It is certainly wasn’t to endorse the youthful trend in vogue for some time that the Prize Marina di Ravenna decided two years ago to restrict the event for young painters. It’s a line which only shifts in part from the long tradition of the “Marina”, which has moreover been suitably remodelled with regard to the initial ‘extemporaneous’ formula that with the passing of time had revealed all its inadequacy. Just as it happened with all similar events that had also survived the tabula rasa of ’68.
The choice of a competition restricted for painters ‘under 40’ responds rather to a twofold need: that of not proceeding with further and therefore somewhat taken for granted homega to figures already widely consacreted, and at the same time the determination to aim at the continuity of painting, understood in all its possible technical extensions . With regard above all to this second aspect, faithfulness to the tradition of the ‘Prize’ seeks to find the work of young artists that singularity which does not contradict the need to keep an eyes fixed on our time.
In other words, on the condition summed up by a keyword like ‘contemporary’, frequently used at the risk of even gross approximations and equivacations. It should be understood that the strongest stake lies precisely in the choice of limitng the field to painting, in order to assess its endurance with respect to all new expressive media ‘tradition of the new’ techniques. Which, as seems evident, have returned to the almost unconditional embrace of artistic officialdom after the ‘setback’ the famous – or notorious, depending on your opinion – 1980s: from the Transavanguardia to New Savages, and kindred spirits, to make it clear, who held the floor for a handful of years before undergoing a marked and almost inevitable re-dimensioning, with exceptions where they are due.
At bottom, the young artist’s choice of painting today stands for courageous faith in the possibility of being in any case an interpreter of one’s time, but in a continuity of memory which is also awareness of the irreplaceable values that the painting represents.
If anything, it is precisely comparison with the endless horizon of the history of painting itself that renders any comparison even more arduous at a moment in which the habit of ‘seeing’ and of understanding how much the painted work may still express has been almost wholly cast off.
This second edition of the ‘Marina’ is therefore far from being a mustering of nostalgic but rather a question of young artists who have not given in to the enticements of different and perhaps, at least apparently, smoother roads.
So it seems to me a propitious occasion also for a museum, the MAR, which rewards the five selected artists with an exhibition, to once more demonstrate how history and topicality may not only cohabit but also turn out to be reciprocally necessary in a bond of consequentiality . And then i see it as a good sign that these young painters – Bo Mi Kim from Korea, Sandro Palmieri from Florence, Marco Pariani from Varese, Marina Scardacciu from Sassari, Giovanna Sottini from Brescia, are so different one from the other, And if it is no longer geography that characterises their expressive modes – as with ‘school’ of painting, especially Italian, down through the ages – but the long-time contributions of an internationality of a culture and a widespread eclecticism, as they say, which appears also on the historical surface of painting, then we must welcome it as a confirmation of awareness. Just like certain traits, perhaps revelatory of returning echoes from a not wholly evaporated historic memory: this too is a certain sign of prerogatives that hark back to the prime, still sustainable reasons of painting.