Rossana Bossaglia:

"Alberto Sughi, Individual and Society"

[...]Since his earliest works, the critics have always payed a great deal of attention to Sughi. Over the years, he has often captured the nature and meaning of his artistic journey with great insight (erring only when he has tried to simplify the problems) and, in so doing, has grasped the sense of the changes which have characterised each artistic period. In summarising these artistic periods
I will therefore have nothing new and astounding to say, rather I will take as my guidepost a fundamental insight of De Micheli, that is, for all intents and purposes, Sughi has mediated and "lived" the relationship between the existential and the ideological, and the private and the communal. I would also add, however, that he was too troubled and bitter to act as both a populist and a social painter, especially at a time brimming with hope when artists' canvases were changing into flaming standards, and that he was also too immersed in a culture of political reflection to shut himself off in psychoanalytical self-questioning. The artist therefore exercised a certain moral self-restraint which stopped him from confusing the issues of the modern community with those of the human condition, while at the same time preventing him from negating, in his self-analysis, his heart-felt relationship with the reality of the community. ... Over the last decade, Sughi has returned to a faded yet brisk touch which has a pastel delicacy with hissing flashes of silver. Within these old and new paths, which, as we have seen, are never really neither old nor new, he has returned to an interiorised contemplation, to the theme of loneliness and of subjective meditation. In reality, the characters are more or less the same; they are the well-to-do bourgeois in their comfortable houses. However, they are not presented by way of condemnation; the portrayals of arid hardness have now softened. This is due to the fact that the works are no longer accounts of social division, of castes and power, of moral insensitivity, rather they are a submissive reflection on the meaning of a life for which it is possible to weigh the achievements in the balance. The main theme is that of the evening. When the woman seated in the armchair looks through the window the sun is still on the horizon (Guardare Fuori - Looking Outside) and in her hard eyes, on her sphinx-like face, we detect a startled expression. The other characters have surrendered to the dying day: they walk slowly and slightly bewildered, the dog lift his nose questioningly, they sit, they watch (Uomo nel Paesaggio - Man in the Landscape). The painter has put down his brushes and pauses to consider his latest work on the easel, appearing inert against the landscape which lies outside. Now is not the time for condemnation and torment - perhaps it is no longer even the time for passion. The existential searching is not concerned with the routine; the enigma presented to us is not reality but it is the enigma itself. It is true that in relation to Sughi we may talk of melancholy, however, first there was desolation while now the subject has become more tender - an acute modesty harmonises its tones although we are still dealing with solitude. Sughi will not be angry with me (since I am more or less his contemporary) if I identify myself with sweet yielding to these glimpses of his sera. For the entire span of his career, Sughi has continually given us a style of painting which feeds upon moral tension and intellectual contemplation, without ever being didactic and without the slightest concession to rhetoric or ever once becoming banal. He is among both the most cultured and uncomplicated of artists within today's art world.

Rossana Bossaglia

[From the the exhibition catalogue
of Museo delle Arti in Palazzo Bandera, Busto Arsizio, Torcular, Art Editions, Milan 1991]

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