SILVIO BALESTRA

When in the first half of the 19th century photography entered the world of science, and then art, there was a kind of revolution – not only in culture but in aesthetic philosophy and in ways of depicting both the real and the imaginary. The development of cameras and the means of rendering images ever closer to what was photographed was extremely rapid, and if indeed art chose to move towards the abstract and the conceptual the merit, or as some would have it the fault, belonged in large part to photography. “Following the advent of photography, painting lost its historical documentary role” (M. Lupatelli).

The celebratory and documentary function was thus taken on by photography. Kings and popes stood for the camera in classical poses just as they would once have posed before the portrait painter. City-scapes and people’s changing habits were made famous by photographic images whose reproduction in newspapers and on film disseminated knowledge and awareness, making the world a smaller place.

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TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION

Each artwork is a unique edition. The photo is printed and mounted in a German laboratory, its name is Grieger in Dusseldorf and deliver very high-quality standards for fine art photography.

The printing technique is a lightjet® Fine art on photo paper mounted on a Dibond-aluminium plate with a thickness of 4 mm (a sort of sandwich made of aluminum and plastic), and frontally, a glossy plexiglass sheet is finally stuck by following the patented method Diasec®.

This mounting system protects the photo print from UV rays, humidity, and heat guaranteeing its preservation in the future.

PRESENTATION

The Italian artist Silvio Balestra presently lives and works in Triest.

Since the year 2007, he professionally entered the world of art with his research on experimental photography by caring about its abstract and conceptual aspects. He gives another meaning to the natural light by placing it in a black and white world where every recognizable shape practically disappears.

Most of Art critics and Art journalists call him “The Art photographer of the natural light.”

In the some Interviews the artist use to say “Starting from the etymology of the word photography that means – “writing with light”, or rather “painting” with light – I decided I had to go beyond classical photographic realism, equivalent to figurative painting, to reach its abstract dimension to get to the essence of things, removing all superfluous and misleading adjuncts, a different way of conceiving reality, placing the one which is hidden, invisible, not easily adaptable to our vision, or rather to the way we want to see the world “

In the last ten years, he has attended numerous group and solo exhibitions collaborating with several galleries in Italy and abroad. For example in Italy he exhibited his artworks in Turin, Milan, in the famous museum Chiostro del Bramante in Rome, his works are selected for exhibition the Art-Biennale di Venezia, and abroad he exhibits in Canada, in Spain, in Germany, in the Czech Republic, and in Norway.

He received prizes and awards from national and international publications. Most important are the American B&W photographic award SpiderAward, the International Color Award, the Spotlight award of the American Magazine B&W.

He follows in depth all his artistic creations from the very initial step – the design – and then by carefully following the print process and the final assembly.

He started working with black and white by using only natural light molding it to give it materially and thickness characteristics. All the above always utilizing shot design and an accurate selection of the photographic technique. He does not intervene in the post-production phase with any software except to optimize printing.

Just to nominee some of his works series for example:

Antitesi is the black and white cycle for excellence, the essence of the natural light as dualism in its primordial pure state.

EXCHANGES Optical –Writings Alphabets

In this cycle, he shows a refined spatialist research, are presented elements unified by the metaphorical concept of protection, defense, immunity, and invisibility, of a physical and psychological barrier inside and outside us.

Spirit & Matter and Space-Time Life

In these cycles, the artist shows his passion for scientific studies, in fact, he studied biology at the University.

He represents trails, tracks, prints, nebulous skeins, spirits of light more alive than ever a sort of sidereal micro-organism, nascent stars, astral masses, fragments of asteroids or more synaptic connections in frenzied activity to revitalize moments of past life.

A specific importance has got the big size work Pro Tempore

This expresses the fluidity of time, its constant flow, its manifestation in a sequence of imperceptibly different moments, its action leaving no immediate trace, its being past-present-future, always maintaining its provisional character. It is a composition of 63 images in which the frame never changes, as in reality, a place is always the same. A sort of time machine in which we are free to visit the universe and its matter in a clockwise and anti-clockwise direction, backward and forwards in a continual and electrifying becoming.

