from dilated time which is almost the immobile Salvador Dalí.

In Francesco Zavattari nothing is stable. He is the poet of the frenetic, of the restless quest, of slashing sensations, of uncertainty. His clocks should define a fleeting but beautiful moment, just like the one sought by Faust. Only that they are in turn unstable, for they do not succeed in capturing an exact instant, overwhelmed and distorted by the very time they indicate.

Zavattari portrays this sense of being lost faced by a pace much too fast to crystallise perceptions. Besides, it is a description of an experience which is not only his own.


Read the Russian version, translated by Olga Vakula
Read the Spanish version, translated by Diego Sìmini
Read the German version, translated by Ghislaine Roessler
Read the French version, translated by Laurette Gonzalès