—— Peter Weibel
Ethereality, stillness, profundity, and serenity reveal the core and spiritual thought of classical painting. When first seeing Robert Bosisio's paintings, people will rapidly quiet down, their thoughts drawn into the framework and the mysterious geometric space he has built, thus bringing them to experience direct inner peace. His works lie between abstraction and figurativeness; they do not depict concrete individual objects, but descriptions of an anonymous illusion. The mysterious space formed by the minimalist geometric forms in these interiors is superimposed with soft colours rich in subtle warm light, hence rendering a sense of silence and invisibility that transcends both actual time and real existence.
Robert Bosisio was born in Trodena nel parco naturale, northern Italy, in 1963, a small town bordering both on Austria and Germany. This has caused the artist to find himself infused with both German rigour and Austrian humour. Bosisio graduated from the painting master class at the University of Applied Arts Vienna in 1988, where he was taught by a representative of Viennese Actionism, Professor Adolf Frohner (1934-2007). Although world travelling greatly enriched his vision, Bosisio still chose painting as his medium — a slow and traditional creative path that seems to have been separated from the current complex media context. Mr. Bosisio has been in Berlin and New York countless times, and has held important exhibitions all over Europe. In private, he reveals himself as an atypical "quiet Italian" who is modest, neutral, introverted, and even a little shy. As he starts talking about his work, he radiates a tranquil and melancholic aura, just like the quiet paintings he creates.
Trodena nel parco naturale Copyright© iLMeteo.it
Robert Bosisio consciously pursues painting as an artist's ultimate purpose. His works have been awarded the highest prize for Outstanding Contribution to Latin Culture, the Walther Von Der Vogelweide Award. In the awarding eulogy, it has been repeatedly stressed that "By concentrating on the possibilities of painting, he places his work in the great context of the history of painting, neither ignoring the achievements of tradition and modernity, nor forcing its development." ( Durch die Konzentration auf die Möglichkeiten der Malerei stellt er seine Arbeit in den großen Zusammenhang mit der Geschichte der Malerei, ohne die Leistungen der Tradition und der Moderne zu ignorieren, aber auch ohne die Entwicklung zu stark zu forcieren. ) He selectively deals with tradition and the past, using the overlapping textures of oil paint, tempera, wax, and other media. At the same time, he perpetuates and innovates tradition, reexamining and interrogating it from a contemporary perspective. Robert Bosisio treats painting as a foothold, a fact which may appear as controversial in the context of today's diversified creative media. Yet he still seriously defends the legitimacy of painting, exploring its boundaries from an independent and earnest perspective.
The figures in Bosisio's paintings are always enveloped in a mysterious atmosphere, soft and calm, bright and indistinct, concealing figurative features by means of fading and only revealing themselves to the viewer’s eye after prolonged observation. Michel Foucault (1926-1984) compared the disappearance of a portrait to the image of a face hatched in the sand and which gradually disappears from the sea with the rising and falling of the tide. The artist probes the limits of this disappearance. The mouth, face and body are also materialised, simultaneously revealing a kind of worldly spirituality and romanticism, as silent as a still life. The hues of these paintings are classical and simple, marked by a calm perspective and blurred outlines.The resulting out-of-focus effect is often not easily recognisable, yet it is genuine, and stretches out indefinitely to the edges of reality. However, we can still observe the actual painted objects from afar, the vague and virtual reality, the dreamy and melancholic nameless figures, or the Oriental women of ancient China, the white lady quietly embracing herself. The artist explores the limits of the disappearance of the image, the bare persistence and the description of the soul of life.
"Interior" is a common theme in Bosisio's works. In an empty room, a door leads to elsewhere: some images are compact and detailed, while others are more abstract and vague. The diffuse colours present in all spaces seem to be non-existent, yet they are dominated by high-saturated warm hues, which cause the whole painting to appear as if it were shrouded in warmth and light. The space in the golden section seems to record the kind of horizon described by Wim Wenders (1945- ). The unreachable horizon, the monochromatic colour gamut extending horizontally and vertically towards the distant horizon, constitute an ideal metaphysical distant place, quietly and gently inhabiting the abstract geometric atmosphere in Bosisio’s canvases. The artist has constructed his expression based on earth tones commonly encountered in traditional Italian architecture, such as umbra and ochre, relying on segmentation and displaying strong chromatic contrast. "Red and green", "cold and warm" thus represent complementary colour combinations. At the same time, yellow and white reveal the presence of light, with unidentifiable light sources and subtle luminous gradations shimmering throughout the painting.
