By Luciano Caprile
In Europe, Expressionism has Nordic roots and finds its realm in the sickness of life, in the difficulty to combine desire with reality, in making a body quiver when it is sacrificed by the flowing of the world. From Van Gogh to Munch, Ensor and Nolde comes down a sinister wind of existential precariousness that stimulates the minds and hearts of those who consider themselves overthrown by society, by political power, by the dejection of war…
... And after the Second World War, particularly Jorn and Appel (in fact, the main protagonists of the CoBrA group), will be the ones - more than anybody else - to raise again the cry of uneasiness, the torment breaking out of the painting with sound violence and brutal signs. Also, in the United States, the message of uneasiness springs from Pollock's and Kooning's "abstract expressionism" (let us think of the repeated, insistent "Wooman"), while in the Old Continent we can't forget the intimate, tortuous excavation of Bacon's characters. In more recent times, the same wind has inspired the Berlinese "new savages", in a besieged city before the fall of the "wall"; a perfect correspondence to this behavior can be specifically found in the graffiti in the United States.
This brief survey of expressionism is very useful to be immediately in tune with Alicia Cittadini's works, which raise the same question of putting emotions and memories into painting, into a certain kind of painting. There is further motivation: Alicia was born in Argentina and lived in Buenos Aires until 1990, sharing and absorbing all the political and economical hardships of her land. Therefore, she fed herself from the artistic school of those who suffered and translated into anguished allegories the dramatic events occurring before her eyes – with relentless pathos. But she also has Italian roots and such culture as to allow her to coagulate the various impulses and filter them in a wider ambience of suffering, in a universal uneasiness….
... It all happens amidst a creative fury that directs her hand in a mechanical way, favoring intuition and immediacy to the detriment of thought.
... The sudden brush-stroke goes even beyond the subject and is reflected in the tonal harmony that sometimes chooses dissonance, overprinting of matter, opacity in rebellion, annulling and mortifying brightness. Hence, Alicia approaches the spirit of the so called "bad painting", seeking for visual irritation. In one of the works in question, we observe three women pushing the supermarket chart: they are immersed in a green-blue of large contemplative uneasiness, aggravated by a contrasting red-amaranth, with its own tactile irritation. In a similar context, the faces of dolls appear, drawn with childish understanding or with calculated descriptive carelessness. It produces a convincing hymn to restlessness and existential whirlwind. Let's continue… The monsters remind us of the iconography adopted by Jorn and drawn from his country's common legends. Alicia uses precisely nightmares as the introspective readings of the protagonists: preoccupations and somber thoughts are translated into hallucinations and allusions…
...In these most recent works, the expressionistic way has so found a violent counterpoint of denounce and original comparison.
So, once again, painting comes to show the need for strong emotions and resolute, convincing brush-strokes - like the ones by Alicia Cittadini – to conquer the scenario of a world that through its troubles always fosters reasons for reflection, desolation, and agitation.