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by Domenico Montalto

Laura Benedetti’s studio is the very private and industrious set of a performance of privacy, of a posing and revealing, through the truthful mirror of painting, of feelings and internal ghosts. The artist from Brescia – here at the first fitting examination of her path – makes the status of painting as “a second reality”, as a visionary paraphrase of life, capable of going “beyond” appearances to attain the depth of the self, relive in figurative paintings with polished, precious, admirable and in some ways old-fashioned execution.

The intellectual and composition clarity, the atmosphere of perfect execution which pervade the paintings which slowly come out of her studio, have very little to do with a certain persistent but almost stale popular “hyper-realism”, where the colour and warmth of life are cooled and frozen, in fact hibernated, in the affectation of photographic cloning, of the mere traced reproduction.

On the contrary, in the works of Benedetti (which, in any case, spring from the ideas and suggestions of photographs taken expressly by the painter herself) demonstrate a suggestive, involving, even hard encounter with life. What Benedetti is aiming for is something much more concealed and difficult than a mere image of what is real: it is, instead the objectification of the state of mind, emotion, subjectivity, interpretation and ambiguity of feeling, i.e. all those components which complicate and spoil the “realistic” effect of the painting, Laura offers us a reality which is not brazenly photographic or an icy retinal replication, but a sort of poetic super-reality, refined by the conspiratorial blinking of direction, pretence, the game of the parties shared by author and spectator.

Her feminine bare “rooms”, with chromatically flat backgrounds, are a personal theatre of feelings, anxieties, fears, senses of guilt, fragilities and enigmas. A theatre with clear and terse syntax where nude models (real not imaginary people, with a name and surname), always absorbed and melancholy, turn their gaze elsewhere, deny us their faces and features, almost fleeing from the invasive, embarrassing curiosity of those looking on. Portraits from above, from behind, on the diagonal, according to postures and perspective angles which are always deliberately complicated and unstable, constrained in narrow spaces if not in veritable boxes, sometimes curled up on a creased bed, these young women are the personification of a metaphysical claustrophobia, of a withdrawn and irremediable solitude, of a desire for escape blocked by a fatal tiredness, by a supreme idleness, by a slothful indolence. These women in the prime of life and carnality would like to abandon themselves, to break the encirclement of the frost, but cannot, or perhaps do not want to. Their undefended nudity translates the nudity and suffering of the conscience before the cruelty of things, before the struggle between love and disillusion. Laura’s painting is a tender “firm image” of the moment, the situation and the emotion.

On rare occasions the scene moves outside, with solemn collective ablutions in woods, where the woman is compared with a withdrawn, fleeing nymph. As the poet  Hugo von Hofmannsthal writes, “…even in art, beauty cannot be imagined without modesty”.

This desire to conceal, to elude, to desert, to refuse excessively indiscrete questions, shutting oneself away in an obvious pose of self, defence and shelter, finds a radical visualisation in the “screens”, where the separated object – already highly symbolic of this dimension of modesty – becomes the field and the background of precious, mono-chromatic almost conceptual paintings, of an empty space inhabited only by some gaunt, womanly emblem, such as, for example, an elbow. Here the female presence and identity are only alluded to per absentia, via negationis, even by denying their image and physicality. The woman declares here total, absolute flight.

Each work by Laura is the legacy of a demanding preparatory study of the scene and the composition, of a logical analysis of the painting and the profession, of a mandatory mental path which is established by the initial inputs, both visual and psychological, by the strategy of the studied spot lights and by the primary shadows which are then at the basis of the articulation of the full and empty spaces on the surface, of the mimesis of the reflections, of the fineness of the luminarist shades, in the exquisite and parsimonious range of pinks, greys, whites and blues, always gently connected.

In short, it is through a visual and conceptual mastery that Laura is able to offer us a “new” reality of the ordinary,  revisiting the inheritance of the past and the tradition of the modern – from Caravaggio to La Tour, from Velazquez to Vermeer, from Ingres to Von Stuck, from Hockney to Lucian Freud – in an authentically modern key.

Laura puts her trust in an art which becomes a vivid and flagrant analysis of herself through professedly pictorial means, i.e.  through the modesty of that “silent poetry”, as Leonardo defined painting, a means with which the artist speaks to us about herself and about us, at the same time. The apparently simplified paintings by Laura Benedetti,  should, on the other hand, be examined at length, read and reread in detail, caressed by the eye for a long time in order to enjoy not only their delicate tonality, but also their substantial relevance. In these paintings, the image “happens” like a progressive epiphany of shapes, colours, lights, in a authoritative perfectionism which is never pedantic or demonstrated, but instead, light and gentle.

In the flesh and physiognomy of these models – accomplices of the figurative ritual, we see the flow of the sap and blood of a dreamed reality, of a time removed from corruption, a time which does not deny discomfort and pain but which is like a musical pause: preserved, through the virtue of painting, by the will of the moment and by the evanescence of sensibility.

