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EXCERPTS OF CRITICAL REVIEWS

“… Rosetta Acerbi’s painting originates from the imperceptible boundary which in Venice separates water from earth, the lagoon from palaces and houses walls. It originates so to speak on the immersion line of the gondolas. It is an extremely fleeting origin and also terribly difficult. The painting of this young Venetian artist proceeds on this razor-blade, in a sort of incertitude between grace and over-refinement,between expression and decoration, between representation and arabesque.”

Luciano Budigna
Settimana Incom, 1956

“… Have you ever followed the migrating clouds on a September sky and have you ever built on those clouds something, a winged cart, a castle with hundred towers, a garden filled with violets? If you never did it, let Rosetta Acerbi, great artist of chinoiserie and dreams, accompany you. Her Venetian boutique still produces Japan lakes and pastels of eighteen-century lagoon, small tangles of flowers threads and wheels of many suns at sunset rolling along slopes of oriental carpets. If you ask her when she began to paint, she will answer you that she always did it and nobody did teach her how to. If you ask her what she paints, she does not know; she paints dreams and she displays them. Her pure and precious colour, tapestry-like, combines in slightly lunatic constructions, where melancholy is hardly at home with a light and unconventional tinge.”

Giorgio Mascherpa
L’Italia, 1961

“… The paintings of this artist are like a yearning poetry and reveal an emotional intensity with an uncommon strength and suggestion. In her queer gallery of character-dolls, specially in the enigmatic suspension of figurations there is something unexpressed. Her dolls have in fact pearl-coloured and incomplete faces, slimmed little bodies and slender colours. The imaginative evolution is almost mediumistic and aquires in the representation a surprising lucidity marked by the tormented matter.”

Franco Passoni
L’Avanti, 1970

“… The palette is light, ethereal, pastel-like: nature dematerializes in vegetal and animal specimen of still life suspended in variegated and changing atmospheres of a pale blue. The precariousness of shadows does not bear the clash with the disenchanted looks of daily routine. Nontheless flowers do comfort us with their chromatic and uncorrupted fragrance artistically coated with clots, flaws, grazings; the spatula smears bright colours and as a recall to the created world, sky, isolated collages of leaves and dried sterns.To the artist who gets estranged from the anguish of the present and points to the Elysium, which we thought lost, filled with a gentle floral joy, we wish for our invoked serenity a tighter communion with the sudden accessible beauties of the earth.”

Gualtiero Da Via
L’Osservatore Romano
Roma, 10 luglio 1970

“… Rosetta Acerbi is showing a matured and unconventional womanliness even in her desires which the mind raises to art: inner escapes into imagination as an antidote to the desecrating present age which she reports in her short self presentation. Tenderness graces and perfumes the surreal aspect of children and dolls, gentle shadows bearing wiped out parts of the faces fading into vague busts: these are benign apparitions of a fairy essence in which the striking pain is a mysterious deprivation of something.” Gualtiero Da Via L’Osservatore Romano, Roma 1970 “…Rosetta Acerbi is a Venetian and this explanes that discete but also amused play of coverings and also explanes the fact that artist may appear like a new person at each encounter: a young and exhuberant temper with instinctive sudden fancies.”

Luigi Carluccio
Gazzetta del Popolo, 1955

“… In Rosetta Acerbi’s perception painting is a way of living, a way of being complete, a way of being something more, as she maintains,a way of getting lost in something different….. Painting fascinates and tries her… in order to invent characters and figures of her imagination. She simply explanes that painting is her natural way of being, a way spontaneously flowing.”

Luigi Carluccio
Gazzetta Sera, 1955

“… It is indeed to these ‘archaic tools’ that Rosetta Acerbi appeals in her varied gallery of dolls painted with an almost eighteen-century charm. Subdued and human with their frail bodies made of rags, with amazed visages,with wide open eyes, undone curls, worn lace, full of a touching grace, almost a compassion bouncing back on ourselves. Rosetta’s dolls are actually true emblems of our lost but not asleep childhood with its traumas. They also represent wholesome fetishes from which we can receive and to which we can pass on mysterious messages of despair or reliance and messages of bitterness or joy.”

Lorenza Trucchi
Momento Sera, 1968

“… Rosetta Acerbi’s painting falls within a certain kind of expressionism made of psychological sensibility and irony rather than apocalyphic marks. Her dolls which have no resemblance to true dolls are rather magical appearances, slightly ruffled and with a little reassuring smile, look at the observer through the veil of floating, soft, flimsy atmosphere where the artist reveals a remarkable talent by means of a tender and fine use of colours.”

