Monotypes by Venturino Venturi, a universe of variations

Venturino Venturi, opere astratte - abstract works

Untitled, 1948, monotype on linoleum matrix, Archivio Venturino Venturi

Here is a collection of “monotype” prints by Venturino Venturi, a Tuscan sculptor and painter (1918-2002) who moved back to Italy in the 1930s, after spending his youth and beginning his education in Luxemburg and Germany. In Florence, he was a patron of the “Le Giubbe Rosse” café, a favorite of intellectuals and artists such as Eugenio Montale, Giuseppe Ungaretti, Enrico Pea, Vasco Pratolini, and Ottone Rosai.

How did Venturi create his “monotypes”?

“Venturino sculpted the matrixes directly on simple slabs of wood of no particular quality, using a gouge to simply create clear-cut effects; as always, craftsmen’s simple techniques were at the basis of his elaborate works.”

“The shapes he produced in this way were simple, geometric elements, grids or spirals […]; they were almost like a figurative speller book, made with steady eye and hands, yet full of variations, suspensions or freedom; they bear testimony to the loving care with which he did not wish to prove any rules, but to reinvent the fundamentals of his own original way of expressing simple and deep humanity.”

“Language comes in use as a means of expression through words and sentences, when going from the engraved matrix to the sheet of paper: under the always varying pressure of the artist’s hand, the sheet is filled with multiple impressions of the same matrix; some times the series fills the available space completely, others they leave wide gaps on some of the margins, forming a universe of variations in which a single shape, in its constant echo, defines space and generates obscure depths, lit up by blades of light.”

“Therefore, an apparently elementary technique is the means to instantly express an infinite figurative ability, in which one might say we can see every fiber of wholesome and thoughtful humanity” (translated from M. Forti, A. Caleca, “Impronte di materia: Venturino Venturi: matrici, monotipi, disegni e sculture dal 1948 al 1986”, L’Erma di Bretschneider, Rome 2006).

November 11, 2015