Solo exhibition | Edward Cutler gallery – Milan | 2012
The abstract and visually electric effect of Travagli's stunning paintings, arrives from both a chemical and physical scientific process achieved over a passage of time. Working usually on canvas and panels of wood, the first act is the base-paint layering done with thick brushstrokes in preparation for application of the metallic leaves. These leaves of metal, described by the artist as “cells”, have endured an ageing process which began up to six years previously whilst being stored in the artist's studio or his art college in Florence. They are sometimes gold, silver, aluminium brass or copper, each forming their own peculiarities over time. Once they are placed one on top of each other in storage, patches of discolouration and abstract forms emerge on the individual cells, they're mutation being determined through fluctuations in temperature, light, and humidity.
This results in an archive of cells which over time, have gradually changed, been distorted and absorbed information from their environment. These are then carefully selected out by Travagli with which to create new works, a process he compares to the creation of mosaics through the careful placement of individual coloured tesserae.
Piece by piece, the surfaces are constructed from which point dialogues begin to emerge between the various cells as they are applied. Sometime they fragment, and allow a previous, alternately oxidised surface to shine through perhaps suggesting another dimension. The paintings begin to take on their individual characteristics, each totally unique, yet clearly containing similar genetic material to one another.
The final act is the application of a varnish which arrests the oxidisation process, effectively freezing time and locking it's current state, without which the painting would continue to slowly change. The assemblage of Travagli's paintings is thus merely the final chapter of a process which began years earlier with the storage of the cells, the closing of a cycle.
Press release of the exhibition