Beyond the horizon
Curated by Ian Warrell
at Fondazione Querini Stampalia
«What at first may seem like an empty space, in reality it is strangely welcoming and invites the observer to inhabit it. Davide does not represent Venice as an extinguished or dead city. On the contrary, on his canvases we find the Venice of our imagination. An enchanted city, which we can still glimpse from time to time... An idealized, personal space that goes beyond the reality of the present and resonates within us, in the mind and in the heart». These are the words of Ian Warrell, curator of the Beyond the Horizon exhibition, from 13 December to 27 January next in the evocative setting of the Scarpa Area of the Querini Stampalia Foundation.
The exhibition presents fifteen works that Davide Battistin created for the occasion. Oils on canvas, large in size, which tell of an enchanted, dreamlike Venice, so dear to the Venetians. There is Beyond the Horizon, the painting that gives the exhibition its title, but also Stillness, Canal Grande, Redentore, evocative names that refer to the collective imagination of this city suspended between water and sky and to the great tradition of landscape painters, from Canaletto to Marieschi, from Bellotto to Guardi, to Turner.
«The idea of inhabiting a work can be used as a metaphor to express the relationship that Davide Battistin has with the paintings dedicated to him in Venice. Indeed, in the Venices, which are as many as there are opportunities to re-create it in painting and as many are the scenarios suitable for the realization of the artist's personal landscape painting. In reality it is as if there were two painters in him: the narrative one and the contemplative one. The first fits perfectly into the figurative tradition that makes the floating city a universal icon; the second instead is what Venice "becomes", which practices a kind of total immersion.. where it seems to get lost in a blue dimension. David lets himself be possessed by the atmosphere of his city, which is colour; let's also say that the visual language that expresses this dimension is nothing other than colour, the shapes no longer exist – it is transfiguration».
This is what Ivo Prandin writes in the essay in the catalog which continues: «We observe closely his action on the canvas and we discover that he has eliminated all traces of the brush ... as if he wanted to “forget” the touch that serves to weave the images; Battistin's ductus is overcome and color merges into a totality that belongs more to the dream than to the living world... in Davide Battistin we find rather that it is the painting that attracts him inside himself, into his own body, to seduce him» .
If painting is building with light, and art is translating matter into image, in Battistin's case we can speak of abandonment to the spell, to that process of fantastic chemistry which is the creation of figurations at the limits of matter , almost an evaporation or disincarnation, as happens precisely with its motif, with that Venice no longer explicitly said but suggested, dreamed perhaps, if the dream is a «place of passage for a discovery... it is the poetic account of a 'experience of the senses excited to the extreme, pure emotion'.