Exposed in Lu.C.C.A. before and then in Palazzo Pretorio in Certaldo, the solo exhibit LA MASCHERA DELL’EROE of the Master Bramandi celebrates human being resilience, who can resist in spite of difficulties and who is always reborn. A journey structured in paintings, sculptures and video art.

An exposition in 2 phases, started in Lucca at the prestigious Underground and Lounge of the Contemporary Art Centre Lu.C.C.A. and ended in Certaldo in the evocative Palazzo Pretorio.

With this artistic experience, Massimo Bramandi wanted to highlight human being, historical hero, a hero who decides not to give up in front of life difficulties, like economical crisis, loss of job and of own safeness family’s. An hero who want, despite all, to carry on being his own fate maker and to directly influence events of his life.

36 paintings, 6 sculptures, 1 installation and a video-art in which what prevail are bright chromatic games to highlight a faceless heroic figure, but with powerful traits. A faceless man not because of losing his identity, but because he preserves his own inner identity wearing a defending mask from the society attacks, a society which tend to martyr its own heroes.

REVIEWS, CRITIQUES, TESTIMONIES

In his compositions, Bramandi tends to humanize his heroes, to make them every day, by projecting them into a particular state of quietude.
Their powerful arms and the swaggering muscularity of their legs shows that they are accustomed to impetuous physical stresses but their posture manifests a state of momentary stillness. It is as if the artist, after a long, long battle, had his figures rest and meditate in the midst of the problems of our present day: incommunicability, the difficulty of human relationships, materialism, the absence of ideals, […].
Bramandi’s heroes are drawn up into an almost foetal position as though wanting to gather new energy before taking up the challenge again.

Maurizio Vanni

Museologue and Art Critic, Lu.C.C.A. - Lucca Center of Contemporary Art

Read full article by MAURIZIO VANNI

Painting is one of the communicative possibilities that is a prerogative of the artist: a means of expression which enables the person who, besides being sensitive, creative, and technically prepared, manages to have a clear-minded familiarity with his own imagination, to express something that goes well beyond what is revealed.

For painters like Massimo Bramandi, posing the question of the imagination could mean casting doubt on the forms because of the way they are manifested: for in his most recent works, Bramandi does not try to reduce the volumes to the world’s dimension, but sets out to transform the universe into a code appropriate for the reaches of the imagination. His work unfolds in time just like its slow, inexorable flow: undulating, rapid, rhythmic, and, sometimes, dazzling, suffocating, alienating, and explosive. His figures are closed up in themselves, remote from the main action of the painting, a function almost always fulfilled by the colour, which tends to accentuate its fantastic aspect. Out of this come compositions in which the figure stands out against a background that, even though two-dimensional, is altered by sudden flashes of colour, material, and light.

Only in certain cases does the background manifest potentially recognizable forms, which correspond more to a pretext of composition than to a real determination of objective values. Indeed, most of the time Bramandi makes the surface almost abstract by contaminating it with blotches of colour that, together with the dripping effect, seem to want to cancel out the main figure or to move it into another dimension. The kingdom of the imagination constitutes the ideal territory for the hero who, handed down to us through the recounting of myth, posits himself as an unexpected anchor of salvation from the pressure of an often unbearable daily reality. Heroes distinguish themselves from ordinary men above all because of their capacity for affecting events in a way that makes a the difference, changing their course.

An ability that is tied to their extraordinary physical and intellectual gifts and their privileged relationship with one or me deities. The myths of the heroes narrate the deeds of sensational figures; they, like the founding ancestors of peoples who teach us how to live, lived when time began, when human communities were not yet organized according to laws. If the ability to change the course of events distinguishes heroes from ordinary people, their nature as earthly beings differentiates them from the gods; for death awaits those among them who were born of the union of a divine parent with a human one. In his compositions, Bramandi tends to humanize his heroes, to make them every day, by projecting them into a particular state of quietude. Their powerful arms and the swaggering muscularity of their legs shows that they are accustomed to impetuous physical stresses but their posture manifests a state of momentary stillness.

It is as if the artist, after a long, long battle, had his figures rest and meditate in the midst of the problems of our present day: incommunicability, the difficulty of human relationships, materialism, the absence of ideals, the troubled relationship between parents and children, the passive attitude towards society. Bramandi’s heroes are drawn up into an almost foetal position as though wanting to gather new energy before taking up the challenge again.

His characters, immersed in their solitude, do not have specific physiognomies or definitely characterized faces: it is as though each figure wore a mask capable of making him uniform with everyone else, not in order to lose his identity but so as to defend the vulnerability of his inner being. It is an existential mask that does not alter the substance of the individual, but isolates him from everything and everybody and preserves him from the attacks of a society that tends to make martyrs of its heroes. Solitude contains both depression and reaction, both flight and rebellion: when man manages to oppose, also through a personal interpretation of remembered reality, to the disconcertment of daily life the energy of the past and the hope of the future, the works he makes are usually interesting and propulsive.

This is how, in this case, solitude can transform itself into a disruptive force, a cerebral vigour conquered in the recognition of one’s own individuality. The heroes of the modern age give their lives for their ideals or for a noble cause. But in an ever more global and frenetic cultural context, it seems that the only character conceivable is the solitary hero whom society tends to marginalize because he does not fit in its conventions, for whom the only endeavour possible is to acknowledge that the world, if it contains down this same path, is destined for failure. The only action that remains to him to do, at this point, is to focus on himself in order to find in the gilded prison of isolation the force to overturn, by his own strength, the fate of the world. Bramandi’s characters seem to be eternally waiting for something or someone, with their feet solidly planted on the ground, waiting for things to clear up in the course of events

Figures characterized by a sort of ambiguity, spaces that transform themselves from menacing, infernal backgrounds into stage sets according to the meaning we intend to give to the work; the result is a compositional structure that tends to pull together, like a giant magnet, the generous material and chromatic fragments spread across the surface of the painting, keeping then united by a particular use of light. In some works, Bramandi presents only the lower part of his hero: the feet, in this case, correspond to the earth with which they establish a contact of corporeal manifestation. Man’s foot, furthermore, leaves its print on the paths, good or bad, that he chooses as a function of his free will. Once he has identified the path to follow, the hero sets out, aware that he cannot turn back. Form of the determination and courage of a modern-day hero who has decided to wear the mask of himself.

Maurizio Vanni
Museologue and Art Critic, Lu.C.C.A. – Lucca Center of Contemporary Art

First part: Lucca Center of Contemporary Art – Lucca

Second part: Palazzo Pretorio – Certaldo

Artist Massimo Bramandi and Maurizio Vanni, museologue and art critic, into Lu.C.C.A. – Lucca Center of Contemporary Art.

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La Maschera dell’Eroe, a personal exhibition of Massimo Bramandi