Paintings and sculptures that deceive even the most attentive of observers, so faithful are they to the model in flesh and blood. This is the characteristic of the defined artistic current hyperrealism, born in the United States around 1970 and of which Carole Feuerman is among the greatest exponents.
Indeed, if you do not already know his work, viewing from a distance of Bibi on the beach ball, on the terrace of the GAM, could make you think of a photo shoot as you see so many around the city. Of course, once you get closer the artifice reveals itself, but the precision in the rendering of every single detail of the body, from the color of the skin, to the veins that emerge on the back of the hands, to the eyelashes, is truly impressive.
I first saw the works of this American artist in Florentine art gallery Aria, in 2013. The exhibition was entitled Hyperbodies and I remember very well the initial amazement, followed by an unexpected sense of serenity that came to me from a more careful observation of these sculptures. I went back to see them again in the same gallery in 2015 and when I know that there is an exhibition dedicated to her, I try not to miss it.
This to the GAM of Rome, which exhibits four sculptures and two large-format photographs, is part of the exhibition project From La Biennale di Venezia & Open to Rome. International Perspectives.
The recurring figures of Carole Feuerman they are swimmers, bathers, adults or teenagers, caught in relaxed poses, sometimes in a state of serene semi-sleep, or absorbed and aware of the posture of their athletic body. The love for swimming and above all for water, seen as a harmonious element par excellence, is certainly the leitmotif that unites all his works, even the photographs.
In the courtyard of the eighteenth-century former convent that houses the museum, there is also a bronze quote, but always with a swim cap, of the Thinker di Auguste Rodin, who converses silently with Yaima and the ball e Monumental Brooke with beach ball.
The artistic mastery is surprising: the sculptress starts from a silicone mold of the model, starting from this she realizes one in plaster and from this she then develops the resin sculpture. And here begins the painstaking work of drafting dozens of layers of oil paint, up to the extraordinarily realistic result of the finished work, which is completed with the addition of hair and eyelashes.
There is no place for ugliness or for the physical decay of old age, the woman modeled by the American artist is statuary, expresses physical well-being and inner peace. It is certainly not a universal representation of femininity, but the gaze of the creator always implies, consciously or not, a choice and a vision of the world; it can reflect a personal condition or an aspiration to an ideal. In this case it seems to me that the creative idea wants to immortalize the moment in which the person is in harmony with himself and with the environment that surrounds him, after having regenerated himself in the embrace with water; I think this is the aspect that in my case arouses a sense of pacification, a relaxed and simple contemplation, which does not go in search of more complex and articulated meanings.
After all, venturing a more than daring comparison, the bodies sculpted by the great Renaissance artists were an ode to classical beauty, harmony of proportions and physical strength, an exaltation of the human figure in the fullness of its power and its will.
But art is Apollonian and Dionysian, luckily for us, one can unconditionally love Schiele's inner turmoil or Grosz's grotesque distortions and at the same time be enchanted by Boldini's aristocratic muses or Fragonard's frivolous girls!
However you think about the meaning and mission of art, I believe that the vision of these creatures, of these contemporary undines (some with even the droplets of water that shine on the skin, as if they had just emerged from the pool or the sea) , both a soothing show and a discovery of how art can deceive the eye.
The history of art is full of illustrious examples of this type, I remember only one, very famous: the Basket of fruit by Caravaggio, kept at Ambrosiana Picture Gallery. Isn't it instinctive to reach out and grab one of the grapes that protrude from the basket?
The grapes… after the exhibition I had the desire to open a wine that I brought here to Rome from Tuscany. A wine that has a basic affinity with what I have just seen: the fidelity to reality.
And in fact this is the intention behind and inside the bottle of Zenobito 2015 dell 'La Piana farm, in the heart of the island of Capraia; among other things, a place that is another example of fidelity, in this case to the truest concept of an island: authentic, even harsh, not comfortable at all costs and therefore not for everyone, not unconditionally bent on tourism, with a sea wonderful and steep paths scented with Mediterranean scrub. How can you not love Capraia?
The wine estate, the only one on the island, is part of a wider project for the protection of the territory undertaken in 2000 by the Bollani family, which recovered the agricultural memory of the places, restored the old terraced vineyards, the dry stone walls and saved the heritage of native species from the advance of the Mediterranean scrub, after the closure of the penal colony hosted on the island. Since 2015 the grapes, which were previously transported to the island of Elba, have been vinified in the former prison workshop, renovated for the purpose.
This blend of Ciliegiolo and Colorino is truly a beautiful wine, aged for one year in terracotta amphorae.
Faithfulness to reality as a common thread I said, here it is: it lies in being able to transmit the characteristics of the vine unaltered thanks to a material such as terracotta, which allows the wine to breathe but which does not give any flavor, unlike wood. And in the glass, in fact, the typical red fruits of Ciliegiolo are alive and fragrant, accompanied by the aromas of spontaneous herbs, the tannins are light, the fruity trail remains for a long time; a red that I would rejoice with joy on a summer evening, perhaps on a terrace overlooking the rocks of a calm island, perhaps while a skilled swimmer emerges from the water, taking off her cap and relaxing under the last rays of the sun, serene.