Perhaps no artist today conveys so poetically the precariousness underlying the apparent stability of life and culture than Ettore Spalletti. “Poetically” does not mean softness of thought or the search for elevated but ultimately empty gestures: here it is a question of an artist building a bridge between himself and the world in a decidedly concrete manner and using all the strategies known to him, from physical beauty to conscious historical references, to achieve this end. Beauty is notoriously difficult, if not impossible, to define.
But Spalletti’s work offers visual pleasures appreciable by everyone: delicate and almost sensuously tactile surfaces, colours and forms just sufficiently different from familiarity to intrigue and make the viewer wonder at them anew. And though his highly seductive colours are almost but never quite natural – no sky was ever as powdery blue as his, no black in nature was ever like his polished marble – they clearly hint at the very reverse of Keats’s Grecian Urn: that beauty is not all we know and all we need to know.