The artist will be present at the vernissage, back from a series of prestigious exhibitions in museums such as the Fondation Boghossian in Brussels and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon. For his first Italian exhibition he produced a complex of works, representing the synthesis of his expressive research.
The title has a double reference. the vertigo as sense of precariousness and continuous motion emanating from the artist’s works and the fireflies from the title of a text by Pier Paolo Pasolini (on the centenary of his birth), which deals with themes similar to those of Barreto’s research.
“The Disappearance of Fireflies”, is the title of the article that Pasolini published on 1 February 1975 in which he alluded – like Barreto’s paintings – to the dramatic loss of values, the depletion of the environment and the degeneration of the anthropological system to the benefit of a process of production and consumption, which generates widespread disparities and global migration.
The techniques employed by Barreto range from drawing to painting, from collage to mixed media to plastic assembly, as shown by the works on display.
Barreto always starts from his origins and from the disparities within the African continent and with a constant militant commitment he underlines in his paintings, metaphorically, the impossibility of improvement and elevation as well as a pervasive sense of precariousness. His works are studded with figures and objects that have lost their balance and their original function to float in an endless wandering in search of a stability albeit temporary, in a space without real references, temporally suspended.
Cartons (also macerated), polymateric collages, recycled objects, the materials used by the artist are residues of the industrial and commercial process, that serve to mark the link with everyday life and with the productive and consumer dimension that is responsible for today’s imbalances.
Similarly, the series of “Tongs”, (flip-flops), abandoned on exotic tourist beaches, become plastic works thanks to a creative process that recalls the dadaist modified ready-made, reinterpreted in an upcycling key. The cycle of paintings of the “flags”, internationally known, becomes a critical statement that illustrates the conventional nature of political signage, the distortions of power that extends to space, expressed through borders and frontiers, which can be safely crossed by goods but not by human beings.
As the artist himself states “I have always been looking for an open and sensitive pictorial expression, which evokes the situation of instability and inequality that we face daily and that represents an imperfect and inconsistent individual like the human being. A pictorial expression that speaks of my origins and future possibilities”.