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The Soccer Players

Color, a color that is deliberately antinaturalistic, at this point in Sassu’s painting becomes a specific form of the modern: a color which seemed not to know half-measures, the color of the red men in all their different versions.

This was, in the last analysis, nothing more than the constant, almost programmatic, application of a choice made in the years of Futurism, and it was a choice for modernity, which conformist contemporary criticism commonly perceived in terms of a debatable excess, also because it was in open contrast with the palette of the Novecento Italiano.

top of page REALITY AND MYTH


In the works of the early Thirties myth began to overlay reality: on one hand, Sassu was always attentive to and attracted by contemporaneity, by daily life as well as by the events of politics and history lived first hand; but on the other he was passionately open to the imagination, thus extremely receptive to myth, both for its aspects of narrative extraordinariness, and for its underlying values, which he felt to be absolute, essentially outside of history.
top of page THE RED MEN

Red Men

This helps to explain the interchangeability in his painting, for example, of the sports champion and the Argonaut. Whether called red men, Dioscuri or Argonauts, cyclists, soccer players or horsemen, whether they are boys on a beach, falconing, or passing on the street, his figures in those years in any case stand on the borderline between myth and reality, in constant oscillation between a meta-historic condition (nude men in a nature barely evoked by minimal landscape elements) and a precise definition also in social terms (passersby in a modern city, men and women in cafés).

Stylistically they reveal affinities with experiments, somewhere between sculpture and bas relief, being made in that same period in "poor" materials by Giandante X and Fontana (coal and conglomerates the former, incised cement the latter),