About Andrea Benetti
BIOGRAPHY OF ANDREA BENETTI Andrea Benetti, born in Bologna in 1964, has been expressing his pictorial talents for many years to the favor of both critics and the general public of the complex world of contemporary art. His work has been shown in highly prestigious venues, and is on permanent display in at least a dozen museums, public institutions and international collections. In December 2006, Benetti wrote the Manifesto dell'Arte Neorupestre (Manifesto of Neo Cave Art) which was later presented at the 53rd Venice Biennial in the Nature and Dreams pavilion, in Ca' Foscari University. Under the auspices of the Biennial, a catalogue was specifically introduced for the event, edited by Umberto Allemandi. In 2009, Andrea Benetti published a limited edition collectible book (the copies were numbered and signed by the artist), entitled "An Unusual Exploration into Velocity", that presents the artist's interpretation of the theme (twelve paintings on canvas) as well as innovative theses about velocity as it was seen by various civilizations throughout history, and the innate desire of man to dominate it. A dozen authoritative university professors joined the project, and supported Andrea Benetti's theses, by contributing essays to the book that outline their own view of velocity as it relates to their area of expertise. A few critical essays were penned by significant contemporary art experts. The volume has been acquisitioned internationally by museums, libraries, and other institutions. In July, 2010, the Bolognese painter was invited to exhibit his works at the 61st edition of the Michetti Award, the acclaimed international review of contemporary art that has been held every year since 1947 in the Michetti Museum. In November 2010, Andrea Benetti's Neo Cave Painting was shown at Palazzo Taverna (Rome), in the Legal Archives of Amedeo Modigliani, alongside the works of Giorgio De Chirico, Amedeo Modigliani, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Mario Schifano, Max Jacobs, Carlo Corsi, Jules Pascin, Guido Cadorin in a show called "Portraits d'artistes", curated by the President of the Modigliani archives, professor Christian Parisot and professor Pierfrancesco Pensosi. the project was presented to the press and television by critic Vittorio Sgarbi. At the same time of the show in Rome, and within the United Nations' program "Academic impact", the representative of Italy, Istituto Europeo Pegaso, donated Andrea Benetti's piece,"Against violence" to the permanent collection of the United Nations Headquarters. In May 2011, Benetti was invited by Salento University, School of Cultural Heritage to hold a seminar on Neo Cave Painting for the students of History of Contemporary Art presented by professor Massimo Guastella. In September 2011 Benetti's work was shown in the caves of Castellana, and the show was part of a program of research of contemporary art of the Cultural Heritage department of the University of Salento. On March 9th 2012, an important watermark in Andrea Benetti's career was reached with e acquisition of one of his works into the Collezione d'Arte del Quirinale (The Italian Executive's art collection). This brilliant achievement came about by request of President Giorgio Napolitano with the full support of professor Louis Godart, councillor for the conservation of cultural heritage of the Quirinale (executive government). The presentation in the Palazzo della Presidenza della Repubblica and specifically in professor Louis Godart's private offices lasted more than an hour while the professor praised Andrea Benetti's commitment and artistic abilities, proving to be a fine connoisseur of Neo Cave Art. A few months later, in May 2012, another of Benetti's paintings was accepted into the collection of the Museion, the ultra-futuristic museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Bolzano, Italy. In November of the same year, Benetti was invited by Roma Tre University, to hold a seminar on Neo Cave Painting for the students of Education Sciences. In the same month, another of his paintings was included in the collections of the Vatican. In March 2013 three further paintings were accepted in important collections: the MamBo Museum in Bologna, the Chamber of Deputies in Montecitorio Palace, and the Argentine Ministry of Justice and Human Rights in Buenos Aires. Currently other acquisitions are in progress - one by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Benetti will paint a fresco on artificial rock in the entrance tunnel of the famous Frasassi caves, in the province of Ancona beginning in spring 2014. ANDREA BENETTI'S WORKS AROUND THE WORLD LE OPERE DI ANDREA BENETTI NEL MONDO QUIRINALE ART COLLECTION (Roma - Italy) Acquired in the Art Collection "Caccia VII" - Oil and hennÃ¨ and acryllic on canvas, cm 50 x 100 (2010) COLLEZIONE D'ARTE DEL QUIRINALE (Roma - Italia) Acquisito nella Collezione d'Arte il dipinto "Caccia VII" Olio e hennÃ¨ e acrilico su tela, cm 50 x 100, (201
Benetti’s Neo Cave Painting
In this article, I’ll address Benetti’s invention of and specific style of Neo Cave Art; a pictorial concept that gave way to a manifesto that he presented at the Venice Biennale in 2009.