Gino Visentini
Il Messaggero, 1968

“………’Dolls’, so to speak, as we are dealing with paintings in which characters are generally young girls and flightiness affecting beings, depicted with soft, pastel-like colours. They are as tender as flowers which the artist portrays with figures with few fragrant strokes. Within the setting we also find some gentle animals and some allusive elements are not lacking giving an allegorical contents or to some images.”

Dino Villani
Libertà, 1970

“… Yes, I had already seen these paintings in her studio in Rome.“What do you think, frankly”, asked Rosetta, handsome, very lively, Venetian ( Goffredo Petrassi’s wife). I answered: ”Charming. Certainly they have nothing to do with Bellmer’s depraved dolls.They are gentle dolls. Bashful. Melancholic even when they smile with their silly mouths. I would define them as a literary witty imagination”. “Literary imagination - she reacted resentfully-. You must be joking”. Meanwhile a buzz was heard; a sort of black cockchafer with iridescent striga came in. “Ah, this is a good sign. Rosetta said. If the insect is there she will also come. There she is. Look.” I turned my head. From a corner with small tottering steps a child or rather a doll? came forward with a flower on her hand. She was looking at me with two little sharp eyes, then with only one eye as the other disappeared. The insect landed on her nose. She tried to chase it away with her hand. Suddenly the doll or the child? faded away, starting from the bottom. Pretty soon only the small waiving head remained and shook her head. Then even the head vanished leaving behind a light smoke-hole. “Did you see?” cried Rosetta Acerbi, happily smiling.”

Dino Buzzati
Corriere della Sera, 2 dicembre 1970

“…For his/her creator a doll can be both things! A companion and a victim. In fact Rosetta Acerbi’s creations with their wide-open eyes look like they have terribly suffered under the restless artist’s imagination. In her refined painting they look like suffering images in which enchantment and humour have definitively disappered.”

James Heard
Arts Review, London 1970

“… There are no direct references in Rosetta Acerbi’s case if not perhaps in her works cast towards Odilon Redon’s hereafter. Symbolism has most of all supplied living sources of language, almost a grammar, a grammar of dreams which could not be possibly represented otherwise. The condition of visionaries has as many rigorous laws as the condition of rationalists responding to a profound interior need, an instinct, a double womanliness of art. This is Rosetta Acerbi’s fascination, a paintress first and then a painter, able to recognize the female side hidden in the psyche even of the greatest masters.”

Vittorio Sgarbi
Catalogue presentation. Show at “Casa d’Arte - La Gradiva” 1988

“… It is undeniable that for Rosetta Acerbi painting delves into the restless ground of dreams. Or one could rather maintain that painting is for her a constant dreaming. Nontheless, her dreaming has a strong physical quality, in fact the vanishing images, which are so typical of the oneiric condensations,are loaded with material thickness which at times are real efflorescences of a painting thus becoming incarnate into the colour. From this special feeling and perception originates Acerbi’s imaginary world which always becomes a sudden Epiphany of dreams, strongly interconnected with the existential. It is always, mostly for the artist, a revelation of that side of the ego which is sunk in the person’s profundity, as the mythical Atlantis is sunk into the depths of the sea.”

Giorgio Di Genova
Catalogue presentation. Show at the “Nuovo Carpine”
Spoleto 1968

“… Are the ways of Surrealism also endless? Rosetta Acerbi has, at any rate, discovered a new one passing from Dufy, through the softened ‘rêvieries’ of Leonor Fini, to the enchantments of the ‘naïf’ painters. It would appear that her ‘naïveté’ conceals obscure or at least allusive contents behind her oneiric images: meanings as matrix. In fact, the trick is more obvious than might be expected. If you just see them for what they are, images of a reality that is too harsh to be the stuff of fables, too macabre to be an objective representation of things and too spiteful to be abstractions, even ingenuous ones.”

Giovanni Carandente
Catalogue presentation. Show at the “Nuovo Carpine”
Spoleto 1968

“… Crossing together the present, crowd of shadows, suspended within a light removing everything. You are here and this is enough for me, for my sight and my heart. The world rotates within you and repeats the seasons. “Do not move near the lamp so that Beauty stays with me. I will be the Truth, if you do not claim an answer…”

Elio Pecora
For “L’Amorosa ferocia”

“… I remember Rosetta Acerbi’s vanished colours, tonal delicacies, refined chromatisms and figures on the threshold of ambiguity and mystery. I Know again her world in a series of drawings dedicated to Eros with a thin stroke and a fanciful invention so that they seem to emerge from tales populated with princesses and fairies, with animals and knight; to a closer look her tales are soaked in soft and secretly disquieting atmospheres. Erotic digressions which are at the same time also cerebral plays built on a surreal stage.”

