The Tauromachia of Giuseppe Patane' on exhibition in Palermo, inside "Palazzo Ajutamicristo"
It was just by chance, an unexpected encounter beneath the warm and sharp colors of an Andalusian summer afternoon. It was standing there, so imposing, panting, powerful and proud, but - at the same time - alone, frail and unaware of its possible destiny. By crossing its wild and penetrating glance with mine, it seemed to tell me: I am, I exist, I stand for life, and "when what we hoped for came to nothing, we revived". And thus... here are the bulls, "i miei Tori"!
Why the bull?
"A painter does not paint what he sees but what will be seen." Paul Valéry
Bulls have been represented as key symbols in a number of expressions in the Meditterranean area since ancient times. In Egypt the celestial bull, also worshiped in Menfi as the god Api, symbolised the mutual renewing divine force in nature. In the Greek mythology, Zeus himself assumes the appearance of a bull and kidnaps Europe, the Phoenician princess; he takes her to Crete by crossing the Sea. Thus, it is in the Minoan civilization, pricisely in Crete, that the bull becomes a central figure: in the Knossos Palace (XV Century B.C.). A wonderful frescoe illustrates the cult of the bull: a bull man performing an acrobatic jump. It probably represents aritual which, although being a peaceful game the bull was very likely sacrificed later. The
bloody Spanish bullfighting appeared later, whose historical origin is unknown, and where the
ancestral struggle between man and animal comes to life. Nowadays bullgifhting is considered an unstustainable barbarism and not only by animal activists!
video (IT) - Giuseppe Patane' - Palermo - Finissage "10"
The bull arrives in the Christian medieval bestiaries after getting rid of the conditioning of the ancient mythologies; it had sometimes appeared as the winged bull, a fantastic creature. The bull is the sacrifical animal par excellence, it was symbolically identified with Christ, who offerred himself on the cross for all men. The bull also became an iconographic feature for the Evangelist Luke.
More recently, bullfighting has crossed art history from Goya to Picasso , offerring us extraordinay graphic and pictorial masterpieces. Giuseppe Patane' , the artist from Catania, who is strongly inspired by the bull and conceives it in a very personal way, in a true combination of
energy and grace. Giuseppe Patane' does not neglect his main activity of fashion designer
(where the previously mentioned elegance comes from). He has moved to painting only
recently, introducing himself with ease in the world of figurative art. However, painting has
been an existential experience in his creative universe for a long time.
Animals are currently
chosen topics by a number of artists: does man perhaps regret the way our relatives of the
animal world are capable to live an authentic life free from the distorted and twisted conditioning of human society?
He is far from the shocking provocation of Damien Hirst, the British artist who is criticized for
presenting the use of animals in formaldehyde. The Andalusian artist Santiago Ydanez has
recently presented his paintings in the exhibition Santo Animal, where he faces absolute
topics such as life and death, also through the comparison man/animal: birds, horses, which are in fact, put in relation with human figures.
The fact that Patane' paints directly with his bare hands, facing the pictorial support with no
intermediary, a full contact with the painting, makes us think about the particular kind of
gesture that is not delivered by a painting in one go, as it occurs when painting informally, but
rather a controlled and involving figurative language,
a way to grab the subject portrayed
completely: "hands are the first and last antennas of reason". Patane' uses different supports
to paint on: not only canvas but jacquard fabbrics as well or even bull skin, achieving a remarkable effect. The colors he uses are not only commonly used oil or acrylic colors but he also uses tar, lime and more.
His paintings do not give up the need for narration, as a matter of fact, his paintings of bullfighting form fragments of a system of stories, even when he gets close to abstraction: the bull
during several phases of the bullfight, even the moment when the animal's famous force is
defeated, the bullfighter, the audience watching the fight, as shown also in the titles of the
works. The faces painted by Patane' have some tangencies with the faces painted by Santiago
Ydáñez, they are both powerful and are loaded with unescapable dramatic emphasis.
The bull is a must also in Patane's three dimensional works, where it is extremely evocked.
Pieces of wood, aged by time and made wrinkled by the weather, hold taurine horns embellished by a bright green color that alludes to the poisons used today in agriculture.