«The human race – states T. S. Eliot in  Quattro quartetti – cannot bear too much reality»: Benedetti is aware of this and for this reason, without allowing us to be tempted or diverted by the media fashions of the moment, by prevailing “virtuality”, she continues to work around her own project of realism, a peculiar stylistic code of imaginability of the real which confirms her as a painter of merit in today’s cultural context, documenting an unprecedented “case” of quality and value.



by Giovanna Capretti

Nudity as an enigmatic wrapping of feelings. The female body, exposed in its physicality, as a place in which to experiment the apparently contradictory expression of disarming sincerity and modesty together. Laura Benedetti’s nudes, in her first personal exhibition, by Domenico Montalto, on show at Aab from today go to the roots of femininity. And in a time of shameless corporeity, they declare the wish to recover a value of naturalness which has more to do with feelings than with sensuality.

Her portraits, drawn from life models or from photographs with a naturalism that is never crude, speak with gestures. Bodies depicted from behind, bending over or huddled up, forced into tight spaces, sometime fragmentary and always anonymous – faces hidden by hair or by the folds of the face – which speak of fragility and bewilderment before excessively vast horizons, of the need to make a nest to shelter the wounded soul. Even when the body is the object, exposed as an ornament beside vases and fruit bowls, the inner life is precluded. Until it becomes absence, unique traces of “feminine” objects – balls of wool and pincushions – waiting for a busy hand.

Behind the door, the artist looks at us with a glimmer of fear.



by Giampietro Guiotto

In the Laura Benedetti exhibition, by Domenico Montalto, the nudes, all female, remind us of the hyper-realist taste of the Sixties, characterised by an exasperated use of photography to produce a gallery of portraits painted from life models. The clarity of the pictorial trait and the tonal accuracy of the bodies seek the mimetic illusion of the academic nude paintings of the past, but the postures, so absorbed, in which the woman hides her face, seem to reflect the spirit of modern life.

The artist plays with the female body as if it were an advertising object, but at the same time she isolates t from its context in metaphysical situations which suddenly transform nudity into an artistic body. The perceptive ambiguity which accompanies the undisputed female beauty extends to the scenic inclination of the models, which play the role of absent presences or presences deliberately engaged in not revealing their face or their eyes, the windows of their life. The poses conceal the constraints of their soul and withhold the anxiety that seizes every movement, until it changes them into forgotten corporeal entities on a stretcher or among the sheets of a bed. Solitude, incapacity to react or to escape, submission or fear of death follow in a perceptive whirl, until they are purified as allegories of unexpressed and concealed pain. But the hiding of these women is also shelter, possible removal from the world, as the screens constructed by the artist suggest.



by Beppe Rocca

In the figurative curvature of the body, the meditative symbolism of modesty and absorption which inspires a poetic property, revealed and concealed, re-definable beyond the norm.

Suggestive, unusually spiritual, description of the essence. Harnessed in the light, tenuous aura of absorption.

With the contours of representation to fade in the metaphysics of the senses to be travelled over between trajectories of thought and reflections out of context organised for common listening.  With the impact of oil on canvass, Laura Benedetti re-tempers the poetics of a sign re-definable beyond the norm. Crowning attractive temporality spaces of delicate sensationalism never defined. While the sign of the overpowering body, classical by conception, in the compulsive shock of displaying nakedness, traces demarcation lines which turn and elevate undressing to modesty, absorption and revelation.

The expressive language of these “Naked Feelings” supports an image of unusual thematic circumspection. In other words it refers to messages of connection in several directions, which examine generational femininity included in interpretative peaks of content of an outside of approach and convention. Indicating the body “understood in its transparency – by the personalised and direct thought of Laura Benedetti– in actual fact, the body itself as transparency of an actual way of being”.

This is the lasting climate of linearly complex emotions in their essence, with the artist’s dedication indicating a creative journey, within the painting experience, which Laura began six years ago. First and currently there was a degree in architecture, designing interiors, the equally creative commitment of the productive method applied to the operating order which generates publicity.

Other links can be found in the vocation for portrait painting, indicated in the generative capacities, once again, to display a sentimental elsewhere which goes beyond the prescription program of the usual. An efficacious signal almost in exegesis of a normality sought-after and impressed with the exclusive force of moderation. A characteristic often to be found in the portraits and in these nudes, sentimentally captivating in their non-circumscribing identity.  Going straight to the heart, which appropriates sensuality without abusing it. And which accelerates the beat to the modest presence of a sensation of unease. Assembling and dislocating bodies, objects, perspectives, towards spirits as liberated as they are unprotected in their uncomfortable representation without make-up.

So, the descriptive material of Laura Benedetti bends to the inexpressible will of the truth which proudly confirms the need to come out into the open. With modular curves of the figure specifically revealing an ethereal symbolic image oriented towards absorption. A singular and decisive effect in its structural connotation. Interiorised within spaces where the figure, rigorously, chastely, but eloquently without veils, becomes a part of objects, situations, colours and environments, harmoniously overlapping each other. To enjoy memories and identities characterised by over-exposure to pink. Emotional perfumed chromium-plating, polished by the naked, untameable property of the spirit.