Gian Luigi Rondi
Catalogue presentation. Show at “Studio S-Arte Contemporanea
Roma 1981

“… Along her artistic career someone has mentioned Dufy, Chagall, Klee, Rosalba Carriera, De Pisis or Leonor Fini. As a matter of fact Rosetta is a case by itself; she is an artist with few and fitful kinships; she is mobile, evasive,hardly reducible to whatsoever lasting reference. The vague surrealism which veins with humuours her hallucinated and extravagant world is the only circle within which is possible to compel her. Rosetta has in fact lived her artistic experience as a process of self-consciousness and radical liberation from a culture which she does not find congenial to her universe and neither fit to express the autonomy of her poetic thought by placing woman at the Centre of the world and at the core of her vital and unrythmical contradictions and also at the core of her frail but fascinating beauty.”

Augusta Monferini
Catalogue presentation. Show at the “Cà d’Oro” Gallery
Roma 1984

“… The relation to water is a primitive and active matter of her fanciful world; through water she finds a contact again with the irrational and mysteriously living substance. In the artist’s more remote paintings we find exemplary surfaces mirroring mirages of fancy landings through an opalescent sea of tears. On its surface Charon’s boat is running along towards Venus and Origin’s deep waters associated with the abyssal meaning of human destiny, just as in her previous works the far horizons seemed to evoke an idea of infinity. If in Andromeda a livid whirlpool can absorbe the ambush of a black pain, in Charon imagination appeals to water to give death a sense of the voyage.”

Maria Teresa Benedetti
Catalogue presentation. Show “Dieci anni di pittura”, Museo Nazionale d’Abruzzo
L’Aquila 1986

“… Rosetta Acerbi’s themes and subjects from “ancient” Charon to the recent series of courtiers and archangels originate exclusively from her way of painting. They materialize as figures only through the delicate and blazing fabric of her colours (pink, lilac, ochre, green,light blue in all their nuances). They emerge from the bottom as from a germinative fluid: bodies, wounded faces, looks, hands, flowers, doves.”

Mario Novi
Catalogue presentation. Show at the “Cà d’Oro” Gallery,
Roma 1984

“… Kleist in a short essay- an amazing page of aesthetics-maintains that grace manifests itself in its purest shape in that human body which has no cousciousness at all or has an infinite one, like in the case of a puppet or a god. And this could be the suitable epigraph for Rosetta’s dolls: she in fact struggles between anxiety and grace. Since women are perhaps the only human beings capable to look at themselves into a mirror, women are also the only paintresses (when they are true paintresses) capable to feel life frailty. Rosetta’s secret consists in this and it is a human secret: having a little message in a bottle to be entrusted to the waves of painting.”

Alfredo Mezio
Catalogue presentation. Show at the “Galleria d’Arte Zanini”
Roma 1968

“… A great lake of a blue light where heaven and waters merge; a young woman and a lass, beautiful but frail to the point of dissolution, are awaiting as if they were listening to a far-away rumble. A lad in the shape of St. Sebastian twists himself in pain as a drooping flower and on the white surface a clotty rose seems to mime such pain, its stern being a rill of blood.”

Dario Micacchi
L’Unità, 1984

“… For Rosetta Acerbi painting is a genuine and authentic vocation in which she conveys the flow of her feelings, habits and expansiveness. Her art feeds upon an extravagant, rich imagination and a vibrant emotional drive. One feels a romantic and yearming vein in her sensorial and passionate poetry. From a post impressionist start, Rosetta subsequently indulges in the exploration of a fanciful world where she filters the unconscious oneiric and fable-like side with her personal, fanciful and emblematic vision of the womanly universe.”

Mario Penelope
L’Umanità, 1984

“… Rosetta Acerbi’s recent works do confirm and renew the personality of a sensible and restless artist. Born in Venice but living and working in Rome, Acerbi has not been conquered by the overpowering Roman Baroque or its manifold revisitations. In her vision do persist the meltings of the lagoon fogs, the dissolving of things as if they were at the threshold of nothingness, never knowing whether they are on the verge of a wreck or of a dangerous birth.”

