By Francesco Corsi

Alfonso Mangone was born in Altavilla Silentina, in 1958, a sort of Dionysian town, among wineries, donkeys, goats, sheep, stray dogs and cats.
A place pervaded by the smell of wood and fires in winter, the smell of fields, sauces, freshly picked tomatoes in summer. With dried figs, poverty marks a life that is nevertheless luxuriant, a shared life, between the din of the table and the games of children. The smells of sauces came from the open doors of the houses. On the ancient wooden doors, there were no keys, because the keys hung on the walls, as if they were a work of art, rusty, heavy, huge. Howls, grotesque, ancient languages flew across the country. Strong handshakes, vigorous greetings. There was no telephone to call each other among friends, but there was the wild scream that broke the wind. The ancient games of children, instinctive, joyful children.
The town was drunk with wine, the cellars everywhere were full of the smell of marc.
Shops everywhere where you could find fabrics, tailors, cobblers with their black smelling of pitch, pinchers, acrid smells of cheese, aromas of cured meats, delicate smell of dried fruit. On every windowsill red spots of chillies, including basil, wild oregano. There were stables for each family, when each had his own donkey as a means of transport and his own goat, among the strong smells of animals that even gave pleasure, the dung of the donkeys in the sun, among the river pebbles of the village alleys. And among the haystacks, like yellow patches of straw, the red of loves hid.

The sign was already inside the artist, when at the age of eight, he took the rust inhibitor of his grandfather who was a blacksmith and on the stones of our house he wrote: "THE ROLLING STONES". It was the first instinctive provocation. His father, a bricklayer with sturdy arms, took the chisel to remove those fifteen meters of rust-proof red paint from the facade of the house.
The painter loved the music of the Rolling Stones, the Kings, the Who, the Cream, Jimi Hendrix. He listened to rock ecstatically. As a child he painted his trousers with markers, pens, and showed his attitude of rebellious creativity when turning to the teacher, who scolded him for clothes stained with color, he was kicked out of school. Then, after the rebellion, introversion took over and he continued middle school with a different, very silent attitude. And it was then that he began to develop his artistic language, in love with the warm colors of the Flemings. He also began to watch Cezanne's “The Card Players”, which reminded him of the wineries of his country. In 1973 he began to make his first tributes to Cezanne, the first true revolutionary, after Delacroix. And he looked at Monet, Pissarro, the French Impressionists. Little by little he discovered Van Gogh, up to the German Expressionists; Die Brücke, Max Pechstein, Kirkner. But also André Derain, Matisse, with their fires.
Thus his style was born, in the virtuous shadow of these great artists he loved.

He enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples and from the Neapolitan city to Catanzaro he listened to Punk music always interpreting its expressionists. In the first year of the Academy in Catanzaro he frequented the squares "as if I were a stray dog from my country". He was free, hippy.
He then arrived in Florence in the middle of the punk period. In Piazza San Marco at the Accademia, he attended Giulietti's course and during this period he met the President of the fish market in Florence who commissioned him a painting every morning.
He made him portray Florentine churches such as Santa Maria Novella, Santa Croce, Monte alle Croci, Santa Trinita.

And came the exhibition curated by the famous Aldo Braibanti who came from Rome with a three-wheeled Ape Piaggio, together with the philosopher Gilberto Corbellini, and also with a duck in tow.

In Rome it was Ferruccio Massimi, a great organizer of exhibitions, publisher, gallery owner, who dedicated a lot of space to the painter in many catalogs and art essays. Mangone was present in the graphic folder "Elites Citoyen et Bourgeois" which contained twenty works by artists including Gianfranco Baruchello, friend of Picasso and Duchamp, Pino Reggiani, Tullio Catalano, Petrus, Nunzio and many others. The work was curated by Giulio Salierno and Mikis Teodorakis, the famous Greek musician who wrote the soundtrack of the film “Zorba the Greek” with Anthony Quinn. And again with the exhibition "Art and Alcohol" which the whole world talked about. A work by Mangone is still exhibited today in Formello, near Rome.

The artist, with both a bucolic and metropolitan soul, defines himself as a "city traveler". His leitmotif is in fact the crasis "ACROSSOCITY" (Cities traveller), with both adverbial and verbal meaning.
In the eighties driving the phosphorescent yellow Porsche-Volkswagen, listening to the Sex Pistols, he met Ginevra Romanelli in Florence, grandson of the famous Romanelli, author of the bust dedicated to Benvenuto Cellini on the Ponte Vecchio.
With her, mixed between an English woman and a Tuscan woman, a model, tall, slender, with two very long thin and sensual legs, red hair and piercing magnetic eyes, he traveled everywhere, from Amsterdam to Salerno.
With this gorgeous woman, he frequented the underground nightlife with alternative friends.
Then in Germany in Berlin, when the wall was still there, he was divided between underground clubs and important friendships, as with the Fischer publishers.
Then there was the rich Dutch period, in the place where the painter's art was imprinted: the cradle of the Flemings and the color of Van Gogh. His primary yellow bewitched him like the fires of his starry sky. In Holland in Groningen, wandering around the coffee shops, he always led a life on the road. His sign, his language was beginning to be known. He was welcomed into the circle of the most important painters in Holland.
He enrolled in the Centrum Beeldende Kunst from which many commissioned works arrived. It had a strong market response. He frequented the hottest clubs in Holland. In Vera Groningen all the grunge groups of the 90s converged, as Nirvana and Ted. His life was rock, concerts, art and women. Freedom, alcohol, psychedelia.
In Groningen he held two large ateliers in the buildings of the Dutch bank ABN AMRO Bank and in The Hague he painted and kept the studio in an old abandoned building of the Ministry of Defense, opposite the Italian Embassy. He filled almost the entire building with polyptychs even ten meters long. In front of his atelier was the enormous "Panorama Mesdag" by Hendrik Willem Mesdag, for which a 120-meter-circumferential structure was specially built.
These are historical notes on the life of Fernando Alfonso Mangone, without knowing which we cannot truly immerse ourselves in the painter's work. Because Alfonso crosses cities, places, but first of all he crosses his own soul with the depth of a poet that allows him to stop the speed of life flowing on the canvas. Life goes on frenetically in modern times, but also in the quiet of the countryside where you smell the smells slowly, where you rest on the yellow of the hay, still experience the frenzy of time that passes and emotions that flee. Mangone's brushstroke is fast, greedy for life, eager for the desire to grasp every night with its mystery, to wait for the day from dawn, to catch the fire of the sunsets that let us plunge into the night, where storms calm down, but where a fluorescent Northern Light makes us understand that the light never ends.