The idea of this show is splendid: a confrontation of the new and the old faces of Rome. A confrontation between old stone, new photography and new painting.
Fabio Sargentini is more than a simple dealer. An artist and poet of sorts himself, he has always orchestrated theme-shows in his gallery, some moving, some outlandish. Here he has set Di Stasio, one of the painters of his stable who is involved in a new sort of surrealism called Anacronismo, the task of creating counterpoints in oil to photographs of ancient Roman portrait busts in the Capitoline Museums. Ten photos by Delogu of ancient Romans meet head-on with ten views painted by Di Stasio of modern Romans with the same features. Of course imperial Rome wins. Its faces are severe, consistent, vivid. The faces of the new surrealism are languishing in a surround of far-fetched scenery.
The emperor Caracalla in stone is a wily glum ruler, looking sour, but he is sharp and dignified. His counterpart by Di Stasio in oil, probably a metalmeccanico, bathed in the ruddy glow of an industrial plant, standing in contaminated swampwater, is not. Di Stasios melancholy latter-day surrealism may echo the Roman faces of today, but its poetry is tired. And when you look at the faces in your neighbourhood, in the market, in the caf, they are more hip than the faces in Di Stasios portraits but yes, they do look like the old faces in stone.
However, this show of juxtapositions is a challenge and stimulates more thought on Rome. Associazione Culturale LAttico, Via del Paradiso 41, tel. 066869846.