Guido Giuffrè
RAI GR3 Cultura, 1984

“… Rosetta Acerbi has a very strong temper and an impulsive exuberance in the imagination of her tales and characters, she is the bearer of two values: the rigour suggested by an ‘historical’ culture of art and at the same time never barring the experience of the unforseen and unknown. Happiness of light, of surfaces and veils, of colour and allusive-narrative space, which are invisible with strong and determined contents of drama, anxiety and even anguish.”

Antonello Trombadori

“… Rosetta Acerbi’s poetical and pictorial world is visionary and ghostly. It is a spell of hallucinated routes among the paths of memory, of the unconscious, between imagination and softness af dreamt or forseen things as within a pale blue fog with sweet, pathetic or dramatic images.”

Franco Simongini
Il Tempo, 1985

“… These paintings do recreate the experience of sleep. The pervasive moon light is not of this world but of another world; it is the light of an alternative universe with other possibilities. The lagoon shown in this paintings is at the same time the sea of dreams where objects apparently firm – buildings, persons, boats – appear with an allucinated clearness and disappear almost at once: those are images captured by those magic moments of transition. We are dealing with a task that only painting can absolve as words, one after the other, do not move with the necessary speed in order to preserve the whole, the fragile totality of vision.”

Edward Lucie-Smith
Catalogue presentation. Shows at the Gallery “Il Polittico”
Rome and at the“Vangi Museum”, Mishima , Japan

“… Rosetta Acerbi does not only narrate the time but she narrates herself in that time: it is almost a palimpsest of her more recent memory, of the various stages of her artistic journey. She keeps coming back to her birth place. It is the ‘pointed time’ which is not fixed and detached but lives in the artist in every single detail. It vibrates like Rilke’s Venetian diary by portraying the magic of a city and a world which belong to everybody but in particular to those who were born there and artistically grew up in that setting as is the case of Rosetta Acerbi.”

Giorgio G. Campanaro
Catalogue presentation. Show at the “Vangi Museum”, Mishima, Japan

“… Her accounts in relation to those paintings did focus on how she succeeded in obtaining such transparent colours, one layer upon the other, without the interference of the material heaviness, thus obtaining on the contrary an impossible reading of all landscapes. The deepest landscape is perceived through overlapping striations as a sounding of lagoon waters, not rough and still. A few turquoise colours reminding Tiepolo, some green vibrations typical of Veronese suggested the artist’s offspring from, ‘those branches’ without fear of denial.”

Arnaldo Romano Brizzi
Catalogue presentation. Show at “Il Polittico” Gallery, Rome

“… Rosetta Acerbi’s way of expressing and thinking painting is absolutely not characteristic of the Italian tradition. Being Venetian, she has withdrawn an experience which never made her typical. Her training, completely out of the canons of painting according to a school or apprenticeship, leads her off an historical logic, which one would take for granted. Her career cannot after all be judged as steadfast and consequential. She begins at a very young age to soon break off and then catch up again with an inexhaustible and continuous flow of works, always forseeing new themes, new characters, new situations.”

Claudio Strinati
Catalogue presentation. Show at the National Museum of Palazzo Venezia
Rome

“… In our artist there is a living will never to repeat, never to bore the brush, to make figures rise from the harboured play of watery colours, nontheless evoked and imitated by the pasty and raging oil urticating and tickling the wet surface of the canvases. This kept persisting ever since she joined an informal, very personal and secret way where her sovereign and unruly painting, sucked by darkness, evoked those bored and waxed walls by the saltpetre of the frescoes, which have atoned also for their sinopite. And this did continue even if a long silence…kept her away from painting until these removed fancies, these wrecks of an imaginary, with a slow and soft suffering, did come back.”

Marco Vallora
Catalogue presentation. Show at the National Museum of Palazzo Venezia,
Rome

“… Acerbi’s painting is a mysterious one with its enigmatic and oneiric dimension: ‘in dreams gods are evoked’, the Greeks believed. Even this settles a precious track since, where she has set mystery, right there the regions of the sacred are infallibly disclosed and the omnipotence of the visible and calculation breaks up…Presenze: which Rosetta Acerbi has evoked in the painting of this show, are acquisition of truth and concreteness of feelings and metaphysical irradiation… shall we call them angels? At any rate we are dealing with rather disquieting angels.”

Carlo Fabrizio Carli
Catalogue presentation. Show at the Santa Rita Church
Rome

“… Some fifteen paintings by Rosetta Acerbi are shown here, ranging throughout a period of twenty years up to the most recent times. In such span of time the artist’s stylistic strict coherence comes out but also the persisting freshness of ideas which has allowed her to reach, right in these last few months, some of the happiest results of her entire artistic itinerary. Let as just think of a small masterpiece such as ‘Il fanciullo e i melograni’ (‘The lad and the pomegranates’).”

