Enzo Fasano was born on 12th December 1944 in Parabita, in the province of Lecce, where he attended the local Institute of Art School "E. Giannelli" and afterwards at Salerno became qualified to teach design in high schools.

Fasano represents a unique case of picture composition in Italian art. The Salento artist, has in fact, recovered and profoundly rejuvenated the technique of wood inlaying, bridging the gap between this discipline which has arisen over the centuries, now relegated to pure craftsmanship, and the other more commonly used art forms (such as painting, sculpture, etc.). Looking at his wonderful work, one has the impression of being in front of real paintings, such is the skill and technical expertise in the approach of the wood veneers.

So, for what reason has Fasano chosen the difficult path of inlaying, hankering back to a tradition which has been brutally cut short? According to Munari, there is a deep bond that attaches the unquenchable Fasano to the rural civilization of the South of Italy. And it’s likely that the Salento artist, upon taking his first steps in the countryside of Parabita, captured "the tree in a magical dimension, like a prodigy of nature, and was then seduced by the intrinsic qualities of the wood" (Carlo Munari).

Crocefissione miniaturaFasano’s attention turned, immediately to his land. In particular, his native village, with its white houses, its streets and courtyards (Courtyard Parabitano), the "sacred" rituals of the life and work of the fields which alter with the turn of every season. The artist depicts the labours of the land of Salento (Olive Collecting, Harvest, Stones Recall, In the evening), representing the faces of the peasants, whom he had known during his adolescence, frank and stolid. A realistic Salento loaded with personal experience and vibrant memories, all things and all feelings immersed in them which are the elements and signs of fatigue, weariness and poverty. His works, however, do not show any social controversy, but only a human being, even a religious feeling of partnership and deep understanding. In the great and singular Crucifixion (m.3x2) dating back to 1973, at the feet of a farmer Christ, pious women of pain do not appear, but two Parabita farmers, both with their faces marked with fatigue and looking slightly dazed. Christ himself seems to affect pity on them from above.

Towards the end of the seventies, while his exhibitions were increasing in many Italian and foreign cities (Modena, Bologna, Padua, Bolzano, Basel ...), Fasano created Badisco, a wonderful collection of 20 inlays inspired by the prehistoric cave paintings of the Grotta del Cervi (one of the most important archaeological sites in Europe), which is without a doubt the climax of his artistic career.

Badisco is an imaginary journey into a mythical and primitive Salento, animated by ethereal and supple figures that are now transformed into hunters struggling with real or imaginary animals then skilled wrestlers that are interwoven and sometimes even appear to stage dances and peace offering rituals. They are all seen from the inside of a cave, between tunnels and small ponds, in a myriad of symbols (shamans, archers, other enigmatic figures) that overlap or jump in the foreground, almost always artistically badisco miniaturareinterpreted. Through the technique of painting within a painting, the artist opens up horizons which extend beyond the sunsets or sunrises from the apocalyptic tones, mythical landscapes marked by menhirs, dolmens and dancing figures, "but the bodies seem to lose all their weight and gravity, in a sort of magical and dreamy realism ..." (Mario Marti). And it is the landscape, the unifying element of the entire collection, a dream-landscape, with deep and large prospectives and passes from the warm colour that expresses almost always a feeling of harmony and sweetness, and that constitutes the distinctive art of Fasano.

The Badisco exhibition was displayed in the Aragonese Castle of Otranto in July 1984. The mysterious prehistoric paintings, however, continued to stimulate the creative imagination of Fasano who within a two year span,had complimented his masterpiece with 5 other precious inlays, exhibited at Charles V Castle, Lecce and later at the International Conference "Salento, The Gate of Italy " (1986). Afterwards, the Provincial Administration of Lecce and the Puglia Region decided to send the exhibition to Lille (1988), Rome (1989) and Matera (1995).

Salento-nel-tempo miniaturaThe Salentino artist's ability is demonstrated not solely by the extensive and successful exhibitions but also by the creation of large dimensional works. Above all, the monumental inlay Salento Over Time which is a real tribute to the history and industriousness of the Salento people as well as "an organic synthesis of the artistic itinerary of Fasano" (Donato Valli). The work, installed above the entrance staircase of the Chamber of Commerce in Lecce, with its 6 x 3 meters is considered the largest framed inlay in the world.

stele daunie miniaturaBetween 1996 and 2004 in collaboration with the Compagnia Delle Opere, the Salentino artist displayed at A/F (Fiera    Milano) some large thematic exhibitions (Messapia, Stele Daunian, Byzantine Icons), solely as cultural events, to the  attendance of millions of visitors from all over the world. Recently Fasano has also been involved in various training courses, promoted by the European Union and other local institutions, in order to pass on to future generations this technique which he has recovered and returned to its former glory.




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