Critical Texts

Isabella Del Guerra


Alessandro Tofanelli is an eclectic artist: painter, photographer, director of films and documentaries on nature, but he lives his art, an art that involves both man and artist in a perfect symbiosis, in extreme simplicity. He sees the “meaning of life”, his own and life in general, as being linked to the land, made up of men who still tell stories and of stories about men, and it is from here, from this lifeblood, that his artistic life is nourished.
He has always been surrounded by nature, considering it a friend: he lives it, breathes it, makes it his own, interprets it by giving it voice and painting it, transforming it into poetry: this is what Tofanelli gives us.
The pictorial universe that Artist represents is not an imaginary world, but then again it is: it is a time long gone, when woods were unspoilt, when farmhouses were occupied by big families and not divided into apartments passed off as country houses, when the air was clean and the landscape was well-tended; in a provincial area, slightly secluded, where men belonged to the land and lived according to the pace of the seasons, and that same land rewarded them with its fruits.
For Tofanelli, every painting becomes a world of its own, a reality bordering with dreams, an Eden in which life is simple, lived according to the slow rhythm of everyday gestures. The artist invites us to wander through his works, to disappear behind a farmstead, inside a house or in a vegetable garden, to lose ourselves in a poplar grove, listening to the sound of the wind rustling through the leaves.  Although men are never portrayed, we can sense their presence thanks to the inclusion of everyday objects which tell about their life and story: there is an all-encompassing sense of peace. Each one of the artist’s works is like an inner self-portrait, authentic, of a reserved painter who expresses his own personal story in his paintings, with the story of his land and his love of nature. It is also the story of a man who has always been accustomed, as a multifaceted artist, to perceiving and transmitting magic that touches the heart: real images of a today that entraps the light enchantment of poplar groves, lagoons and channels. Fishermen’s huts, abandoned boats surrounded by shrubs, silent houses; they all seem to belong to a time outside of time.
Tofanelli and time outside of time: time does not pass, because it is the time it takes…
…to wait for a dawn or a sunset, to wait for a heron, to wait for the rain to stop, for the cloud to recede and leave room for the sun and, in that moment, that glittering vision is captured and made visible through the colours and the meticulous stroke, with each blade of grass, each leaf, each object reproduced by the brush, but also dictated by the great sensitivity of the Artist. This is the time it takes, waiting patiently, to grasp that unrepeatable moment and forget this frenetic and corrupt humanity of ours, perpetrator and, at the same time, victim of the revenge of an outraged, stricken, tortured and annihilated nature: Tofanelli launches a message of respect, deference and devotion that is owed to this world that hosts us and that has been living for much longer than we have.
An artist who can still surprise us, however, giving us the opportunity to enter a surreal, unsettling and ironic dimension where everything is possible again precisely because it is genuinely desirable: after all, it is the time that it takes, just enough to share a friendship, an understanding of coexistence, to be together and to help each other: because we are us, we are a community, and this is our strength.
The places where all this can happen are undoubtedly his islands, which rise from the lake like tiny microcosms, small houses surrounded by a strip of land, where life unfolds at an uncertain and unrecognisable time: it could be just before dawn or right after sunset, where small three-wheelers, bicycles, chairs and ladders are parked, bearing witness to a life that is lived. With a boat, on a silent lake lit only by a slice of moon, we meet an island inhabited by a petrol pump and a fruit and vegetable store, or an island where, in that tiny outdoor cinema illuminated by the faint light of an old lamp, we can come together to watch a film. 
In this solo show, Tofanelli re-proposes the landscapes he loves but never in the same way, all capable of enchanting and arousing a poignant sense of calm, peace and poetry: each of them inspires us to find our own story, to imagine something different, unconventional and unusual, spurring us to use our imagination, to re-live our memories.
Tofanelli’s works tell us that the meaning of life is to live at peace with ourselves, with others and with nature, in harmony with it.
Could the meaning of life be to “search for beauty”, “search for the truth”, “search for oneself”? Perhaps all three things together. In his paintings, they are found in a single message: Love, in the broadest sense, of truth, of life in all its forms. As a Man and as an Artist, this is Alessandro Tofanelli…
Isabella Del Guerra, 2019
Galleria Gagliardi-2019: solo exhibition by Alessandro Tofanelli "Il tempo che ci vuole." curated by Stefano Gagliardi