Itinerary dedicated to Trubbiani
Here is an itinerary to discover Ancona through the works of the artist Valeriano Trubbiani
He was an art blacksmith, Valeriano Trubbiani (Villa Potenza di Macerata 1937, Ancona 2020), a craftsman with an intense and stubborn temperament, of the character of the Marches. Visiting his studio-workshop was always disturbing: doll-like mobile eyes stared at you, and weapons, aggressive sentries or sleepy indifference, obsessive deoxygenated city walls, and the obscure animals of the cellars, mice and bats… all an immense production of a life, sculptures, installations, drawings waiting to come back to life for a new exhibition around the world. And Valeriano was also an indefatigable storyteller: the fascination of his words – often obsolete, or extremely technical and precise – enveloped you, redrawing the boundaries of landscapes you had never noticed despite having them before your eyes: like the disquieting beauty plotted by cranes from the shipyards of his adopted city, Ancona, or the sun that circumscribes it, always rising and setting on the sea.
He used a metaphor to describe his work: a flower with a corolla of petals anchored to a central body: the theme of suffering and pain. That evil of living, a heavy legacy of twentieth-century negative thought, a menacing presence that has frozen his sculptures in blocked, hieratic forms, works that scream the quiet of the noon, that instant of rotation in which the world seems to hold its breath, but which finds a small glimpse of hope in this artist: piety, Christian participation in pain. At the origin there is the father’s blacksmith workshop in which agricultural machines were built and the trauma of the bombing war: harrows that look like sculptures, aggressive. Hence the first surreal tests built with found objects, war machines invented with existing elements that are destroyed and reassembled according to an irrational order that distorts the initial use.
At the end of the 1960s Trubbiani made the discovery of a real iconogram, the lark, a metaphor for existence; is the beginning of the bestiary which includes the animals of the farmyard, the duck, the rabbit, the hare, the owl, the owl, the frogs, the ox, the latter being the only social theme (the extinction of the agricultural ) of an artist otherwise free from any ideology. Meanwhile, the experimentation on materials focuses on extrapolating to metals, all metals, every expressive possibility.
The 70s are the cruelest, the humoral level drops very low, the negative and the violence inflicted are accentuated. Trubbiani’s sculpture registers something that is in the air; pets and family members turn into rats, bats, or are imprisoned on the shiny and aseptic surface of surgical tables: a scientific coldness that devastates. The sculptures are amplified in space, it is time for environmental installations: in The Dead Seasons lifeless birds fall from the Porcellino tower in Volterra; the ropes that ensnare them are also a means of mummification: violence and conservation. In The state of siege: the free verticality of flight is held back, choked. The work, exhibited at the Venice Biennale in ’72 and in Jesi at Arte Marche 74, projects Trubbiani’s work among that of the great artists and gives the sculptor a long quotation in a work by José Saramago, as well as collaboration with Federico Fellini for the film And the ship goes.
Reflection on pain brings Trubbiani closer and closer to another great Marche native, “Giacomino” Leopardi; the attraction for the poet from Recanati began as a child, with a bicycle ride to that long village on the opposite hill that the sculptor saw from the window of his house in Villa Potenza, and which his grandmother told him was inhabited by an ugly hunchbacked poet and madman who hated priests; a charm that is found intact in the works of sculpture, in the pyrographies (also sculptures of wood and fire), in the drawings. The drawing activity, in all its variants, often colored in an alchemical way, is in fact a non-secondary part of the artist’s work.
In the 1980s optimism dates back; sculpture turns out to be playful, amusing: the cycle on children’s stories arrives, which is a return to fantastic and legendary origins, to the age of myth in which good and evil are still one. It is a world populated by solemn, ancient, dinosaur-like animals, which protect the maternal sweetness of existence with their hard shell. In the 1990s, story-telling and storytelling intensified; the inspiration of orality approaches epic-fantastic themes: Cities, Helmets, Swords. In these years Trubbiani also re-encounters sacred art and once again it is not an ostentatious religion, but a pure feeling of devotion addressed to a close God and to the familiar image of the Madonna of Loreto; his is the Crucifix in the Doric Cathedral of San Ciriaco.
The theatrical or theatrical component, instinctual in all of the sculptor’s work, is found more explicitly in the last works dedicated to his chosen city Ancona, such as the sculptural group of Rhinoceros (fruit of the collaboration with Federico Fellini in the film And the ship va from 1983), the fire curtain for the Muse theater and the monumental exhibition of 2012 in the spaces of the Mole Vanvitelliana curated by Enrico Crispolti, set up as a single installation also to be touched, as promoted by the Omero State Tactile Museum, institution that the artist helped to grow, and by the Municipality of Ancona. It is not excessive to say that Ancona has become the city of Trubbiani, due to the visionary contribution that the artist has managed to give to the capital of the Marche region, which he has never spared due criticism but which he has always portrayed with a dreamlike and poetic generosity that it will remain the most important legacy to manage.