Notes for the landscapes of time byFranco Guerzoni: from the pictorial work to the original printed multiple - 2021, Nicola Arnoldo Manfredi

I state that I do not want to pose as an art critic at all or make judgments on Franco Guerzoni's artistic work, but certainly if I hadn't immediately perceived the fascination of his works and a commonality of sensitivity that leads from a peeling "wall" to multiple suggestions and reflections, the operational path and the solutions adopted to translate unique works onto printed sheets would not have been so immediate and spontaneous from the beginning in the hazard of choices.

How to reproduce Guerzoni's flayed walls in original printed multiples that preserve their colors, semantic values and poetry?

Guerzoni's paintings have multiple surfaces on multiple levels and have a chromatic tone that is not dull, not warm but makes use of materials provided with their own specific light.

After numerous visits to the studio, bringing tests gradually carried out (visits that have always left me a pleasant feeling of friendliness), after having observed several times works and technical tools, it was the words of the artist, intent on retouching with a brush with an amaranth red, to give the interpretative key and the certainty that, after the attempts, we had perhaps reached the desired goal of reproducing, for the book Manto by Osvaldo Coluccino, five color plates: its torn walls live on "overlapping colors, covered and then brought back to the light give the colors themselves a mutability, compared to the original hue, which simulates the passage of time. The ultramarine softens, the white becomes dusty ... ".

For the first panel, the sinopia of all the others, we resorted to a pencil lithograph transferred to the stone through the artist's drawing on transfer paper, which was superimposed on a dry impression from magnesium cliché, reproducing the texture of a second drawing.

The next problem to be solved was which material to use to adequately reproduce the fragments necessary for the progress of the "unveiling" of the following tables. Declining lessons from Atelier 17 practices and Goetz's collographic method as needed, a specially treated wooden cardboard allowed Guerzoni to create the required matrices and model the carborundum acrylic paste on them.

Later, which inks. Oil-based, they would have rendered a gloss extraneous to the artist's work, so we opted for water-based inks, both chalcographic and monotype - the two best brands on the market today - mixed with stiffner, desiccant and in some cases even with the powder pigments used by Guerzoni for the paintings. The transparency and tactile effect obtained is consequent to non-linear printing passages at the chalcographic press, such that areas already imprinted and rich in color are discharged on the subsequent matrices: here, therefore, perhaps even a little by chance, that effect of tearing, of surfacing, of unveiling of underlying chromatisms that are such an important part of the artist's poetics.

Finally, the inking with a brush has added an element of minimal variability to the repetition of shapes and colors that makes each print almost unique, as if it were monotypes but repeated forty times.

The emotion that the landscapes created by time on the walls that Guerzoni so poetically translates into painting arouse, I hope is the same that reverberates from these printed pages.