«Drawing is the great multiplier of the thresholds of reality» .1 Thus Marco Tirelli defines the design, which has always accompanied his research as a sort of large reservoir of images, a large repository of memories where each element waits to be activated for become a work. For years this intimate dimension has remained confined within the diaries, where the artist notes forms, words, verses, musical compositions, images or architectures that strike his attention, in a sort of secret and stimulating reverie of Benjamin's matrix. Unequivocal and unavoidable sources of works on paper or paintings on canvas, these suggestions traced on the sheets of the diaries have kept for decades the private universe of the artist, a sort of Mnemosyne warburghiana that brings him, in some ways, to great masters of the twentieth century Italian as Umberto Boccioni and Giorgio De Chirico. Restricted to an accessory role, though significant, these materials were presented on rare occasions alongside the canvases, in a subtle counterpoint where the main space was always occupied by painting, essential synthesis of the flow of these images, as in a stream of consciousness, from the pages of the diary to the papers to get to the precipitate of painting.
After a long and complex gestation, these drawings have taken the role of protagonists in 2013, on the occasion of the Imaginary exhibition at the National Institute for Graphics, 2 where Tirelli presented only works on paper together with the diaries, exhibited for the first time and indicated from the artist as a locus generandi of his creative and imaginative process: a sort of "conceptual map" of his thought that takes shape in the Atlas, consisting of a series of tables that report on photographic support the mental itineraries created by Tirelli through the juxtaposition of images from different but complementary sources, "deposited in small spaces that are followed as topoi" explains Claudia Cieri Via3. Also in 2013 in the Italian Pavilion at the LX Venice Biennale, Tirelli presents a "Memory Theater": a room with four walls entirely covered with drawings, alternating with some small bronze sculptures, similar to the maquette. "The juxtaposition of these images, both in two-dimensional and three-dimensional form in a grid structure - writes Barbara Rose - requires that they be read as a single work composed of many fragments that include parts of human hands and heads, scales that disappear, interminable dark galleries, molecular biology, parts of the body, cosmological diagrams, laboratory instruments such as microscopes and telescopes ".
For the exhibition at the Museum of Saint Etienne, Marco Tirelli decided to concentrate his imagination on the central wall of the hall, 7.60 m high and 27.40 m long, entirely covered by more than 400 drawings, almost composing a sort of private archive and personal, where models and fragments enter the whole world, from which the artist draws the visions of his paintings from time to time. A real wunderkammer that contains hundreds of different subjects, from everyday objects to architectures, from animals to maps to geometries: an installation conceived as an open laboratory of ideas and images, a sort of private vocabulary, that Barbara Rose has rightly compared to the Teatro della Memoria by Giulio Camillo Delminio, described by Francis Yates as a mnemonic device similar to a shelving, where the mind can store specific memories to which it can access at will.5 And it is precisely the memory the starting point of the artist's thought, which defines it as "an immense basin, a reservoir of images, as if they were inside a large lake where the rivers of life flow together and the images settle on the bottom, ready to re-emerge when something reactivates them ". 6A whole mental process of activation that originates from the spaces of the studios, places of reflection and meditation within the residences of the lords of the Italian courts of the Renaissance, such as Federico da Montefeltro or Isabella d'Este. The decorative apparatus of these spaces responds to a precise pattern, where every element plays a fundamental role. So inside the Ducal Palace of Urbino Federico's study has walls covered with wooden inlays, designed by a group of artists, which depict various objects related to the personality of the duke, among which stand astronomical and measuring instruments, as astrolabes , teams, mazzocchi, books, animals, laws, inkwells and armor. An important place belongs to musical instruments, which underline the role of music in the culture of the Renaissance prince, also confirmed inside the Isabella d'Este school in the castle of San Giorgio in Mantua, where, among the companies of the cultivated marquise, we find a musical pentagram that shows only the indication of the pauses without the notes, probably "to symbolize the silence, privileged condition for a place of the mind" explains Cieri Via. 7
Moreover, the same nature of the Renaissance enterprise can be associated with the subjects of the drawings of Marco Tirelli: symbolic images of an enigmatic character, often associated with Latin mottoes, which indicate an intent, a purpose, a character inclination or a quality of the their illustrious possessor, be this a prince, the likes of Ludovico Gonzaga or Cosimo de'Medici, or a humanist, like Aldo Manuzio or Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. "The enterprises were exhibited in war or during jousting and tournaments, to declare the servitude of love or political loyalty, appearing in these cases imprinted on helmets, crests and shields and embroidered on banners, flags and surcoats. Reported on books, furnishings, crockery, horse harnesses, buildings, businesses also had the task of marking visually their belonging to a particular gentleman "explain Lorenzo Bonoldi and Federica Pellati8. As well as the Renaissance enterprises, which evoke and refer to elevated concepts, Marco Tirelli's drawings are also significant. They belong, as Agostino De Rosa points out, "to two categories of reality: some are minimal objects-surfaces similar to alchemical ampoules, uncovered boxes of different shapes and configurations, architectural compartments without fixtures-that contain an intimate and objective space (... ) others are enclaves-enclosures, environments, cages-in which human presence is banned, not by linguistic choice but because places that become silent witnesses to a world of archetypes ". 9
Archetypes as fragments, memories of a lost world. If inlays and business are allusive images of a system of values and ideas in which the prince was mirrored to rediscover his centrality as a cultured and enlightened character, in the neoclassical era this system was now lost, and the classicism transformed into a ruin without soul: a saudade of antiquity of which Giovan Battista Piranesi is the perfect interpreter. "Architecture and cities are the texts through which Piranesi interrogates history: not as a scholar and philologist, but as an architect, artist and man of action in the contemporary world, which from the analysis of the monument-document seeks the strong, high sense of the role of the intellectual who exerts an incisive action on society ", points out Mario Bevilacqua.10" As Piranesi I feel like a collector of boundary objects, found between the abyss of nonsense, which contains everything, and the light of desire: