Searching for the “abstract perdu”

Here, fmally, there is no need to dissipate doubts or clarify uncertainties. Innocenti states her objectives unequivocally, clearly and unfailingly. The four most salient points enierging from her most recent production demonstrate this:

a) The human figure, figurative work, preferably in the feminine. Here a discussion of the terni -feminine” would prove useful if only to avoid any possible misunderstanding regarding the “idea of the feminine”, which is a type of analysis that would be better undertaken in a different context with the appropriate theoretical background. From reliable sources we gather that the artist was not involved in the upheavals in 1968, though she did sympathize with and was interested in feminist movements at a safe distance.

b) Strict adherence to space without allowing anything to occur by chance, despite the “apparent” total disregard for rules and the canons of composition. Actually it is not like this at all. Everything regarding the compositional relationships is always calculated beforehand, even though such an interpretation roves to be more implicit compared to the earlier non-figurative work in which it was much more obvious. Towards the end of that period, however, Innocenti’s favourite subject did emerge, the human figure, which was to lead the artist towards her current endeavours in painting. Some composers in German Romanticism produced lieder with no words. Analogously, Innocenti’s paintings bear nei-ther name nor title. At most, but only for practical reasons of numbering, they are called “Composition 1”, Composition 2”, and so on, nothing more, nothing less. Besides, even the ancient Egyptians suffered from strict adherence to space and order…

c) The use of colour is reduced to a minimum. You can see this everywhere, not Only in the quality and intcnsity of the colour combinations, but allo in the very amount of colour used. It must be said that the artist paints with completely worn-out brushes and applies colours dry). It almost seems like a pretext not to point outright in “black and white”. No’ the artist subtracts rather than adds, all in view of the concept expressed in point b).

d) Rarely does the artist show any particular interest in or enthusiasm for the third dimension, or any other. She has trained her eye to visualize body parts with quasi-scientific accuracy. It is like a “highpowered photographic lens” that practically refuses everything that goes beyond the second dimension, and yet there are shapes that are fully rounded. This is fiction or manipulation as one might say in painting or photography when speaking of the third dimension.

Then there are those who claim that everything that is not nature is ipso facto abstract. Innocenti remains consistent, which would explain her “figurative-abstract” or -abstract-figurative” method, better defined as “abstract-concrete”.
Are these, perhaps, academic subtleties? No! They allude, rather, to the syndrome of the idea of the unfathomable meaning of the term “abstract”. The abstract artist of yesteryear, who would simply refuse
the figurative, the real and the natural, no longer se the figurative, the real and the natural, no longer exists. Now the artist abstracts from the real. Innocenti also constantly subtracts from shape, size, shade and light eating away at the white canvas that again becomes light and shade. It is as if she were fully immersed in the pursuit of absolute harmony, in the illusion, that is, of the discrete abstract and,
therefore, in her own “new, concrete reality”. Indeed it is in the pursuit and creation of the abstractconcrete in her feminine figures that there would seem to be a certain mysterious quality. Pale ephemeral expressions of an emblematic sensuality seem to have been painted hyper-realistically. That is to say, they seem more real than real despite the constant tendency towards abstraction and all entirely without using the means that stimulates the senses the most: colour. Rather than merely painting black figures on pure-white canvases, the artist prefers a chiaroscuro effect that does not aim to create the illusion of depth (we didn’t want to allude at all to models, but perhaps there is a secret, long-lost love for Caravaggio?

In a word, everything is clear and planned. This painter leaves the viewer with no rnargin for interpretation. Less does she allow herself to diverge from her initial plans to incorporate new painting or compositional ideas. She reveals herself completely and immediately. Her message is instantaneous, but it could not be otherwise. Any situation or setting (this the only thing she does concede) would have
disturbed the monolithic organisation of the composition, even in the case of one sole figure. Constantly measuring every last detail concerning space, shape, layout, thickness and, naturally, colour, the artist is a serious professional with no time for compromise. There is no artist who has not drawn on other artists. Consequently, as we pointed out above, there is no need in this context to speculate on references ami citation. What is certain, however, is that Antonietta Innocenti definitely has what it takes to draw upon her own established career and her many part artistic experiences.