Van Gogh. I colori della vita

Padua, Centro San Gaetano
10 October 2020 - 11 April 2021

Matteo Massagrande
The trees and the mine

Trees could be seen all around the Borinage coal mine, where for almost two years, between the end of 1878 and 1880, Vincent van Gogh sought one of those human relations that were always so difficult for him. At the time it was that with the miners, to whom he preached the Word of the Holy Gospels. Though with no great results. And sometimes he found himself alone in the little house where he was supposed to have read them the Bible. Alone in that house facing onto a narrow street in Petit Wasmes, with many trees and much desolate countryside outside.

Matteo Massagrande decided to start from there, from that coal mine now closed for decades. He chose to leave from there to accompany Van Gogh in his painting of trees during his short life. During his even shorter life as a painter. The trees that now, in winter, are a jagged tangle of branches, small marbled seas of sky, as Massagrande painted them. And they peep out of the big windows, which is all that remains of that mine. A raft, a relic left to go adrift and that painting miraculously brings back to life, because painting saves, protects from all evil. It represents time in its uniqueness. The time that Matteo Massagrande’s paint spreads over a surface inhabited by fate.

Van Gogh scattered his work, scattered his life, with trees. Trees dripping with light and matter, techni- color trunks in the indigo of evening or the fiery sunset that occurs in the world. Massagrande runs after him, is running after him, tree after tree, sky after sky in which these branches and trunks are encysted, communicate, speak to one another. The roughness of the bark is in front of some undergrowth and before the blue, immutable apparition of the sky. Today’s painter follows that of yesterday, sometimes he calls him as if to ask him a secret, but then he continues and his painting becomes the account of a song of the spirit. They are the trees and the mine.

exhibition curated by
Marco Goldin

Padua, Centro San Gaetano
10 October - 27 November 2020