Latest researches are works called Concepts; they are works of small and medium format on photographic paper printed with inks and re-managed thanks to hand painting techniques. There is a trait union between photography and painting. In fact, he uses tools of photography as photopaper, photo inks some times print machine but using techniques of painting and Monochrome Charta which are photographic prints manually reinvented with a scratching techniques. The overlaying photograph vanishes bit by bit until it disappears completely, leaving not emptiness, but the bare base as it was created, which in this case is quite simply paper, or rather CHARTA, from Latin. The scratching, and therefore the erasure of the photographic chromate may take on various levels of penetrability and compactness, giving rise to infinite variations, endless conceptual stages.

He has managed to create a new world, abstract at first sight but bristling with references to figurative or formal features: green landscapes, seabeds, nascent stars, lunar terrains, hidden caves, rock walls, frozen rivers and lakes, enchanted forests, formal weaves which seem to offer abstraction pure and simple.

Last but not least there is the series of works the Microsoft® Exce® drawing, exclusive and very limited cycle of digital graphics works created not with the common graphics’ programs but with a software application realized with a spreadsheet Microsoft® Excel ® drawing only with the mouse on the Excel celled sheet. Then they are realized on canvas or light box installations. It is hard to work on these digital draws, which need a long time to be completed.

CRITIC TEXTS SELECTION

When in the first half of the 19th century photography entered the world of science, and then art, there was a kind of revolution – not only in culture but in aesthetic philosophy and in ways of depicting both the real and the imaginary. The development of cameras and the means of rendering images ever closer to what was photographed was extremely rapid, and if indeed art chose to move towards the abstract and the conceptual the merit, or as some would have it the fault, belonged in large part to photography. “Following the advent of photography, painting lost its historical documentary role” (M. Lupatelli).

The celebratory and documentary function was thus taken on by photography. Kings and popes stood for the camera in classical poses just as they would once have posed before the portrait painter. City-scapes and people’s changing habits were made famous by photographic images whose reproduction in newspapers and on film disseminated knowledge and awareness, making the world a smaller place. The artist, that is to say the painter or the sculptor, had no choice but to interact with what was happening around him, creating images expressing the experience of the changes to reality being made by progress. The abstractism of Kandinsky and Klee, the cubism of Braque and Picasso, the provocations of Duchamp and Arp, the quest for new myths from individuals and celebrities in Warhol and from things and objects in Rauschemberg – all stand as clear examples of making art which was a rejection of the pure representation appropriated by photography.

Avant-garde art gave figurative form to the fantastic, to rage, to hope, to the desire for freedom. It celebrated the invisible universe that the artist alone was able to feel and lay bare. This required empathy as well as observation, and synesthesia allowed the perception of what the five senses could neither read nor codify. In that period the photographer was a reporter, illustrating and augmenting the written word. At times his work replaced it and became an icon, as in the case of Nadar’s portraits or Cartier’s snapshots. Views of nature evolved into shots of the countryside moulded by agriculture, city streets were given fresh perspectives by Fontana and Roiter. In the 1970s the photograph became a poster and replaced the picture. The advertising image thus took on psychological values and had psychotic consequences. Rather than being stolen it was kidnapped – subliminal, scandalous and gossip-mongering, exciting not because of values inherent to catharsis but above all because it was answerable to highly influential hidden commercial powers. The photographer was and is supposed to be able to frame a shot, correctly juxtapose aperture, shutter and depth of field, and in a few seconds find a balance between full and empty and chromatic mass and the neutral zone. Today a photograph can be taken with a mobile phone that simulates the action of the old watch-the-birdie man who lifted the mirror and drew aside the cloth so that the light could make its impression on the film.

What this exhibition offers is the sense of astonishment that only an artist’s genius can create. Silvio Balestra has the sensitivity of he who lives and breathes art. A lover of ancient and Renaissance painting, he has a discerning eye for modern works with an ancient nobility, the poetry of he who would depict what only poets can describe. Perhaps this is why he spends time in Umbria and works with painter Elvio Marchionni, with whom he studies perception of the figure, neo-Renaissance art and the synthetic construction of the image with time (Chronos) and the symbols of ancient beauty (Aphrodite). There are clear signs of the study and development that Balestra has carried out on Man Ray’s 1922 production, but his photography is neither representative nor figurative in the iconological sense. He uses the photographic medium in its etymological derivation – the medium is light with no filters or parameters, and Balestra’s work describes its form and gives it figurative shape.