In the context of art history, "interior " may be regarded as the matrix of painting, i.e., a whole image type that portrays the interior, the entire room, exterior landscapes, and the atmosphere of light and shadow. This theme of interior space seems to be more common in northern Europe, where it is rendered in pictures in the form of an astonishing spatial expression and atmosphere. When one contemplates the overall spatial atmosphere exuded by the layered door frames and room backgrounds, the interior structures, character, and scenes of Jan Vermeer (1632-1675), one may even smell the clear air of Flanders, bathing in the soft light. Bosisio's interior paintings have absorbed the nourishment of art history, from the Danish artist Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864-1916), known for his cold and poetic grey tones and spatial sense of light, to the Italian artist Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964), famous for his still lifes. Bosisio has reflected on and deepened his awareness of the problem of the ontological pursuit of art. Instead of lapsing into a feeling of hesitation and stagnation vis-à-vis the glorious era of classic painting, he has gone on to create a visual paradigm that is both metaphorical and figurative, and at the same time of a greater purity: the door in that space leads to another world, a detached reality, a mysterious otherwhere that knows no end.
(Left) Young Woman with a Water Pitcher, Johannes Vermeer, 1662
(Right) Interior, Vilhelm Hammershøi, 1899
Oil on canvas, 64.5 × 58.1 cm
Under the shimmering light and delicate brushstrokes, these spatial works open a door that allows the viewer to cross beyond the boundaries of time and space. In iconography, the door has been endowed with an ancient and strong symbolic meaning : it represents the entrance to the place of enlightenment as well as a dividing line between two communicating spaces. Always in the Eastern linguistic context, what lies behind an open door also points to a sacred space. For the artist, this is the definition of boundaries. By using different, light-filled colours, he creates movable boundaries, and by adding depth to these, he obtains a stereoscopic vision in a two-dimensional world. Franz Xaver Baier (1953- ) once said: "Our living space is not made up of a single space." Robert Bosisio combines the floor, and the door to the wall into the abstract grid structure of his canvas, thus abandoning the temptation of figurative and narrative painting. The abstract representation of the interior space renders the image more authentic and refined, reflecting its calm and mysterious sense of spatiality, while the line of sight extending from the door further amplifies the viewer’s state of contemplation.
©万一空间 Copyright© W.ONE SPACE
The geometric sense of interiors constitutes the backbone of the artist’s oeuvre. According to Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), "Geometry is a science that determines the properties of space synthetically and yet a priori." (Geometrie ist eine Wissenschaft, welche die Eigenschaften des Raumes synthetisch und doch a priori bestimmt.). During the Northern Renaissance of Flanders, there existed a relationship of mutual appreciation between the complex figurative plates and Orientalism. The geometric abstraction and spatial division in Bosisio's interiors also resonate with the geometric and spatial meanings of screens as they are present in the Eastern linguistic context. From an Eastern perspective, folding screens have a strong architectural frame which does also fulfil the function of complementing the narrative of the picture. It appears as a geometric form in the painting and has the dual function of dividing time and space, thus constructing an interactive relationship between the Interior and the Exterior. These are externalising painted images and quasi-architectural forms. The images of Robert Bosisio’s space can also be interpreted as abstract geometric games of different sizes leading the viewer to interact with the outside space from the inside of the room, while the visual experience of the screen strengthens spatial division, connection, and extension.
Playing Go under Double Screens
Looking back and leafing once more through Bosisio's dense working notes, one passage retains our attention : "What matters to me is that my paintings remain simple, quiet and objective." (Mir ist es wichtig, daß meine Bilder einfach, ruhig und sachlich bleiben.) He leaves the signs of the times to other artists, whether in experimental form or content. For the subtle Mr. Bosisio, painting and conveying pure feelings with allegorical outpourings is all there is to it. He once recalled his spiritual guide and said, "Giorgio Morandi's painting, for example, tones down everything colourful and loud, and shows us that painting does not have to be loud in order to be sensual and constant. In Morandi’s, as in Vermeer's paintings, I see a painted stillness." (Giorgio Morandis Malerei z.B. nimmt alles Bunte und Laute zurück und zeigt uns, daß Malerei sich nicht laut geben (darstellen) muß, um sinnlich und beständig zu sein. In Morandis und auch in Vermeers Bildern sehe ich eine gemalte Stille.) And these quiet and pure feelings are directly linked to the temperament expressed in Bosisio's works : gentle yet firm, embedded within the noisy and colourful passage of time, there floats a moment of magical stillness.
©万一空间 Copyright© W.ONE SPACE