From 18 December 1985 to 12 March 1986
It is hard to describe the creative universe of Nicola De Maria (Foglianise, Benevento, Italy, 1954) with normal artistic terms, and his work is consequently compared with other disciplines, such as music and poetry, that seem better to express his lyrical, intimate vision of art and life in general. A leading figure in the Transavanguardia movement, De Maria is the one member of the group who has most distanced himself from figurative painting, preferring a more abstract type of imagery composed predominantly of colours, words and signs, through which he expresses and renders visible the intimate, perceptible universe. By endowing colour with elevated spiritual values, and using imagery that refers to life’s minutiae and nature’s gifts – flowers, the sea, sky and moon – De Maria produces paintings and installations that move towards the creation of a lyrical microcosm, making them appear to abandon the physical dimension of the canvas and diffuse into space. The installation he created for the Castello di Rivoli – in which he decorated the walls of one of the rooms with multi-coloured paint – is perfectly in tune with his poetic vision of art, and completely transcends the building’s historical character to create an environment that is unique and absorbing. The viewer is invited to enter this world, and is irresistibly drawn to the canvases set within the painted walls like precious gems, whose discreet presence seems to point to the possibility of a lyrical transcription of the artist’s intimate universe.