In the early 1980s, Domenico Bianchi emerged as one of the number of artists who began to examine painting as a tradition to be revitalized after years of more radical experimentation. However, his point of departure differs from that of the members of the contemporaneous Italian movement Transavanguardia, in that his pictorial practice revives not figuration, but rather an expressiveness that hovers between a figurative tendency and abstraction in the strict sense of the word. In Bianchi’s work the image takes on the aspect of a fragment, a residue that seems to come from an excavation into memory, which nonetheless becomes the organizing principle of the pictorial surface, which may be environmental in scale.
Senza titolo (Untitled), 1988, is structured as three juxtaposed fields. At the center of the composition a tangle of bold lines, sinuous twists and curves, do not describe a form, but seem to delineate a state of becoming, a passage from shapelessness to image, or perhaps the opposite. The white lines appear on a dark, flat, somber surface. Above and below, in effect framing the central element, are two planes made up of small fiberglass panels, covered by colored wax, rather than paint. The work is thus intrinsically an organism in mutation, with the medium possessing the same ambiguity inherent in the image. The revival of the tradition of painting is symbolically equivalent to a reconquest of the center as the organizing principle of art. In Bianchi’s case it also contains the critical awareness inherited from avant-garde movements that have called into question the idea of centrality. As a result, the central position of the image or more accurately, of the site where pictorial language appears—is always present in Bianchi’s compositions. Indeed, the artist constructs a veritable rhetoric of centrality. Against his surfaces a sign-like core always stands out, understood as a generator of form and a potential ability to radiate images.