Renata Boero

A colored sign that unfolds in time and space

By La Galleria Nazionale

Unione (1977) by Renata BoeroLa Galleria Nazionale

The Reason of Reason

Those who live our time and witness the ever more rapid and overwhelming passage of 'values' into 'things', of both intellectual and manual works into 'commodities', cannot remain inert, but perhaps ironic or even skeptical. A stance is required, an act to testify one’s presence – without idolizing oneself – to overturn – or at least to try to do so – for oneself and for others the course of the degradation of man, of his relationships with others, of his own work.

A course which may not be such, if only one were willing to. For these reasons that I feel political as well as moral, even if they belong to a sphere more of affection and sensitivity than of rationality (or rather the ideological organization of my work), I approached the 'things' of nature – herbs, lands, smells and colors – without the rhetoric of feelings or the nostalgia of lost time or the decadent aspiration to a distant and primitive world, and hour after hour I lived with them the surprising story of transformations.

Unione (1977) by Renata BoeroLa Galleria Nazionale

The interest in me is aimed at understanding the processes, and, where and if possible, the logical and almost scientific prediction of them, of results, of effects.

It is therefore not a question of a pathological 'return to nature', but of a return, indeed, to the simplest natural objects – magical, ritual, healthy – according to the extent of feelings and reason, in order to reach through a deeper knowledge of them a fairer and more vital relationship not only with the things of the earth, but also with the men who inhabit this earth, with their most erotic and deep-rooted habits, with the rites of their societies, with the sacredness of their living together.

It is clear that I see in my working on things and with things a concrete and non-spiritualistic tension towards “reality”, which we can better know through anthropology or politics, but which we can approach ex radicibus in order to operate our (perhaps not unrealistic) resolution: the passage from things to values, from the subjectivity of work to a broader sharing, from sensitivity or sensuality to the 'reason of reason'.

Renata Boero

Unione (1977) by Renata BoeroLa Galleria Nazionale

Renata Boero
(Genoa, 1936)

After her humanistic studies in a college in Switzerland, where she had approached Jungian thought, Renata Boero completed her training in Genoa, with Emilio Scanavino at Liceo Artistico Barabino. Her debut as of 1958 is part of an exhibition and award circuit that ensures her awards and acquisitions, including participation in the 1959 Quadrennial.

Starting from the 1960s, Boero felt intolerant of a certain mode of doing painting and began to search for a new relationship with nature, which from the figurative level and as a representation of the visible turns towards a “nature recovered through painting”, as Paolo Fossati epitomized.

Unione (1977) by Renata BoeroLa Galleria Nazionale

It was the beginning of a non-linear research path that sediments different experiences: pieces that germinate in a discontinuous way, in the encounter with matter, with the bodily gesture, with nature, the magic, the symbolic and politics.

In the 1960s, her studio became her home – the Genoa apartment where she lived as a mother and artist, overlapping life and work, far from the exhibition circuits and relationships with the market. The Cromogrammi were born in this period.

Cromogramma (1972) by Renata BoeroLa Galleria Nazionale

The rhythmic dimension of a writing of color that unfolds in time and space is inherent in the definition of Cromogramma. The Cromogrammi are large folded canvases immersed in a chromatic material obtained from the maceration of roots and natural elements such as turmeric, henna, cochineal.

Boero documents her pictorial process in a series of cycles of photographic works, such as the one dedicated to hands: some sort of archive of gestures made by the artist’s hand (sometimes her mother’s hand is taken up) in painting, as if to bring the attention to the primary dimension of a generative act shifting the tension from the artwork to the work.

Over the years, the photographic materials relating to hand gestures have been assembled in sequences and reworked into video. The various montages were then displayed in the exhibitions next to or above the Cromogrammi themselves.

Through the projections, the exhibition space becomes a porous place that does not only welcome the pictorial works, but also the before and after of painting: that is, the procedures, the experience, the becoming in a multimedia tension.

Lara Conte

Credits: Story

Renata Boero and Lara Conte
The text quotes:
R. Boero, La ragione della ragione, in "Segno", 5, Sala Editori, Pescara, 1977, p. 11 (rip. in Cromogrammi, exhibition catalog, March 7-22 1979, Sala comunale d’Arte Contemporanea, Alessandria, 1979).
P. Fossati, Renata Boero, Edizioni Essegi, Ravenna 1997.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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