At first reading of the manifesto we see that Benetti has constructed a totally new formula, even though it is evident that his work is a mutation of the marvelous cave paintings of thirty to forty thousand years ago. He doesn't replicate nor even revisit that primitive artwork and his approach could easily extend beyond the painting medium.
He amplifies artwork that was produced in distant epochs and from there he goes on to produce a new genre that is one of the most interesting in the art world of recent times.
In 1879 de Santualo and his daughter stated that the Altamira Cave in Spain concealed paintings left there by prehistoric men; historians who specialized in prehistory broke out into boisterous laughter and were still laughing twenty years later.. Then Abbots Breuil and Cartailhac went to the site and the laughter was suddenly replaced by awe: the paintings were authentic, definitely painted by Paleolithic men. As far as esthetics go, they were no less beautiful than a great deal of modern painting. Awe is not a comely scientific attitude and scientists hold it in some contempt.
Painter Andrea Benetti does have that sensitivity, intuition and moments of genius; and he grasped the significance and the remarkable force of humans who many tens of thousands of years ago expressed their highest aspirations in images. He imagined it, then rationalized it and finally transferred these sensations into his own original painting style with pigments derived from unconventional materials in a prehistoric way – without copying it.. He brought a one-of-a-kind exhibit into the Castellana caves, showed his paintings there and projected a copy of his buffalo onto the rocky wall, but it wasn’t the bison of Altamira nor Lescaux. With an intuition that was more erudite than dramatic, he integrated the music of a famous contemporary composer, Frank Nemola, into the show. By doing so, he reminded us that scientists have pointed out that perhaps the concentration of cave painting occurs in the areas of the cave where the acoustics are the best.
So Benetti “lost” something of the primitive and “gained” something from his brothers lost in the abysses of time.; he has refused the theme of the ugly, animalesque primitive man dancing in the depths of the cave in front of images of buffalo in the hopes preparing his victory over they prey of his imminent hunt.
Perhaps it is through the artist, and not the anthropologist, that we will learn of the ancient holy men who descended into the bowels of the earth in order to use their marvelous artistic technique to paint the symbols of their spirituality, their concern for eternity.
I said above that Benetti didn’t copy the prehistoric buffalos or cave-wall symbols; his is a new idea, making the point that even though we are the children of a troubled century, we can start anew positively. All this without forgetting that art is such when it takes into consideration its own tradition. Michelangelo and Raffaello look to ancient works hoping to access good taste at the source. Raffaello sent his pupils to Greece so they could sketch the objects from the ancient world for him. In these objects he saw nature’s beauty; in remoter ancient times Proclus taught us in his comment of Timaeus that ideal beauty is made up of figures constructed wholly of our intellect.
Personally, I believe that paintings should be observed with the hope of discovering something held secret: more a secret of existence than a secret of art. So I say again that Andrea Benetti has not copied nor even reinterpreted anything. I have no hesitation in suggesting that perhaps Benetti’s operation is akin to that of Jung; the great psychoanalyst did not invent the term archetype, but he transformed it from Neo-Platonist philosophy and applied it to psychology. I believe Benetti proceeded in a similar fashion for his own artistic endeavor.
The symbols in the paintings have no relationship with life and personal experience. Certainly cancelled memories are stored away there, as well as forgotten experiences or historical shadows. I think Benetti may have re-elaborated upon a collective sub-consciousness which might explain the analogies which are almost certainly part of our common basis with far away cultures. In other words, we can perceive an archetypical experience of primordial imagery that stimulates in us the possibility of coming in contact with the essence of human experience.
Andrea Benetti’s work has a brilliant sense of plasticity, but he doesn’t want to express his abstract symbolism in contemporary abstract forms. And again, I would describe the implied metaphysics that he expresses as something like a complex thought that is concerned with eternity. It is precisely in this mindset that Benetti will soon "fresco" the artificial walls of the tunnels that men have constructed as an entrance to the natural caves. That is why these paintings, become “Neo-Cave” paintings, possess a timelessness that will persist unchanged in future centuries.
Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Italian Art of America
Curator of the "Nature and Dreams" Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale