Painting as Space

After FILM#, Roberto Coda Zabetta’s practice has moved from the series of canvases hanging on the wall to actual space. The spaces in which his actions have developed are far from minimal white cubes, inhabiting instead complex environments loaded with history and natural elements. His practice that is both macho and poetic tries to find an original way of occupying and transforming space by both neutralizing its presence and at the same time completely transforming its perception. 
To take the cinematic metaphor further Coda Zabetta has used monumental environmental paintings to create ‘sets’ in which visitors, art lovers as well as passers-by are turned into actors who have to interact or better act out themselves. Related to land-art more than to action painting, these works continue to develop the idea of transparency linked to Coda Zabetta’s practice, as well as the desire to talk to non art experts as well as to passionate curators, critics or artists.
In the last year his practice has undergone a radical shift occupying public space, or better has invented a participatory form of pictorial practice as a way of reclaiming spaces either forgotten or devoid of contemporary creativity.
This experimental endevour started at Cantiere 1- Terrazzo Terrace developed in Naples on the panoramic roof of the abandoned complex of SS. Trinità delle Monache, (converted in a Military Hospital in the 19th century) for MADRE Museum in the fall of 2017, where the artist copmpletely painted the gigantic flat surface of the building’s roof; has recently seen it’s second episode (May 2018) in France where Cantiere 2  Harbour/Porto was activated on the waterfront of Portivy, St. Pierre Quiberon in Bretagne. In this second experiment the natural landscape has called for a more subtle yet transformative intervention with natural pigments on the actual walls and rocks of the bay transforming the landscape in a canvas that will slowly but surely by erased by the sea tides as well as the coastal violent storms. 

Here for the opening of Cura’s new space in Milano KURA Coda Zabetta has created another phantasmagoria of light and color that will occupy the space of the courtyard transforming the viewers way of moving through it.  Coda Zabetta has given life to a new landscape/space in this post-industrial turned-artistic environment, again the power of air (through a specific technique born by using pigments that are mixed and removed by an air-compressor) seems to have pushed matter to create vectorial as well as concentric movements of colour and light. What I find fascinating is how the element of chance is balanced by an artistic premeditation of composition and form, where enamels, pigments and different types of natural and industrial paints merge in a space of pure energy. Similarly western and eastern traditions and techniques seem to merge in a space of pure abstraction that is both a tent, a roof and the sky of an oneiric space of creativity.


By Ilaria Bonacossa

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