MICHELE DEL CAMPO

(November 14 – December 2, 2011)

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THE OLD BOAT
Oil on canvas, 80 x 130 cm.
THE OLD BOAT CAR CEMETARY THE DESCENT THE PASSAGE THE FIGHT THE REMAINS

Michele del Campo has depicted the anxiety of European youth, using his brush to break through the violent wall that separates the London suburbs from the photographs dreamed of by tourists. Europe, for the Italian artist, is what the financial analysts tell us and no one understands: a territory that has lost its way, where questions abound but answers are scarce, a place where the future has taken on a bitter and no doubt indecipherable appearance. “Al otro lado” (“On the Other Side”), the painting pictured at the start of this text, is a concentration of the spirit found throughout “Viaje de no retorno” (“Journey of No Return”), the artist’s exhibition on display at Enlace Gallery in San Isidro. In this work, two young people confront one another while their peers lay back indolently. Around them, the city is split in two: on one side, the landscape is dominated by graffiti and a broken-down car; on the other, enormous buildings seem to glimmer in the sky. It is the fight between the modern and the remains that this very modernity has left in its wake. There is no going back: all we can do is let ourselves go. “The exhibition talks about the feeling of loss and depression that many young people feel today when they are unable to fit in to society or feel left out of it. Young people want to follow trends, they worship at the altar of the image that the media shows them, but when they are unable to achieve their goals, they simply let themselves go,” explains Del Campo. Michele del Campo, the self-defined symbol of desolation, is a child of the Italian realist tradition whose paintings combine the rawness and coldness of photorealism with the symbolic evocation of desolation. In one of his central works—entitled “Camino a la oscuridad” (“Path into Darkness”)—we see a beautiful blond woman walking naked on the train tracks, headed into a tunnel. In “El paso” (“The Passage”) (left), another female walks into the verdant sea, looking for death under a façade of extreme serenity. Here, the distance between the spectator and the work is eliminated—this is precisely one of Del Campo’s objectives—leaving only the viewer’s journey into a painful universe full of metaphors, a way of comprehending glory as something they will never attain. In the Italian artist’s works, there is not a single element out of place: from the dogs sniffing at the rubble of a city destroyed by multinational industries to the figures who initially seem secondary, but in fact express all of the rage contained in their rebellion against a world that has already turned its back on them.