THE FREEDOM OF THE LIMIT (by Lorenzo Fiorucci)
In the field of the arts it is customary to consider the artist, in perhaps still too romantic a way, as the one who has the highest expression of freedom in the functional exercise of creation. History, and in particular the history of the twentieth century, is full of examples in this sense; think of the unscrupulousness of Marcel Duchamp, who allows himself to “violate” the iconic sacredness of the Mona Lisa, or of Lucio Fontana who tears the canvas with extreme freedom of gesture, granting the observer the privilege of a new vision of cosmic spatiality.
And yet there was, and still is, a way of conceiving art that uses the limit as the tool of privileged creation. In Italy this story begins with its precursors in the post-war period thanks to the Movement of Concrete Art, and in particular the work of Bruno Munari, questioning the methodological aspects of the artistic process. It took however until the early 1960’s for the full awareness of programmed art to take place in a structured form, following the crisis of Informal art. Apart from Carlo Giulio Argan, who was the most supportive critic of this movement in Italy, Umberto Eco succeeded in summarizing the definition of this artistic moment, clarifying how this is “a unique dialectic between chance and program, between mathematics and risk, between planned conception and free acceptance of what will happen, but it will happen according to precise predisposed lines of formation that do not deny spontaneity, but pose barriers and possible directions“.
I believe this brief historical framework is necessary to understand the original path on which the research of Daniele de Lorenzo proceeds today. His commitment has been concentrated for many years on investigating the artistic form no longer as a narrative representation of reality, but rather as a recording tool of a ‘modus operandi’, which is defined by the creative process and revealed in the painting as a result of the process itself. The artist subdivides the work into several phases, first of all establishing the rule that serves as a limit within which the artist intends to unravel the artistic process. The limit, as de Lorenzo also argues, is a “daily exercise of self-subtraction”, but it is only an apparent removal, it represents a boundary within which to free the infinite combinatorial possibilities of numerical patterns elaborated with the help of a computer program. The limit is nothing other than the adoption of a code that overturns the traditional concept of representation and that, once developed, gives a form to the numbers: first, through the technological support of the computer and video and subsequently, in the case of his paintings, through a precise transcription of the numerical combinations onto the canvas. This process may appear aseptic and detached, but it hides a complex elaboration of sequentially stratified data on the canvas. Only in the last phase is there the intervention of a decisive gesture, in which the component of chance comes into play in a resolving way. Indeed, with the canvas still fresh with color, the artist makes a quick and unpredictable gesture, passing a board across the entire surface that performs a triple action: flattening the layers of overlapping color, leaving unpredictable trails that mark the canvas, and revealing what the surface tends to hide. All this determines the final completion of the painting, a process that de Lorenzo repeats rigorously following the dictates of self-imposed limits, demonstrating how it is possible to make these an element of knowledge and infinite freedom.