The Bridge Art Exchange Building in Santa Monica opened a little over a month ago on December 12th in collaboration with the Bice Bugatti Club Italy, the solo exhibit of Franco Marrocco, professor and director of the prestigious Academy of Fine Arts of Brera in Milan. The earliest paintings by Marrocco actually belong to the late ‘70s and since then, the author has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions not only in Italy but also worldwide. For Marrocco, this is a pleasant return to Los Angeles after the success of the previous exhibition, “Work on Paper”, held in 2014 at the IIC and the BBAX that now is also dedicating a solo exhibit to make the public aware of his past and of his own existential experiences. The exhibition entitled “The RedStudio”, which recalls the famous work of Henry Matisse in 1911, the atelier Rouge now at MoMA in New York, expresses the intent to exhibit works on large canvases with the purpose of representing to the visitors the most accurate image of the artist’s creative process.
Director Marrocco, what are your feelings and what significance do your works have here in Los Angeles after the success of 2014?
Whenever an artist exhibits his works, it is put to the test not only by the public but also by the work itself, as a difficult examination and also one that is necessary for all those who want to do research in art. In any case, I feel that an author needs to do other shows, as a sort of continuity in order to deepen those aspects mentioned above. The 2014 show, “Work on Paper”, where there were only works on paper, did not express all my art. I believe that the opportunity to also see other works with different materials can be useful for the observer to understand my work in its entirety. Then there are the emotional and the sentimental aspects that accompany the author whenever he exhibits his work, which always produce a surprise to the work itself. It is the opportunity of split from the creator to the observer of the work itself, examining it with a fresh and analytical look, finding new ideas for the future pictorial research.
Dr. Caichiolo, how was the idea of the exhibition, the Red Studio and Other Works, conceived and on what aspect in particular should the viewer focus?
The exhibition was created from the idea of giving a retrospective that encompasses various phases of the artistic journey of the author and it was called “The Red Studio”, precisely because it is the fruit of his personal research, an intimate path that generally every artist tends to keep as such. Its intention is to be the representation of time that Marrocco spent in his study over the years in search of his own artistic identity. During this course of growth, Marrocco experiments with different techniques, as well as with the application of color, thus expressing the emotions that he went through at different moments of his life from childhood to adulthood. Marrocco has an incredible technique which is extremely precise and his meticulousness gives the viewer a sense of order and discipline. The viewer can see on canvas the journey of a man and of his art, his emotions and his entire life through his paintings.
The title of the exhibit recalls the famous work by Henri Matisse The Red Studio. Which traits of Marrocco’s painting can be considered evocative of the works of the French artist?
This image belongs mainly to the co-creator of the exhibition, Giovanni Iovane, who took into consideration the works of Marrocco including those on paper, recognizing similarities with Matisse so much as to name the exhibit The Red Studio exhibition. I personally think that the works of Marrocco are genuinely related to personal themes, for example many of the paintings recall playing time in his mother’s home, and are, therefore, pure emotions expressed through color that allow the artist to be seen as a real person recognizing his entire past through his artistic growth just as an exhibition should do.
How were the works of Marrocco received by the Italo-American community?
It was very interesting because unlike others, the Italian community, for which in the last five years we have held about two exhibitions a year, has shown great interest and appreciation so mush as to make them complete sell outs; the Italian community is one that also supports young and less known artists arriving in Los Angeles.
Do you still consider art a bridge between the US and Italy?
I think it still is and that altogether, between Italy and the United States, remains a reciprocal exchange between history and tradition on one hand, and innovation on the other. The Italian artistic language is different from that of the US, and even though art is a universal language this difference still exists since it is representative of different cultures. Sometimes Italian art in its connection with history poses a limit to the experimentation of new languages. Nevertheless, I believe that this bond to the Italian artistic tradition and to its techniques of generations is also positive because it helps us to keep solid the identity of a country so rich in history.