April, 2 was the day of opening the exhibition “Al Fresco” at Ganzo Restaurant. The curator of the exhibition was Tatyana Valova. Assisting curators were Ivana Malvoni and Lisa Torquato. Artists of the exhibitions were students of Fresco Painting Class by professor Paride Moretti: Rashed Al-Alban, Kennedy Bailey, Mirko Erspamer, Michael Iannelli, Mary Kelly, Casey McCoy, McKenna Murray, Madlyn Thone, Madeline Warner.
Exhibitions included 11 works made with the use of such techniques as fresco and sgraffito. It was a pretty controversial point of the exhibit as fresco usually associates like an old way of producing art pieces, actively used since antique times and reached its highest level of popularity in 14th – 17th centuries. A fresco is made using pigments mixed with water painted onto a wall when the plaster is still wet. A fresco painted on dry plaster, called fresco secco, is less durable than a true fresco, or buon fresco. Meanwhile, graffiti is a plural form of the Italian word graffito that means “a little scratch”. Sometimes it is also called sgraffito – writing or drawings scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface in a public place. So, these opposite on the first sight notions have been combined together to represent the ways of creating image on surfaces, in this particular case – on the walls.
The ambiguity of the exhibition is also seen in its title. It goes without saying that it springs from the technique the art on display is produced, the fresco. The Italian language allows us to play with this word. In Italian affresco is a fresco by itself, while the Italian expression al fresco means “in jail”. It is natural therefore to question the use of these terms and expressions. At first sight, it may seem that there is not a real connection between them; however, fresco is a kind of painting made on the wall where the wall becomes an irreplaceable material element of the artwork. At the same time walls are parts of any prison. Artists express themselves by painting on a wall. And what do prisoners do when they have to spend many hours, years, or even decades, staying in one room where there is nothing except for the walls? They express their anger, fury, expectations, hopes and fears on the only thing they have, a wall. It was interesting to see how the students interpret the merging of these separate yet close conceptual areas and how their individual ideas of the subject was portrayed.
Photo-report by Lama Kaddura.