He studies the mechanical physics of light as it makes an impression on film. Light becomes a brush and gives figurative form to emotion, sensation and sentiment. When I saw his work I had the perception that what I was actually seeing was the image of an interior universe, a sort of mirror that reflected what the anatomical eye cannot perceive without synesthesia. Silvio Balestra’s photography is abstract, then, but his abstractism is not antithetical to mimesis, it is pure emanation of its creator’s interior life. In these works light enters the artist’s mind, illuminates his memories and makes experience memory. What the artist offers is the timeless ineffable moment that cannot be expressed in words. It is the flash which strikes us when we find ourselves able to feel emotions despite everything and everyone, it is the curve that describes a thought which becomes an idea and then action, it is that strange shape – unrecognisable to our common, trivially physical and physiological senses but unmistakable to those of us still able to risk our hearts and minds. It is in the union between emotion and rationality that the work of this “abstract photographer” is founded. He uses pure light as though it were pure colour, tearing through the black which acts as a border between the gloomy, negative compact background and the infinite space of the interior universe.

His language thus uses elemental forms devoid of recognisable elements – the eye scans the dark black of the night and is illuminated by a light taken by the artist from arcane, eternal harmonies.

In Balestra’s work black-and-white is dualism, counterposition and equilibrium, yin and yang. He manages to construct a remarkable harmony on his film, as if he had captured the invisible and the ineffable and enabled them to materialise and become part of the perceptible. A luminous line, a surface that becomes space, to be penetrated and explored. But his work is clothed in dynamism, in which line and form are in a state of becoming. The artist is able to arrest the moment – not for itself or simply out of rhetoric, but to enable the observer to empathise and enhance the moments to come. To Silvio Balestra time is an ever-present, irremovable entity. What colours it and slows its rush is fixing the emotion, the very movement of a thought or an idea, like the music of a soundless voice. His art is not surrealism, he invents no fantastic other-worldly or metaphysical places. What he offers is the vision of a concept that can have no word – as he himself says: “The artist is an entity engaging in wordless dialogue.”

Silvio Balestra gives figurative form to what par excellence cannot have a figure, he enters the very essence of the soul and lays bare its structure to the point of inventing a new way of rendering the work which is also a representation of the concept.

The titles of his works are gateways to the mystery of his creations: Dark silences, Escape routes, Fading scene, Oneiric oases, Light cells, Crossing the boundary, Breaths of wind, Birth of an emotion, Presences. In no way random or obvious, they are codes enabling us to read the route rather than the image, because the image stays like an instant stolen from the window of a moving train, a train which Balestra knows will never return to the station it departed from. But before the journey’s end this artist wants us to rediscover what is behind our feelings, and we would do well to let his light illuminate, at least a little, the darkness of our nights.

Alberto D’Atanasio

Lecturer in the Semeiology of Non-verbal Languages and History of Art

MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND THE UNIVERSITY

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Dal catalogo “Esposizione triennale di arti visive a Roma 2014 – Last Paradise” a cura di Daniele Radini Tedeschi

La sua arte a colto appieno il segno della contemporaneità, tanto da crare opere originate non dal mero frutto manuale ma dalla pura creazione della mente.
Quella di Balestra è una “pittura digitale ” resa del tutto innovativa attraverso l’ ausilio e l’ uso di applicazioni software come il foglio di calcolo Excel .
La sua arte è stata presentata  in diverse mostre  collettive  e personali , in fiere d’arte , oin Italia e all’ estero, ricevendo numerosi ed importanti premi.
Creatività, concettualità, contemporaneità sono gli elementi cardini di un lavoro che si incentra sulla luce, una luce colta nella sua pienezza naturale che gioca con gli inversi ; il maggior numero di lavori di Balestra si incardina prevalentemente sugli equilibri instabili di bianco e nero , di luce e ombra,superando l’ astrattismo e il figurativismoe dialogando in tensione con lo spettatore.
Lo spazio e il tempo si annullano per divenire meravigliosa forma illusoria ,sottile e leggiadra che arriva immediatamente alla mente e ai sensi.
Le sue opere sono intrise di forte dinamismo,attinto con probabilità dai fratelli Bragaglia,Maestri del Fotodinamismo futurista. La lezione di Anton Giulio Bragaglia che voleva apportare una rivoluzione nel campo fotografico, perv purificare,nobilitare ed elevare ad arte tale disciplina superando l’ immobilità per coglierne la dinamicità, è stata assolutamente colta , ne sono dunque esempio a distanza di decenni ,i lavori di Silvio Balestra.
A partire dal ciclo Antitesi la cui eseenza è scandita  dalla presenza-assenza, gli oggetti immateriali presentati al suo interno sono generati da un’ abbagliante luce speranzosa, netta è dunque la separazione cromatica dei non colori, capaci anche di fondersi in uno sfocato grigiore, una tonalità di cui fare a meno nella vita. Nulla è stabile  tutto deve ancora crearsi ,ed è la sensibilità individuale  e l’ individuale soggettività a materializzare il tutto.

