Critical note of Floriano De Santi

the plots of the "lost time" in Antonio Haupala's work


The main idea that guides Antonio Haupala’s painting is to take back the image to a vital intensity and intimacy that privilege the essential. But this happens in an expressive and equally “decorative” way — with small parts that vibrate on many scenes and on figures that are unquestionably feminine, with warm and suffused colours, and with musical and persuasive shadings — and that doesn’t deny the Erfahrung, the symbolist experience, but takes it to a form that, just because it wants to dissolve in a colour-rhythm, which is nearer to the contemplative idea of the artist, gives life to a silhouette in which every red or green or yellow colour extends in calibrated chromatic scores, setting a particular spatial position in the painting. Now I go outIt’s a path that takes us back to our central European tradition and to a representation that is mindful of what happened in the artistic field between the nineteenth and the twentieth century. Obviously, Haupala is a contemporary painter. But this twofold and maybe contradictory stylistic feature — to be modern and to remember the past, to have spent the adolescence in Asia and also have Asiatic origins can appear very Italian- joins with a special conception of the definition of the pictorial atmospheres, that allows even Haupala’s oriental palette (the one, to be clear, of some oil-paintings like Yasodhara and Siddharta, and The smoking Woman) to remain inside the pictorial dictation, which is very far from the picturesque one. Haupala establishes comparisons between absolutes, the Lieblicher Blaue — to quote Holderlin — or other figurative essences, the space-structure on one hand and the human figures on the other hand, without ever exceeding that realism which, on the contrary, Matisse candidly broke, and he consecrates numen lumen evanescence. Haupala’s determinations, which are of an aesthetic-constructive and not empirical kind, real plastic elaborations of the observation through isolation and of the exaltation of the specific formal qualities, are at the base of many lyrical effects that derive just from the reduction of the indicative element for its mere memory vibration. In short, Haupala frames the iconic suggestions in thematic and semantic stations that concern essentially women experiences (The acrobats, The tailors, The cooks, The two friends, The game of draughts, The magician). These experiences are anyway translated, by lighting and polychrome derivations, in a kind of field, which is perceptive of greater depths. The artist creates real figural suites in which everything musically changes but at the same time everything remains intact. The decorative outlines, the continuous purifications of the figurative nucleus, the contrasts of light and shadow, the perspective diagonals or repoussoir, whose compositive fiction is very near to the illusion of depth, the vertical strokes that mark the surface, or the coulisses that have the task of putting the view right in the centre concentrating here the feeling, the schemes, even metaphorical, on which is based a big system of compositional connections, are some of the Haupala’s elements of the paysage de style. They realize a kind of transcendence of the daily occurrence through the study of the happenings and of the luminous contrasts, of the shapes and of the surfaces: sometimes even renouncing to a strong drawing structure in order to leave space to the “significant colour”.


Night PastimesThe most diffuse and refined richness of feelings, like the most intelligent understanding of the new stylistic principles, can be expressed in the measure of an anecdote, apparently reduced, of a seen thing, of a fable. To the allegoric compositions, full of messages and programs, Haupala prefers and substitutes the simple images of an affectionate and silent chronicle. To the elaborate and external rhythms, to the esoteric and ingenuous arabesques, to the dry purism that the excited post moderns deduce from the works of Ranson and of Puvis de Chavennes, he opposes a language which is equally sophisticated but which has a much different sharpness and measure, and which is regulated by a poetic syntax  that is extremely careful to respect the main values of the painting. In the frames of 2002, The Woman With the beret and The silk shawl, Haupala starts from the direct observation, from the barest and most sincere emotion, and transmits it with the most rarefied cleanliness, with very cultured formal plays, but his aim is to sharpen its meaning of feelings, to make clear his own personal subtle opinion of that image. And when the following year, with The great spectacle and with Night pastimes, he puts us on the way of the decorative arabesque or of the sinuous outline, of the modern style, he does it openly, also smiling for the specious theoretical justifications of many artists of his generation, and indulges completely in the curly and intense grace of more datable manner. I t’s known how much important were, in Hauapala’s culture, the maladive sensibility of Verlain, the crystal-clear language of Proust and Atelierthe open measured clearness of Bonnard and of Vuillard. It should be also mentioned a short influence of the anguished poetry, of the psychological anxiety and of the erotic torment of the northerners. Starting from paintings like The glasses cleaning and Sharazad it’s possible to catch some links with certain hallucinated images of Munch; but they are not more than allusions, parenthesis, but are indicative, anyway, of the complexity of the artist inspiration, of his careful sharing the interests of his time. In the more recent works- from Evening thoughts to The awakening and to Alessandra in the veranda- the intensity and the tone of the colours change, but Haupala’s creative works are always arranged according to a rare and remarkable tonal undulation, based on suggestions of real light, and to the search for a language of correspondences de formes. Now objects and shapes are created in a pearly substance, of a dim light ( The atelier), now, instead, they are scanned by an arduous game of strong and opposite colours, of acrimonious and careful counterpoints ( Now I go out! ). The nuance and the more intense juxtaposition alternate and merge; every thing, every environment, every gesture, is found in the duration of feeling: there is, in these images, the theme of the “time lost” by Proust.

Floriano De Santi - 2004



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