Looking at cities can give a special pleasure, however banal what one sees may be. Like an architecture, a city is a construction in space, but on an enormous scale, an artefact that can be perceived only in the course of long periods of time.
Representing a city and its typical features is often a complex business, the expression of both a profound sensitivity and an analytical capacity that takes shape through forms and configurations that aim at creating the most original picture possible. This is what, in different guises, Riccardo Perale develops through photographical research founded, above all, on an absolutely singular object like a vaporetto, around which, however, enchanted visions rise and flow, surfaces and lines are first launched then abandoned, founded on the conceptualisation of forms and colours that become something else compared to a context, to the origin of the shot and to an initial perception.
Riccardo Perale thus represents a reality made up of a sort of chromatic musicality that refracts the flow of the water, the floating of forms or the sense of a continuous movement where signs and flashes of light dissolve to then re-appear and re-present themselves in all their strength and energy, like presences that open to the city as if it were the centre of the world.
But Perale’s work moves and develops between abstraction and figuration, following complex stylistic traits, based on vivid chromaticism, trails of colour that fade away in the water, and stand out along and inside the Venetian palaces. The effect that Perale imposes on the object appears as a representation of speed and sequentiality, dynamism and movement, luminosity and energy. A fascinating path strikes out from this, constructed on the play of refractions and configurations, on the correspondence of spatial patterns that also become temporal places, and which, on the one hand, acquire different structures and, on the other, target the heart of the chromatic traits, and the multiple pulsations with which the moving objects are animated. In Perale’s images, one thus views a sort of digital painting, where the manipulation of the technological colour determines ambiguous forms, exposed by the virtual language through a process of discolouring that determines phantasmagorical, chromatic echoes. It is through the colours that the photographer moulds the object, x-raying the image in a decomposition/recomposition of forms, at whose source are precisely the portions of colour, processed and retranslated, contextualised and then again regrouped so as to give rise to new compositions, to stratifications that by overlapping and intersecting constitute the new object, formulating the other landscape.
One relevant example, in this sense, is exactly that of the series of vaporettos which, thanks to the optical effect unharnessed by the subtractions/additions of colour, overlap one above the other: thus there is the white on black, the yellow in correspondence of the red, following an intermittent sequence of echoes and references, of full and empty spaces, of presences and absences. In this perspective Perale conceptualises the image, making it different to its own identity, subtending on a persuasive cognition that sinks at one time in the water and at another in flashes of light, which produces divisionist style elements, elements typical of a pointillism, a painting cliché whose echo soars to the great “-isms”, with patches of colour that create fantastic places and surprising architectures. And where the object, i.e. the vaporetto, is only a pretext for a formal construction of the work, aimed at experiencing the character and the force of the image itself in the complexity of the forms from which it emerges. An “unfaithful” image, which becomes yet something else compared to the original figure, so much so that it leads to an abstract configuration. In this way, under the Rialto bridge there are coloured streaks of red, yellow and white that dictate the limits and traits of the image, intended to construct bulky masses that give body to explosive colours, magnetic forces, and whose movement navigates at supersonic speed. This is Perale’s code, which stretches beyond the form to affect a broader world, made up of sounds and impressions, perceptive vibrations but also of the cognitive character to delineate an operation, of a scientific nature first and foremost rather than aesthetic. And, certainly, much of the force of Perale’s images lies in the analytical-imaginative capacity, better still generative, to construct the image, using the chromatic sign to build the complete (?) form or, better, imperfect, “unfaithful”, in fact, in that it aims to provide a partial representation of a reality, already, instead, constructed conceptually. In exactly this sense, Perale’s work and research are the expression of a semiosis of the detail within which the object fathomed becomes something else not only compared to the whole, but, also, to the context that involves and determines it. Along this road, a rather significant role is played by rhythm, movement and speed, that give a pattern to the images following a time sequence able to structure the forms, making them visible beyond the shapeless. And transparency and light effects are also complements, two aspects which structure the images that draw substance from a look turned far away, in yet another time. The dark room was, of course, nothing other than a machine able to replicate automatically that system of representation – elaborated conceptually in De Pictura (1433) by Leon Battista Alberti – defined as the “Renaissance perspective”. And the idea of a perspective as a symbolic form, as a vision of the world, a Weltanschauung, able to create a thread to link today’s digital cameras to the Renaissance perspective system, also drives Perale’s research which, focusing on the means, involves at the same time buildings, architectures and the configurations of a city within which not only the objects are reflected – the vaporettos that are, in fact, the pretext for the representation and the photographic act – as much as the complexity of the forms which, in their ambiguity, are recognisable, and which are, effectively, the real text on which to generate and reconstruct an image to make faithful, real, around which to trace back a sign or, better, those signs that appear aesthetically beautiful to our eyes, if not actually sublime. These terms are absolutely pertinent to a desire of recognisability of a place, to that affective/emotional character within which to direct not only drives, as much as, and above all, visions. The transparent vision, certainly, that stands out from palazzo to palazzo, recovering symbols, affecting memories, too, to metamorphose a space so as to make it scenic, the selected place, at the basis of which is intense, bright, flashing light. Yes, the palaces that break up on the water seem almost a lightning bolt, the Canal Grande that becomes the scenic stage, of which Perale appears to be the leading actor but above all the director, following a Grotowskian form of the text, now visual, now sonorous, in that it is clear that on the water not only the image of the city is alive but, also, the sounds, noises and bustle that make it real and ideal. This is the further key, the other character, on which Perale envelops the city and where with effectiveness he focuses his eye, whose perception goes well beyond the object, to dig deep into it. And, finally, equally peculiar in the works of Perale are the prints, “digital”, of course, left “in concrete”, for how they are represented, both on the water and on the photographic film, as the force and power of the representation and of the generation that aims to sublimate the chromatic intensity to become, naturally, a concrete composition.