In Beats l’ artista  sviluppa accennate manipolazioni geometriche come vibranti apparizioni che emergono con forza esplosiva dal nero assoluto.
Il connubio bianco-nero è senza paragone, crea un universo dove poter spaziare liberamente nell’ infinito  e dove forme armoniche si costituiscono in centripeti andamenti, come in Moving.

Il ciclo Confronti ha la capacità di ipnotizzare, riuscendo a fondere lo spettatore con l’opera in un viaggio  in esterno e interno da realizzarsi in esteriorità ed interiorità sensoriale e percettiva.

Scritture e Alfabeti pone in evidenza linguaggi sconosciuti che appartengono all’ intimità dell’ essere umano , capaci di realizzarsi  mediante scritture  e di concretizzarsi  con il bagliore della luce, come un invito   a ritrovare dentro di noiun linguaggiom composto da essenze plurime che si differenzieranno a seconda dell’ individuo.

In Progresss porta con sè la bellezza insita dell’ evoluzione  e del cambiamento, alle forme morbide e immateriali si contrappongono concettuali scale della mente , tutto è costruibile e sviluppabile  mentalmente piu’ che fisicamente con salite ideali in cui il punto di arrivo è un profondo mistero.

Silvio Balestra guarda nei suoi lavori non solo a forme geometriche  ispirate ma anche al paessaggio , ne è esempio il ciclo Natura in cui immortala quello che rimane di sfreccianti alberi, la verticalità disarmante  richiama probabilmente alle opere ” Bosco e Oele” di Piet Mondrian e ai “Pioppi di Lombardia” di Angelo del Bon.

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EXHIBITIONS

2008

Triest – solo exhibition  – City Hall

2009

Rome –  Galleria Rossocinabro – group show
Ferrara  –  Estensi Castle  – Galleria Artinvest (Rivoli To ) – group show
Roma –  Galleria Rossocinabro – group show
Triest –  Savoia Excelsior Palace Hotel  –  solo show
Turin – Arteinluce – Studio d’arte 20 –  group show
Norway, Oslo – Artfair
Forli’ – Contemporanea ArtFair  – Galleria Alba Ferrara
ReggioEmilia  – Immagina Artefair – Galleria Artinvest Rivoli Turin
Canada , Montreal – Gora Gallery  – Solo Exhibition

2010

Rome –  Openart Award group show
Rome – Galleria Rossocinabro – group show
Cremona – Galleria Immagini Spazio Arte – group show
Torino – Galleria Unique – group show
Treviso , Careano S. Marco Villa Benzi – Nuove proposte per l’ arte contemporanea   curated by Vittorio Sgarbi
Verona – Luxury&Yachts Fair
Milan – AAM Arte accessibile Milan Fair  – Spazio Sole24h
Turin, Villa Gualino  –  Internazional Italia Arte 2010 Award group show
Germany , Colonia – ItaliansArt , Istituto italiano di cultura  group show
Firenze , Certaldo –  Italia per le arti visive Award
USA , California – Black & White Magazine  Merit Award Contest 2010
Treviso , Asolo – Biennale internazionale d’arte  Honorable  Mention  in photography and computer graphic
Cernobbio , Villa Erba  – AAC Arte accessibile Cernobbio  – group show
Czech Republic  , Prague  – Galleria Brehova – group show  – patrocinio Istituti ital. di cultura di Praga
Verona  – Associazione culturale A2 , Cargo 20 –  group show
Cina , Pechino – International Artfair  , World Trade Center
Tuscany Chianciano -Honorable mention International Photography and Digital Art Award  – museo d’ arte di Chianciano
Turin – Turin Photofestival 2010
Milan  – Wannabee Prize  International Art Contest 2010  , finalista
Verona – Palazzo della Ragione – Artistica 2010  solo show
Monreale – Museo d’arte contemporanea  public collection
Turino – Galleria Unique –  Equilibrio perfetto ,  solo show

