The catalog reconstructs Afro’s path from figurative to abstract starting from some works on paper created just around the time the Comet was inaugurated: Piazza Navona in 1936, a spectacular pencil on canvas, and copies, respectively by Rubens and El Greco, of Judith with the head of Holofernes and of San Filippo, precious sheets of ’37 that are real incunabula in Afro’s work. The debut of a protagonist of abstract art in the name of fervor for the ancient, a fact that at first intrigues, if it does not prove to be very useful for understanding the artist’s poetics, in which the orientation to the new does not imply a rejection of the previous tradition. In the decade considered by the exhibition, Afro appears committed to taking note of the variety of currents that move in Italy and Europe, to graft the news from Paris on the perfect mastery of the conquests of the Venetian Renaissance, assimilating the opposites into a unity of style (Appella). A research conducted above all on paper through a constant use of drawing. Giuseppe Appella writes in the essay in the catalog: There is no image that Afro painted without first verifying it on paper. In fact, the proposed review shows an inexhaustible designer, continuously engaged in the invention of an inexhaustible series of variants for the subjects that are dear to him in those years: the presences of family life, still lifes, views. Paper, the painter’s daily training ground even when it comes to experimenting with bold chromatic solutions: sudden changes from warm and bright colors to cold and muted hues, links of reds and violets and so on, in the fast proceeding of a kaleidoscopic creativity that introjects every new stimulus in the undisputed respect for pictorial values. For this reason, explains Appella, his painting is the polar opposite of the coldness and reasoning of artists who grew up in the shadow of cubism and the informal.
edited by Giuseppe Appella, Agnese Sferrazza – 2008