ESCAPES  –  by Cristina Franzoni

Escapes well describes Franco Donaggio’s desire of escaping – although momentarily – from the world of advertising, of fashion and of the works on commission which have had such an important part in his art career, with the aim of giving free vent to his raring creativity. An act of benevolent rebellion, a primary longing for playing, that sort of lightheartedness that you give yourself when – for once – you are not obsessed with strict obligations or pressing deadlines. This series is different from the previous ones both in the materials and in the technique and the format. The A4 sheet of paper becomes the base on which the author creates his ingenious scenic designs inhabited by figures that are cut out, carved, photographed, drawn and back-lit. Certainly an artist like Donaggio never expresses himself through one technique only. His rainbow-like inspiration draws from several art forms and it always amazes, amuses and tickles us. In his works nothing is obvious, easy or ready for consumption. From the rear of his creative action what emerges are dreamed stories, atavistic remembrances, shreds of previous works, flashes of visionary fantasies, futuristic hints, even previsions at the dawn of doomsday. All these elements of pictoric and photographic forms and colours, both analog and digital – blend, interlock or simply co-exist and give birth to “paintings” echoing the inventions of Fortunato Depero, Pablo Picass but also of Italo Calvino – whose Città Invisibili (Invisible Towns) seem to anticipate the formidable cities of our author. In Escapes the wizard and director Donaggio stage characters that are humans but not so much, entrapped in urban merciless contexts where skyscrapers are almost vomited by small gangly and lonely creatures; where the claustrophobic cabin of a car is perceived by the alienated driver as the only possible relief; where colored confetti cease to live in happy stories and become ornamental background of surreal atmosphere of delirium. In the stories of Escape the artist’s narration assumes a key role, and lives along the end of an unlimited skein of creativity stretched out towards the future.