Patane' fits in the modern tradition which does not betray the poetry inherent in the figural
language, which is nourished by the necessary fiction of the immagination, of the ramification of the possible,
he captures us in the passional dimension of an undoubtedly intriguingpainting.
The nucleus of his narration is in the myth more than in reality: the myth in fact, whose original
function was to order the chaos of the phenomena and of the forms, emerges in Patane's
paintings, made of immaginative fabbric and exalted by colors that are nuanced and strong
at the same time, are never empty fantasies. His painting allows events, facts and allusions to
Thus, in the work titled "No Love", the metaphysical image of a heart triggers complex allusions, which could, by the way, be related to the hidden title of the exhibition itself, where the number "10" is imposed or "IO" (self). If IO alludes to the ego, with the image of the bull symbolising the absolute force, the number "10" combines masculine and feminine, being the most complete and reassuring number. Ten is the symbol of the universe, of perfection, of life but also its opposite. Ten is the number of the fingers of our hands , what we use when numbering; ten are the
Commandements of God, as well as our decimal system; ten is the highest school mark... and
finally, ten is the number that recurs in the life of our artist, who considers it as a sort of personal talisman.
Maria Antonietta Spadaro
(1) The regional govenment of Catalonia had banned the bullfighting eight years ago but the banning was revoked in 2016 by the Spanish Constitutional Court, by stating that the bullfighting is "a cultural expression and belongs to the common tratidional heritage". Therefore, the UN has proposed to ban the vision to younger audiences.
don pedro - 2016 tecnica mista su tela (150x150)
frustrazione - 2016 tecnica mista su tela (150x150)
joselito - 2008 tecnica mista su tela (150x150)
gallito - 2008 tecnica mista su tela (150x150)
verbum - 2014 tecnica mista su pelle (117x160)
morillo - 2013 tecnica mista su tessuto jacquard (93x143)
urla degli astanti #1 - 2014 tecnica mista su tessuto jacquard (143x123)
paseillo - 2015 tecnica mista su tela (100x100)
manolete - 2013 tecnica mista su tela (100x100)
notturno - 2008 tecnica mista su tela (120x120)
l'agonia - 2007 tecnica mista su tela (145x123)
l'attesa - 2011 tecnica mista su tela (100x100)
zitto - 2011 tecnica mista su tela (100x100)
la lotta - 2007 tecnica mista su tela (110x200)
silente - 2007 tecnica mista su tela (110x200)
vara - 2013 tecnica mista su tela (150x150)
logos - 2014 tecnica mista su pelle (117x160)
turi - 1999 tecnica mista su tela (100x150)
zeus - 1999 tecnica mista su tela (120x120)
gaetano - 1999 tecnica mista su tela (170x90)
lui - 2008 tecnica mista su OSB (160x124)
ego - 2008 tecnica mista su OSB (160x124)
respiro - 2004 tecnica mista su tela (120x100)
battito - 2004 tecnica mista su tela (100x120)
urla degli astanti #2 - 2014 tecnica mista su tessuto jacquard (143x123)
urla degli astanti #3 - 2014 tecnica mista su tessuto jacquard (143x123)
minaccia - 1997 tecnica mista su tela (170x110)
l'oblio - 2014 tecnica mista su tela (170x110)
l'attacco - 2014 tecnica mista su tela (123x143)
l'attimo - 2014 tecnica mista su tela (123x143)
urla degli astanti #follia - 2014 tecnica mista su tessuto jacquard (143x123)
sangue nero - 2014 tecnica mista su tela (150x150)
giove innamorato tecnica mista su tela (90x167)
piulo - 2000 tecnica mista su tela (58x85)
nudo - 2014 tecnica mista su tela (70x50)
sanchez - 2017 elementi naturali e tecniche miste (89x75x25)
garcia - 2017 elementi naturali e tecniche miste (120x30x20)
perez - 2017 elementi naturali e tecniche miste (110x25x18)
ortega - 2017 elementi naturali e tecniche miste (93x22x15)
rodrigues - 2017 elementi naturali e tecniche miste (98x40x20)