Chromatic variations of the day and the night

There’s a very powerful material impact in the last masterpieces of Fiocco. The recurrent themes are those of the horse, the bottle, the heart (as a playing-card?), the tower of the chessmen, the tree.
But it’s the horse that is a permanent, constant swivel of this evoked world, somewhere half-way between the attentive observation and the lure of perceptions, of fantasies seen in the dreams (or thought of), to start with a real tangible idea that gets re-elaborated and in the end is returned as a archetype. This way the horse-animal observed with extreme sympathy, gets transformed into a kind of HORSE-FORM, not real any more, but the last and the definite version of some process of elaboration, that touches and involves even memories and/or personal nostalgic feelings ( the rocking horse, evoked in a stylized form, but still well comprehensible), the horse as a caretaker of the world inhabited by the references very dear  to Fiocco, almost firm points of view of the poetics circumscribed but significant: the bottle ( meant in this case as a simple object or, probably, as a medium for introduction in the domain of sensations?),the omnipresent heart ( the paying-card? The amount of  feelings? The risk to have some amorous delusion? The tangible sign of the sentimental hazard?), some flower, more often scattered “postcards”(or at least perceived this way) like those arranged randomly on a panel and  put into a cupboard to remind of holidays, affects, persons and faraway places and the tree (the real one or made of paper).
This is the world of Fiocco, who lives in an apparent mess, as if the described elements act alone, each one separately. In reality, if thought better, they constitute words, phrases, pauses and periods of a figurative discourse, developing around a set central theme, that later gets filled with different variations, digressions and in the end returns and finishes with the prefaces.
Fiocco has faced various “passages” or stylistic moments in his career that give the connotation to the constant evolution of his interior poetics. The same use of chromatic colours accompanies and supports the thematic choices in a technically functional manner.
So, we pass from more open moments with a light chromatic decision and of a figurative matrix (the phase of the “flowers”) to other compositions, put to dark registers, a tone after tone, where the formal aspect prevails sharply; their concept is more severe and of a materially compact performance.
Nevertheless, a note of red introduces a strong chromatic stamp, almost a discording element, that reveals and strengthens the tension of the context.
Now Fiocco is elaborating a chromatic course concentrated on a dramatic dichotomy of white/black and on sharp oppositions, that leave very little to “pleasure”, as it’s frequently meant.
These last works are almost monochromatic and attract attention with an essential but elegant cut of the composition.
The format of the composition doesn’t permit digressions and the result shows the acquired  maturity.
The world of Fiocco, analysed better, is always the same (the horse, the heart, the tree, the bottle), but presented in a much drier way, as in the composition “Thinking horse with dancing trees”; frightening “presences” appear in front of us from the indistinct black bottom (like a nightmare, a faraway memory without any time, without any place reference), almost a challenge or an invitation for something we contain inside.
On the other hand, in “Horse on the pedestal and confused transparencies” Fiocco permits himself a limited raid into a chromatic digression, with red, ochre and grey insertions.
In all these pieces of art we have to consider the application of the artist about making the choice of techniques used to translate into images his vision of the things (Of the world?Of life as a game, as a deception?Whose memory?Of what?).
The artist’s enormous application aware of a mixed technique is evident; which makes all his visions and decisions tangible.
The choice of the supports is not, for sure, casual; it’s dictated by precise requirements: prepared canvas made of linen, sometimes very coarse canvas made of jute (that “of a potato bag”,in order to understand better) as the use of the vast range of various techniques, from the traditional oils to the coloured soil, to the acrylic, to the synthetic enamel, to the pastels with some final touches of a pencil and/or coal, to the collage insertions of tissue paper and/or newspaper.
This kind of use of the material could seem just a showing off. But think of some great artists of the nineteenth century, such as Picasso, who used the “mixed technique” frequently. Fiocco has realized that this technique is an efficient and suggestive way to entrust a material support with the demand of translating and making immediately concrete everything the artist wishes to express via various shades of the intensity.
Prof. Mauro Cova



