While Campano was working on the ‘La Grappa’ series in 1986, immersed in an analysis of the pictorial possibilities of Poussin’s L’automne, he also produced several small-format canvases based on L’été, also known as Ruth et Booz, from Poussin’s cycle ‘Les quatre saisons’. These pieces were sketched freely, almost as a kind of experiment, and were the origin of a highly coherent, compact series, started in 1989, entitled ‘Ruth y Booz’, in which Poussin’s composition was subjected to exhaustive analysis and reinterpretation. The series was characterised by the use and combination of various stylistic formulations drawn from historical avant-gardes, reinterpreted in the light of a contemporary sensibility and enriched by the ideas of American Abstract Expressionism and Art Informel. Campano also drew on the historical tradition represented by the classicist zenith of Poussin as a point of departure and a space for reflection. The series concluded with the negation of style and an emptying of content. Untitled 4 belongs to the last stage of the series, which is notable because it marks a transition to and anticipates later approaches stripped of figurative referents, in which black paint is applied to the prepared white canvas, constructing even more austere, naked abstract compositions, characterised by an essential geometry—in a sense both gestural and rough-edged. Poussin’s landscape and the characters that inhabit it and bring the scene to life are reinterpreted through a process that completely strips them of accessory elements and represents them in terms of their core qualities. The structure of the landscape and the movements or postures of the characters are condensed in basic outlines, in an elementary geometry that still leaves room for the hand’s gesture. The colours are toned down to a limited palette dominated by blacks and shades of grey on the white of the prepared canvas. The tree that closes Poussin’s composition on the left is represented here in the form of a ‘T’. Isolated from the context of its setting, the tree looks like a huge, vigorous support crossing an empty space; the features of a tree cannot be recognised in its figure. Within the series this is the painting that most clearly reflects the legacy of American Abstract Expressionism. It contains particularly clear references to Robert Motherwell and Franz Kline in terms of the execution and the gestural elements that calibrate the construction of the pictorial space.
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