2011

USA S.Barbara CA – “International Contemporary Masters 2011” edizioni World wide Art Book
Parma –  Artistinmostra 2011 Fair ,  1°  Award  in   photography  section  ,  finalist at   Computer graphic Award
Milano – AAM Arte accessibile Milano – Spazio Sole24h
USA , California – Black & White Magazine  Merit award Contest 2011
Turin – Palazzo Barolo, Torino Arte 150 group show
Barletta – Centro culturale Zerouno De Nittis  Foundation –  group show
Milano – Arte 2011 Award  selected   photography section  , Cairo editore
Turino – 54° Biennale Internazionale d’arte di Venezia  , Padiglione Italia  Palazzo delle Esposizioni  a cura di Vittorio Sgarbi
Tuscany Fiesole  – Galleria del Teatro romano –  group  show

2012

Venice – Art in the city Venice, Premio speciale Italy 150° Art fair – group show Progetto delle illustrazioni del libro d’ arte per bambini e ragazzi  di G. Sammito “Dal mare una leggenda ” edizioni Campanotto
Milano – Prosta Mia  , Milan Image Artfair 2012
Treviso , Asolo – Biennale internazionale d’arte  menzione d’ onore  per la  fotografia

2013

Rome – Museo Chiostro del Bramante ,solo show C 3 : Creatività, Concettualità,Contemporaneità  curated by  Giovanni Faccenda ,catalogo ArteInbooks
Milan – Proposta Mia , Milan Image Artfair 2013 , selected  for Codice Mia , portfolio lecture  international jury
Venezia , Favaro V.to – Galleria ORLER  – speciale televisivo con Dario Olivi
USA – 8th Black&White Spider Awards , Nominee at abstract photography section , internalional jury

2014

Germania, Monaco –   “Internationale Kunst Heute – 2014” IKH publishing  – artbook
Treviso , Asolo – Biennale Internazionale d’ arte di Asolo , 1° place photography award
Rome – Esposizione Triennale di Arti visive a cura di Radini tedeschi  , presentata da Achille Bonito Oliva e da Philippe Daverio
Università La Sapienza e Biblioteca Nazionale di Castropretorio – opera in copertina del catalogo edizioni G.Mondadori
USA – 9th Black&White Spider Awards , WINNER HONORABLE Mention at abstract photography section , internalional jury
Milano – 50° CAM   Catalogo dell’ arte moderna , edizioni Giorgio Mondadori

2015

Trieste – NOWHERE _NOWHERE  Studio&show di Silvio Balestra ,  Atelier solo show  “..oltre la fotografia” in collaborazione con BIM  banca Intermobiliare di Investimenti e gestioni
USA Black & White Magazine CONTEST 2014 WINNER PORTFOLIO  SPOTLIGHT Issue 2015
ESPOSIZIONE COLLATERALE A Trieste Antiqua – Castello di Miramare Scuderie
FINALISTA  al PREMIO Internazionale  7th POLLUX AWARD  Fineart Photography section Biennale di Fotografia  Trezzo sull’ Adda – Milano Expo 2015 curata da Vittorio Sgarbi
GRAZIE ITALIA  mostra  collettiva Officina delle Zattere Venezia patrocinio del Pad. Del Guatemala e Grenada 56° Biennale di Venezia
USA  Winner HONORABLE Mention  10th Black&White SpiderAward Abstract photography section
USA Nominee 9th Colorawards
Milano – 51° CAM   Catalogo dell’ arte moderna , edizioni Giorgio Mondadori

2016

Milan ARTEINVESTIMENTI  Artdelear & Gallery  solo show  satellite Tv SKY 868
XI ° International Contemporary Artist Art Book  by  Julia Adison  ICA Publishing

New York USA /Athen GREEK CAM 52° Modern Art Catalogue by Giorgio Mondadori – Photography section

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