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  • 1983
  • Ettore Spalletti
  • pigment on cardboard on wood
  • 61,5 x 77 cm
  • Location not on view.
  • Acquired in 1987
  • Inventory number 1530

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This painting by Spalletti consists of a thick layer of plaster paint applied to a panel. The mass of paint has set and protrudes slightly over the edges. A strip of card has been attached around the sides of the panel. At the corners, this fits tightly onto the work, but towards the centre there is some space between the strip and the panel. The whole work is painted a soft bluish-green colour. At the front of the panel the layer of paint has been sanded smooth.

With regard to his technique, Spalletti explained: “I make a mass of paint by mixing the plaster paint (gesso) with glue. I spread this over a canvas or a wall (in this case a panel) while it is still warm… I apply the colour to the paint and the pigment is absorbed so that the whole layer is penetrated with colour but in a muted way… Later, when the colour has dried, I use sandpaper on it… The surface is no longer merely a colour but becomes a powder… a colour which does not exist but appears in what has been sanded.” As the pigment is more saturated in one place than in another, Spalletti’s work acquires a skin, which does not have an even colour. In addition, the experience of the colour depends on the light that falls on it. At the same time the colour of the painting has an influence on the space where it is exhibited. The interaction between the artwork and its environment plays an important role in Spalletti’s work.

In addition to his colours, Spalletti also chooses his forms very carefully. His objects are somewhere between sculpture and painting. He makes freestanding works, which he covers with a monochrome layer of paint, just as he does with his flatter works. The colour acquires just as much attention as the form and to some extent reduces the material quality of the object. Spalletti’s paintings actually acquire a spatial quality because of the attention, which he devotes to the edges and the frame. There is an interaction between the material and object-like nature on the one hand, and the colour, which seems to transform the material into something intangible, on the other hand. Spalletti’s works are rooted in the tradition of Italian fresco painters such as Giotto and Piero della Francesca. They are tranquil and serene, but also sensual and full of life.

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