Carlo Fabrizio Carli
Catalogue presentation. Show at the Museum of Anticoli Corrado

“… Rosetta Acerbi comes to Capri bestowing flowers…just blooming, in full blossom, decaying and withered, a sample collection of colours and quivering images, works on paper, floral ‘whims’ matching with precious canvases of a refined painting and soft sensibility.”

Carmine Siniscalco
Catalogue presentation. Show at the “Ignazio Cerio Centre”
Capri

“… The cycle dedicated to Bluebeard is adding a lot to what Acerbi’s painting had already revealed…. painting confronts itself with music: a language that processes of memory and dream succeed in rendering better than any other language even because music by its own nature is far from being static. The artist’s paintings of this cycle pass in review personages and different atmospheres thus alternating impressions of corporeity and presence to dissolutions and fadings in which light, colour and shadow prevail on evocation. Acerbi’s works are in fact pure painting, wise drafting of a subject which, as the sound of music, has no need to describe in order to involve our mind and give it irreplaceable food”.

Paolo Portoghesi
Catalogue presentation. Shows at the Apollodoro Gallery,
Rome and at the Italian Institutes of Culture of Madrid and Barcelona

“… I have perceived in these paintings dedicated to the Bluebeard’s Castle the terrible efford for us - plunged as we are in the consumeristic society - to have access to the other, to recognize in the other our own traits. The most interesting thing, and I would add almost most disquieting, is that in this series of paintings Bluebeard and Judith at times do look like the same character. They share some profound kinship: in Bluebeard’s astonished and cruel, but surprised and annihilated expression, one vaguely finds out Judith’s traits who instead is offering herself in a sort of half-nudity in an anxious and cruel wait, victim and executioner at the same time”.

Giorgio Pressburger
Catalogue presentation. Show at the Italian Institute of Culture
New York

“... Rosetta Acerbi belongs to the rank of the ‘infallibles’, to the painters who always openly risk by entrusting what they have to the swift exactness of isolated actions, the entire life of a painting to the sudden beauty even if it was the throb of colour only. She practises with equal infallibility on portraits, on whiffs of exceeding painting material. On flowers for example we perceive unwilling pulsations suggested perhaps by a XVIth century concealed god or by a grown dark impressionist whose obscure sap remains a secret. Her practise continues infallibly on clothing trimmings, on the scorching red of flesh where impulse dominates almost as a physical necessity, even on empty spots, piercing darkness as someone accustomed since a long time and who has become very skilled as a sort of bird of prey following something whose flight she alone has pointed.”

Marco Di Capua
Catalogue presentation. Palazzo della Cultura
Latina

“… Rosetta Acerbi wins the bet in her own way by painting flowers in every moment of their short life. If each painting is an instantaneous act, her works as a whole make up a duration film and penetrate in the heart of things. Promise, flowering, triumph, withering: this is the cycle of all human passions. The artist does not seem to be involved in anything else and when she does, it is with originality, humour, anger, style or, as in this case, in the changeable perfume of gardens and seasons.”

Françoise Nourissier
Catalogue presentation. Studio S-Contemporany Art
Rome

“… The destruction of innocence is not everybody’s subject. Rosetta Acerbi’s new obsession are dolls. Frail patch creatures with secret winks of broken bodies nailed à la sorcière.”

Antique Weekly
London, 1969

“… The image of ‘Il potere’ (‘Power’) with a snarling tiger and an ambiguous feminine person reminding us of Vienna à la Klimt and of Knopff’s symbologies is magic and restless, between symbolism and exciting vibrations of colours and light; they become a sort of an enchanting visionary halo. Acerbi revives under our eyes that magic residing more in her way of using colours and in the wavy and thin strokes of the brush, which in the end is the pure and simple choice of the subjects.…. It is a cultured and very distillate painting but watching it there is no evidence of that odd quality, of that enigmatic play for those happy few making too many things boring in today’s art.”

Flaminio Gualdoni
Gente, June, 1991

“… Dreams and memory, the idea of memory have nourished the synthetic aesthetics of symbolistic painting and music. Rosetta Acerbi seems not only to give us an answer inspired by a key piece of music of the expressionist-symbolistic tradition but she also seems to state in her work the vitality of symbolistic strategies dealing with complex issues such as love, solitude, hope, fear, exhaltation, despair, conscious and unconscious.”

Diana Kelda
Lecture on the occasion of the Show at the Italian Institute of Culture
New York