Variations beyond the colour

The colour, pure colour changing into chromatic mark even when expressed only as a sign, is a must for Michele Fiocco who shots every space on the painting with his pictorial surge.
The observer eye gets magnetized as it facing a dancing fire. The thick consistency of the impasto vibrates, takes shapes and revolts against the figure, or clots itself into dogged winding paths.
Yet the artist is able to elaborate every theme, lending naturalness to the shapes and the tridimensionality of the colour.
By this way he gives the structure a cohesion both on dinamic and stormy painting - sometimes with a  deep background covered with expectations and emotions which pass over the painting itself - and on the most placeful works where passion and uproar seems to calm down, giving the painted subject back the heart of the matter.
In the floral theme paintings, lofty and impressive but in the same time deep and wistful, the technical skill challenges the inactive mass of colour suddenly inserting amazing and contrasting luminescent glows, or spotting shades of a surrealistic blue, or enamelled green, or orange yellowish clots from which a whirling corolla of a sunflower or simply a fleshy mouth of a spotless flower originate.  The flower becomes not only the heart of the painting, but even evidence of the great suggestion, the many-sided mind of the artist.
The twisting corollas like hands, made of strong colours, are an imperceptible but true landmark between reality and spirituality.
Beside the shape in fact, the flower seems to hold the sense of beauty, not surrending to the brittleness and shortness of its existence, being immutable soul in contrast with the caducity.
On Fiocco’s works is also get evidence a growing demand for smartness, a continuous pursuit of variations which are given the painting back with masterly and refined skill.
The language comes now more controlled trying to hold the colours for a becoming rarefied structures, or using the chromatic mixture only as an abstraction.
This comes out especially on still lives, which artist makes them to come to light from a rough and sandy surface proper for representing more a thought, a memory than a real subject.
The still lives, meticulously worked out, but accurate and essential, are not intended to represent only a portion of reality; from the painted subject a significative strength comes out which transforms the subjects themselves into a lyric expression and harmony.
A dish of fruit, a glass, a bottle, a flower pot, all aligned or hedged in a timeless space, seem to have been removed from their modest, bored environment and conversate over an intimate link made of tonality correlations, disposed into a same sphere which gives them not only a noble distinction, but also surrealistic atmosphere, fantastic harmony.
A similar feeling also flows from female frail characters, of ovoid shape, but figurative and mighty. Even if they are traced of violent colours, they appear as gentle, almost spectral images.
Composed and intersected by endless, entangled threads, without order, they can surprisingly go back to a figurative whole, as if the structural elements, so right away discriminated, should rapidly assume a single identity.
The colour however remains the most exciting factor for the artist.
The latest pictorial period proves that.
Dense monochromatic spaces animated by fringings and drippings welcome glass inserctions. Tiny objects, small horses emerge form the surface not as protagonist but as a complement to the vitality, a chromatic effect becoming mixture of light.
Nevertheless Fiocco reaches remarkable levels of expressiveness also when he is venturing upon graphic arts. His works in black and white are simply brilliant; he conjugates strength and delicacy by tonal variations of greys, contrasts of darkness and light, joining the trenchant strength and the lightness of a vision.
These works resume the themes of the flower or the still lives, but the artist is able to transfer them, purified and lyrically reinvented, on his technical and sensible experiences.

Vera Meneguzzo




prof. Umberto Zaccaria - Veglie, september 1999

In the last few years the painting of Michele Fiocco is outlining toward the need of proceeding to the limits of informal. It is really stunning his capability of relating the techniques and working time to his unique creative array, which is constantly transforming the reality. His pursuit makes him moving to a progressive form semplification: also the matter mixing, made of oil and enamels, is now less thick as before, with nimble brush-strokes and more scrupulous chromatic matching.
Fiocco’s paintings accompany us through this gleaming journey of the fantasy. Onto superimposed layers the stroke digs out the matter creating the same rhythm of the happiness as one who dares to tell his almost forbidden world. It seems like this “nature”, consisting of plants, flowers, fruit, is almost an ostensible reason for a gateway of the fantasy, for emotional situations which, after not before, invest the reality symbolizing it according to intimate frequencies to which the nature seems to submit.
Under this view (levels of nature with flowers, composition n° 1, composition n° 17, composition n° 12, composition n°23 – one of the most interesting – quoting some title of works) the full of vibrations joints form the entire painting in a unique scene smacking homesckness and suppressed impetus.
Sometimes the background colours themselves, red or brown or white, seem to justify the choice of contents and the strength of the strokes themselves and their fragmentation,in a stroke-colour relation which now makes the reading easier then it harden the scketching; the matter itself, harsh but warm, gives the compositions a poetic accent.
When the structure give the painting centrality, the stroke begins to be wider and rough (see composition n° 23 and n° 12), the tearing of the surface more palpable; the basic lines split into precious informal arabesques to which the stroke, more or less thick, permits to shatter the bi-dimensional vision and emphasize, in a third one, an unexpected profundity.
The full command of the techniques and the perfect symbiosis of Michele Fiocco, stretching more and more towards the non-form, allow the continuous invention of chromatic harmonies though in his unique personal mark.

Veglie, september 1999                     prof. Umberto Zaccaria