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What has been written about him

Franco Innocenti behaves as a master composer. His paintings seem to be musical works in which all the elements of expression that he possesses - lines, light, color, shading, shadows, chiaroscuro - contribute, in a rational and harmonious relationship, to the creation of a single and fantastic environment. His narration is rife with discoveries and surprises. His message is strictly human, not in the conventional sense, but in the modern sense of dissention and liberation. If at first he surprises us with a certain sense of detachment, at times laced with humor, we then discover that he feels intense emotions and, finally, when we gaze elsewhere, we continue the discussion that his paintings have opened within us. This, I believe, is the gift of real poets, of genuine Artists.
(Franco Luciani)


Innocenti works in surrealism: a painting technique in which a dream is composed through musical modulations. The goal sought by the Artist, even in the most complex compositions, seems to be a harmony between the images and their environment and, within this environment, harmony among the images. At the root of all this, there is a consistent openness to hope: hope of salvation, of encounters with a world of promised excellence, of redemption; and there are the desires of Man, who must reluctantly work within the closed and alienating rooms of office buildings and factories.
(Tommaso Paloscia, "La Nazione")


Franco Innocenti derives the origin of his paintings from Magritte's metaphysical surrealism, reclaimed without prejudice on a figurative level. As for content, he focuses with nonchalance on a proven and highly evolved symbolic logic centered on a chosen representation of references that are often autobiographical... With the addition of a ductile imagination and a deliberately literary interpretation of the existential phenomenon, he combines his convictions with a vast array of heterogeneous figurative elements, in order to obtain unpredictable outcomes in the creation of visions that stimulate puzzlement and reflection.
(Giuse Benignetti, "D'Ars")


Franco Innocenti's work is of surrealist extraction, although his tragic/grotesque world appears infused with the irony and the fancy of Mirņ. Therefore, in his own way and with his imagination, particularly on a dream level, the artist regains the rights to that free creativity that reality seems to deny him... Innocenti stands out because of his ironic and joyous imagination, which flows from each one of his technically flawless works.
(Luigi Bernardi, "Il Telegrafo")


His imagination is joined by his ability, and the poet moves in step with the painter, opening up to meditation and suggestion, to the observation of the grandiose and the joy of noticing the microcosm.
(Salvatore Sorbello, "La Nazione")


At the core of this flux of images, lies Franco Innocenti's own experience. Born in Florence, where he received a classical education, with experience in teaching and a vocation for communication, after extensive travels and extended stays in many countries, he tackled painting wholeheartedly. He determined very quickly his own area of interest, which he is now exploring with a progressive refinement of technique and great perseverance. His work contains typical surrealist themes: the tree-man, the unorthodox appearance of animals, the De Chirico-esque geometry of a petrified city, the total mineralization of life, where everything in existence become stony and inert porosity, the bleaching of objects as through an unexpected bloodletting. All these are found in his paintings in succeeding variations that are repeatedly revisited and developed...
(prof. Renzo Zorzi)


Among the many painters who depict dreams and nightmares, poorly imitating the great masters, we can still find a few authentic "voices". Among these, we can place the Florentine Franco Innocenti. Some of his paintings, especially the most recent ones, are worthy of great interest. We are referring to the paintings of stones and to the one titled "Silent Majority" (Maggioranza Silenziosa), in which the fingers of a hand are peering from behind enormous artichoke leaves. In this piece in particular, Innocenti seems to begin an actual discourse that, while remaining closely tied to surrealism, delves into "pop" art in a combination which abounds with suggestion.
(Alfredo Micucci, "La Stampa")


A new flavor in painting, which could be defined as the fantasy of matter, can be sampled in Franco Innocenti's oil paintings on wood. From the delectable interconnections of a variety of elements, both natural and artificial, and always depicted in an impeccable style, we come to the molding of symbolic schemes, to an amusing dreamlike succession of different associations. However, we should not be fooled by the unusual reality that Innocenti loves to unfold, like a skilled magician. The Florentine painter never loses sight of the confines of the real world. Thus, those visions that may have seemed subconscious become a joyous wonder of thought processes, which is also evident by the titles of his works.
(prof. Michele Fuoco "Il Giornale")


Here we are also probing the mysterious, through very imaginative allegory that is not devoid of irony. There is a "pop" vision in his art and Innocenti relies on a particularly witty and bitter approach. Therefore, the "Repentant Terrorist" (Terrorista Pentito) is a snake that raises his ostrich head from the sand and the "Weather Forecasts" (Previsioni Metereologiche) are alternating Mediterranean pine and cypress trees, interlaced with open and closed umbrellas. Innocenti, who possesses an extremely fine technique, stretches reality to the level of absurdity. His stones, moist and dewy, bear the strength and the skin of a hippopotamus, and turn into flowers as a summer watermelon sinks into a sad and dreary lagoon. We understand that the painter's imagination has no bounds, even though each element of the composition is rigorous. His allegories seek to point out the contradictions and the absurdities of our existence. This denunciation is pertinent and deep, even if the way in which it is expressed enables us to feel a few moments of gratification.
(Nazario Boschini, "Modena Flash")


The oil paintings by Florentine Franco Innocenti are enchanting not only for their execution, which is quite extraordinary, but for the variety of motifs that place this artist in the realm of the fantastic. A hyper-realistic technique enhanced by an ironic strain that is both sarcastic and bitter.
(Ferruccio Verona, "Il Resto del Carlino")


Of particular importance is the fact that Innocenti paints the background, and on this "stage" builds the characters and the environments that he wishes to portray. All this is done directly with a paintbrush and colors. To appreciate the excellent work done by this artist all you have to do is look at the definition and precision of the paintings, which are ironic and sensitive, and undoubtedly praiseworthy.
(Marco Fogliata Sarsoli, "Il Giornale di Brescia")


A pile of petrified fish, a gaping mouth that emerges from the water, an umbrella that turns into a pine tree: this is how the Florentine painter Franco Innocenti views his fantastic world. In the Sixties, for the first time, he had the opportunity to view an exhibit of surrealist painter Magritte. The encounter with this way of painting a fantastic world made him comprehend quite clearly which style of painting he would embrace from then on. He knew for certain that this was the only way in which he could express himself... His personal style is quite different from that of all the other fantastic or neo-surrealist painters. Using the medium of oil on wood, he is able to produce very accurate renditions. He begins with the background in which the sky, the water, the greenery of the landscape, are nothing more than a stage on which the painter makes the actors of his fantastic world play their part. Above all, Innocenti is attracted to nature: to flowers, plants, animals and smooth river rocks rather than to human beings. His flowers and his plants often take on gigantic dimensions, turning man into an insignificant being. As a lover of nature, the artist is apparently very preoccupied with the future of the environment in which we live. This preoccupation is clearly expressed in many of his paintings. For example, in the piece painted after the incident at Chernobyl in which, over an unreal and threatening background, genetic mutations are taking place: Trees turn into butterflies and mushrooms turn into snakes.



Everyday life and the world that surrounds us give Innocenti the ideas for his paintings. These ideas, in his fervid imagination, transform reality and give birth to works in which irony and humor are prevalent. Thus, Florence's Ponte Vecchio becomes a restaurant over the autostrada, and the 1966 flood of Florence is remembered with Michelangelo's David submerged in water and holding an open umbrella. Zurich's tram #11, in the painting "Lost Horizon" (Orizzonte Perduto), is mysteriously transported to a tropical island with fine white sand.
This is Innocenti's third exhibit in Zurich: his previous shows have been very well received by the public as well as the critics.
(Marie-Louise Stickelberger, "Tages Anzeiger")