Called to create the fifty-fifth poster of the Festival dei 2Mondi di Spoleto, Julian Schnabel is a combination of some of the values that have distinguished the Festival since the first editions: born in Brooklyn from Czech immigrants and raised in New York during the booming artistic years of the seventies and eighties, a strong matrix of European and particularly Italian origin can be discerned in his work. Eclectic character - familiar with a multitude of different languages and expressiveness, which has led him to try his hand as a photographer, scriptwriter and director, as well as painter - Schnabel′s art derives from the intimate need to give shape to his own personal universe, to tell stories and impressions in an authentic and instinctive manner. In front of his large mid-seventies canvases, as well as in the more recent work, the eye is lost within an immersive horizon, dense and materialistic, where the boundaries of figure, background, color and matter are consumed by an immediate and gestural pictorial treatment, which results in a continuous experimentation of different supports and techniques. A scene that is real, yet at the same time fictitious, which envelops the viewer allowing him to be immersed in a figurative landscape straddling among recognition and abstraction, memory and improvisation. As in all his films, even in Schnabel´s huge paintings, it is the landscape which determines what happens, in the name of an unpredictable harmony which is not predetermined, and in search of which the artist acts in total stylistic freedom, driven by an expressive interior need, that is almost spiritual. Since the mid-twenty-first century, the artist has approached the photographic means, selecting images from the great poetic and evocative potential, upon which he later intervenes with touches of color and writings, or simply, as in the shot chosen for the poster, allowing time and weathering to produce spots and imperfections, destined to take on a chromatic and expressive value that seems to refer to the paintings of Oriental tradition. Pictorial sensibility and flair for shooting combine, creating an image with great narrative power which invites us to discover a new and unexplored world, just like the Festival di Spoleto, in the ancient heart of our country, has continued to do so for fifty-five years.
Dott. Bartolomeo Pietromarchi
Museum director and curator MACRO, Rome