Until February 4, there is an experience in Vicenza that will slowly captivate you. On the upper level of the bibliophile’s friend, Libreria Galla, in the Caffe’ Galla, stands an exhibition by Claudio Brunello of a selection of his operas – words of art – from the last several years.
He chose the title ‘HAPPY’, not ‘FELICE’. To understand why, you must visit this expressive artistic scripture and sit with a coffee, reading his guide ‘The fascination for the word in the picture’.
Understanding Claudio Brunello as an artist is for most of us a challenging learning curve. His previous exhibition in Bassano del Grappa highlighted his Identity Containers, transparent plastic boxes containing letters, words, musical notes, which we tagged with names such as letter box, music box, colouring box. Yet at that stage, even though we were interested, Claudio had not grabbed our attention. We did not understand the relationship he has with the written word in art – in his words of art.
In this exhibition he has once again drawn on the written word, for instance, as a follow on from the Identity Container, one work contains a visual shelf with a pile of written words, each a colour, each in black on a transparent square of colourless plastic. The work is, of course, titled ‘Colore’ (Colours). Nearby a work containing pieces of different materials tells us ‘STEEL’ – its title ‘Elementi’. But we are not doing justice to the mind and output of Claudio Brunello.
Words of Art according to Claudio Brunello
We attempted to interpret other works but each time needed the guiding voice and hand of the master of ‘Words of Art’. Gradually as I toured the exhibition for maybe the fourth time, I started to understand that Claudio Brunello has a love affair with the intellectual description. He sees a scene as we do and then apparently deconstructs it into descriptive words, phrases and letters. The challenge for the viewer is to travel back up the tracks of his mind to appreciate the ‘beauty’ in the artistic acronym.
The work that represented the title of the exhibition consisted of a plain background with a white cylinder on which were written many ideologies and forms of ‘government’. Sliding up and down the side of the cylinder is a representation of a man, one hand on ‘Republicanism’ the other on ‘Islamic Republic’. Claudio explains that mankind lives in whichever ideology is current and man seeks to be ‘HAPPY’ in his existence. Maybe Claudio is giving us a cynical view of the reality of human life.
The work of an artist is by definition something that prioritises images. My way of doing art is often intermingled, occupied, shared with the written words that – in addition to their semantic meaning – appropriate something that gives them visual form and expressive power.
A pleasant way to spend a coffee break in the old town of Vicenza, challenging yourself to learn the scripted tunes that Claudio Brunello plays with his words of art.