La Cirenaica - notes for Gino Forti, 4-5-1997, Nicola Arnoldo Manfredi

That restaurant name, La Cirenaica, evoked in me as a child images of a distant and exotic world. It actually stood, as a simple and square building, at the corner between the bridge and the stream, in area already of low and humid lands, anticipation of the rivers of the Po, famous for its specialty of fried frogs. Rarely passing along that country road I imagined beyond the embankment, just outside the courtyard of the restaurant, adventures, swamps, fishes and I heard insistent croaking frogs, frogs, frogs. But I have never eaten. I have on the other hand, a splendid yellow and green frog leaping into the black, painted by Gino Forti, recently hung on the bedroom wall, a rare case of a happiness that has come to rest precisely on the memories and desires that had aroused it. As well as the great owl that looks at the lemon moon in the dark night, suspended above the frog and that emanates the same mysterious charm of the stuffed strigid on my desk as a boy, over time devoured by moths. Happiness of painting that sublimates the real into fantastic representations. Dancing elephants, turtles, girls with ice cream, fishermen, fish caught, cats, ladies with dogs, Pinocchios of all colors, boys with balls, dancers, are moments of everyday life and fragments of visions that we are often no longer able to focus on and that only Forti's childish soul is capable of transforming into vital events. One is pleasantly amazed by the creative happiness of an illustrator, engraver and painter that animates this artist. The sure sense of design and the sweetly fauve chromatism give his works a particular impetus and give pleasure to the eye. Not a little value today. The subjects, usual yet unthinkable compared to traditional canons, reconcile us with the ancient order of natural things. Forti's art, so rich in passion, not very artificial but wise in method and genius, is a viaticum for the progress of our spirit.