MAX KUATTY (1930-2011)
Max Kuatty was born at Canneto sull’Oglio (Mantova).
His first artistic experience initiated in Paris and Milan, where he started his studies at the Academy of Brera under Patella, Gadaldi and Moro.
During his stay in Paris in 1956, he met and admired Pollock, Poliakoff, Riopelle and Tapies.
His participation at French-Belgian movement is of the same period, while his first international successes date from the ’60s and ’70s.
The years spent in Milan and in Paris were very important for Max Kuatty, he had then the occasion to meet directly some of the most famous figures of the artistic world, such as Jackson Pollock and Alberto Burri.
A decisive moment in Kuatty’s artist career, but also in his human evolution, is represented by the encounter with the French critic Pierre Restany, who will accompany most of his artistic existence as a sort of alter ego or “catalyst” that can focus and crystallize the deepest insights.
In August 1978 Restany realizes, on the occasion of his trip by boat along the Rio Negro, “The Rio Negro manifesto of Integral Naturalism” that, republished within a catalog of works by Kuatty, is the brightest exemplification of his theoretical postulates.
In the art fild the “Integral Naturalism” defines an attitude of pure, spontaneous and total approach of consciousness to the nature and its secrets.
Covering a span of time ranging from 1956 to 1970, Max Kuatty’s paintings attempt to capture, magnified and transfigured by a meticulous rendering, the true essence and pristine natural fact: the tactile effect of bark trees and of subtle texture fiber matches with shades of awesome varieties that show which “essential naturalism” in the art may inspire the Amazonian environment, the last “tank … full of nature on our planet.”
Infact Amnon Barzel writes that: “the natural non-interrupted wood surfaces by Kuatty represent an act of listening, rather than an interference: they are a result of the abstract paintings which he did in the ’60s directing our visual imagination towards the illusion of wood-surfaces.” (from Max Kuatty, Gall. Civica d’Arte Moderna, Ferrara, Palazzo dei Diamanti 1982)
As we can realize by the words of Restany: “the key to an understanding of the work of Max Kuatty: … he was determined to erase all complementary and superfluos elements in order to attain to a pure musical score, so to speak, with very few notes, and with a writing, a voice, and what we might call an elementary, determinant and fundamental texture.” (from Max Kuatty, by Pierre Restany “The Rio Negro Manifesto of Integral Naturalism” Cegna Editore 1980)
Max Kuatty’s artistic research arrives in the ’90s to an experience that revolves around the world of the printed paper. Dates back to March 1990 an exhibition at the contemporary art gallery “B & B Art” of Mantua, in which the absolute protagonists are matrices of newspapers, without any embellishment or aesthetic manipulation, presented in their bare essence of supports for written words.
Kuatty therefore proposed the idea to stop in time the news of the newspapers, which usually “live and die” in the space of a day.
The writings displayed in succession before the eyes of the viewer relive and create a kind of osmosis between the works and the public. In this regard Restany wrote: “The great wisdom and great insight of Max Kuatty have meant that these documents were not altered by the intervention of aesthetic: it is precisely the testimony of the intrinsic organic material that matters and the additive human would even be useless and almost pathetic “(Pierre Restany, Carmelo Strano,” Max Kuatty. “1990 B & B Art).
At this point the artistic career of Kuatty can be summarized as follows: to the period of naturalism, in which the artist takes ownership of the material, it follows the period in which he reappropriates the word and, finally, the most recent, in which he reappropriates the “image”.
Tommaso Trini writes about Max Kuatty: “he has practically reinvented the ancient art of the fresco. He has perfected an unusual chemistry of plastic material and photosensitive reagentes. This allows him to model anywhere and to rapidily carry out a new type of syntghetic fresco, which proves to be more rapid when applied to the wall and decidely more portable given that it also quickly adapts itself to canvas, paper and wood.”
Restany writes: “ In the moment in which the destiny of the pictorial image became increasingly more conditioned by the intervention of photomechanical processes, Max Kuatty revolutionized the art of the portrait.
The starting point is photography in its most direct and immediate conception, that of the Polaroid. The film image of the model is then affixed on a complex support which evokes the solemn and sublimating morphology of the retable, the Renaissance altarpiece. The generic title of Max Kuatty’s portraits takes account of this two-fold reference: Polaretable – Pola(roid) and retable.
In this way the Polaretables cross the art of two centuries – the Quattrocento and the Cinquecento – and in the form of the sinopia applications of the fresco.
How can these large images produced by a Polaroid inscribe themselves – similar as they are to a “fresco tear” – on paper, canvas, on wood or the wall with the immemorable patina of an infinite history/story? It is here that all of the alchemical magic of the painter comes into play. The refinement of this appropriative technique is breathtaking”. (Codex Codicum)
“The pleasant story of Max Kuatty, therefore, is a profound one; it is a reading in depth, a return to the sources of human experience and especially of man’s perceptive experience. It is a retum to the pure springs of our sensibility “. Pierre Restany
Among the major exhibitions we can remember those in Milan (Palazzo Reale), Mantova (home of Mantegna), Ferrara (Palazzo dei Diamanti), Rome (Palazzo Barberini) and Paris (Centre Pompidou).
In 1995 he was invited to the Venice Biennale (the New Europe, edited by Carmelo Strano).
Between 1998-99 he made 24 portraits of the Nobel Peace Prize for Codex Codicum Opera, published on the occasion of the 1st World Summit of Nobel Peace which was held in Rome at the Campidoglio, on 21-22 April 1999.
In 2000, Max Kuatty creates images for Nobel Peace Laureate Organizations.
We can find his works in the most important museums and public and private collections in Italy and abroad.