Mente Morbida (soft mind): Gianluca Crudele’s Statement About His Painting Series

Gianluca Crudele is an Italian painter and designer based in Hong Kong. Currently as part of Oui.Gallery’s Group Exhibition Cantocore, Gianluca has two paintings of a larger series included, “The City Goes On Holiday” and “City Man”.

The definition of “Mente Morbida” is something that I hold very dear. In its English translation it means soft mind, where “mente” translates literally to “mind” while the word “morbida” holds a special character making its Italian equivalent far more interesting. Part of that depth relates to the meaning of the same word, “morbid,” in English and most other Latin languages, something noir, related to death and illness. Going to the source, all these words derive from the Latin word “morbus,” or illness, and therefore in English, as in French, Spanish and Portuguese, the meaning stays much closer to the original latin word.

How come the Italian word changed so much? The answer lies in the concept of ‘softness’ that the word expresses. Originally inspired by soft flesh, weakened by sickness, there is something in the idea of decay and ruin that Italians hold dear. It is a sort of a cynical romanticism that over the centuries has been a formidable source of a more profound, lyrical Italian cultural understanding of the world.

I also hold this concept dear. I am not interested in the decadence, but the recovery. “Mente m Morbida” is the state of the convalescent mind, softened by illness, now. It is a perceptive state into which childhood memories, readings, remote imagery and everyday life is conveyed in highly lyrical compositions. This idea of softness ‘coming from illness,’ like in a state of convalescence and hypersensitivity reveals the world around us in vivid and intense atmospheres, its shadows protracting, its volumes becoming more solid.

About Gianluca Crudele

Gianluca Crudele, often under the pseudonym of Barlo, is an Italian painter and designer based in Hong Kong. Drawing since childhood, he started painting on walls at the age of 15, and later extended his creative exploration by studying design in Milan and Nottingham. After a brief experience in London he moved to Hong Kong where the quirkiness and energy of the city injected new blood into his artworks. After a long practice on the wall he started studying oil painting and representing his experiences and suggestions into canvas. Strongly influenced by metaphysics and magic realism, he paints the more profound “architectural” architectural spirit of his subjects, often charged with a sense of wonder and nostalgia.