People are like that. It’s a well-known fact that no one can deny: you don’t go to art exhibitions to see the paintings, or even for the artist or - speaking as a curator myself- least of all for the curator.

  • Uh uh eh, beat it will you?! (Those who know it and don’t do it).
  • Don’t be silly. (Those who do it).
  • I don’t believe that. (The purist).
  • Ok, yes but afterward, you at least look at the works. (Those who never attend art events).
  • Yes, and it’s really sad. (This person is always on a diet).

In short, if you don’t believe it, put it to the test. Go and see an exhibition, swerve past the waiter receiving a tongue-lashing from the catering company’s maître: “But don’t let anyone hear the clink of the glasses you’re preparing behind the curtain, otherwise nobody will listen to the curator!”, and set about observing the audience.

All the bigwigs and those who always secure a seat in the front row will be right at the front. But look carefully! In their midst, trying not to be spotted, you’ll also make out the ‘seasoned’ aperitif freeloaders: faces apparently mesmerised by the speeches, but not casting a single glance at the works. Lifting their gaze, slightly snobbishly, imitating the habitués, as if to say: “Ah yes, nothing new”.

But here, during the exhibitions of the photographic paintings (Fotoquadri) by Giovanni Marinelli something different happens, which could almost be defined as a cheerful turning of the tables. I will not describe the author of the works, but what I will describe is the author of the bystanders’ incredible ‘immersion’ in the works. And I’ll admit that I also got lost in them.

If, in a work of art, for it to be such, we expect to receive important feedback from mirror-neurons with an approach that almost sympathises with the same, to the extent that it strikes a handful of chakras in a single blow, here we won’t be disappointed. This 2021 series, which groups together about four brand new groups is, in a way, the finished work, the opera omnia of Marinelli.

Having started with the colour of analogue photography, in an ultra-experimental phase, so beginning to give a shape to his vision – and therefore developing his own style - Giovanni Marinelli passes to a kind of purism which leaves space to the imagination: for decades he turns to that of black and white photography, using small personal knacks, like the use of infrared in daytime, in order to evoke the romantic story of reality, which is always irregular. The arrival of the digital technique ‘breaks’ the delicately rough dream of Marinelli’s research image; the ‘perfect’ sequence reduces all dreams to something metaphysical.


But here, there’s no stopping. The artist is close to the divine, it is said, the divine hand. Some people like their Ego hot and are comfortable right there where they are; instead, many others, such as Marinelli, like the phoenix, like god, like grass, if you like, innovate, renew, and then innovate the Creation yet again, always starting from zero. And, let me remind you, reaching Zero is already a work of art in itself since succeeding in truly doing so is no mean feat. Ask Leonardo da Vinci if you don’t believe me, ask him about the matter of the blank sheet.

Afterward, observe the works of Giovanni Marinelli, presented, not by chance, in the ideal city, one midsummer night in 2021. Giovanni, for one, is not afraid of the blank sheet.