Tiziano Martini
Die Tücken der Neuen Freiheit

Düsseldorf (D), Achenbach Hagemeier
October ― November 2017

Body Work
Daniele Capra

We’re accustomed to classifying paintings based on their topic, and, as a result, their visual components. We therefore view a work just as we would an image, as a two-dimensional piece that is assessed primarily by the kind of information it conveys. In our heads, this kind of work can be defined as “figurative” when it gives us an indication of representing the nature of reality; it is likewise seen as “aniconic” (i.e. non-figurative) when it is not directly based on the idea of mimesis or does not contain imagery from the world as seen with our own eyes. [1] In this classification, abstraction falls into the second category and is, as the history of avant-garde from the past century has shown, the consequence of becoming estranged from the world. This aspect is also emphasized by the etymology of the word “abstraction”. [2]

Tiziano’s work, on the other hand, stemming from aniconism, is brought to life by opposing desire, which was one of the most prolific tendencies of the twentieth century. His artistic practice aims to develop a sedimentation process that allows colours to permeate the canvas in all their realistic hues. What he does in his studio is actually a long, organic process due to the slow and repetitive procedure, but also industrial because of the technique and typology of the materials used.

Martini applies acrylic paint to the canvas against which surface and stencils are pressed. Afterward, when everything is fixed in place and dry, the artist rips the colour away with a vigorous motion, leaving larger and smaller swaths of the material behind. Not unlike some rocks, which were formed layer for layer over the geological eras by deposits of billions of mineral molecules, Martini amasses dozens of layers, until the canvas is visually filled, until the surface reaches a kind of balance and no longer needs attention. In his practice, the search for equilibrium is a central theme, in which the physical—gestural—psychological aspects (the individual need for the artist to personally emboss and tear away the chromatic prints) and the visual order interact, and in fact are encouraged to do so by the tendency of the artist’s medium to saturate with acrylic treatment and acrylic colours.

In this process, there is a window of time in which the moments of application change single-handedly, the artist waiting for a still stand that is imperative to the paint drying. His work is divided into so many intervals, which always end in the challenge of their being ripped off and for which it is necessary to be in control of the random nature of such a situation in order to transfer a possible complication to another form of expression. In this situation it is of great importance to have an immaculate ability to respond that can react to the results together with mature experience (according to Martini’s legacy, there is a maturity that apparently arises from athletic activity in the mountains when artists live in the Dolomites).

The composition of the paint on the canvas is the result of the combination of free elements combined with aspects of chance that derive from recycling work tools and the continuous layers in his study of the remains of previous ripped work, dust, pigments, and other residual materials. What remains of a prior piece is in fact a part of the next, which brings the effects of what happened earlier into the current work. This fluidity gives rise to the reproduction of a generative term in the form of a painting, which emerges from the cycle of nature and is furthermore based on the tendency of continued transformation of the elements of our reality, as laid down by Heraclitus’ philosophy. [3]It is just for this reason that Martinis works, from the point of view of the centrality of the exhibition, should be seen as visual aphorisms in which variables such as time, coincidence and colour are compared with condensation phenomena, intensification and shortage.

In his works, the world—through particles of colour collected from the ground and with the help of the continuous work of the artist, who possesses a human and cyclic sense of time—comes to life on the canvas with unimaginable power.

[1] See R. Arnheim, Visual Thinking. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969..
[2] Abstraction comes from Latin word “abstractus”, composed by the suffix “abs-” (“from distance”) and “trahere”, (“to pull”).
[3] See “Everything changes and nothing remains still” and “you cannot step twice into the same stream”, in Plato, Cratylus, paragraph 401 and 402, in David Sedley, Plato’s Cratylus, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.