Onori all’arte in fieri. Il rifiuto metodico di Francesco Matarrese
The essay explores the stance of Francesco Matarrese, an artist who began his career working in the postconceptual area during the early Seventies. In 1978, instead of submitting artworks for an upcoming exhibition in Rome and Naples, Matarrese sent a telegram in which he stated his refusal to continue to produce “abstract” work in art. Adopting the term “abstract” in a Marxist sense, he meant to object to the making of any kind of generic, indifferent artistic work. From 1978 onward, the artist has pursued a private practice, interrupting it only in a few instances in which he has published texts that cast fresh lights upon his evolving outlook and situation. In retrospect, it becomes apparent that the act of saying “no” does not necessarily usher into a cul-de-sac; on the contrary, it may increase the awareness of a positive albeit (momentarily?) unreachable realm. Rather than being passive or disengaged, the refusal of Matarrese turns out to be methodical and profound in its stubborn support of the quest for live work versus death or abstact work.