Belgian by birth, Vito Masi spent his early childhood and adolescence at Marchienne-au-Pont (Charleroi). The Flemish masters magic, caught live in museums and studied in school textbooks, enchanted the artist since his childhood: his sensitivity is nourished by evanescent and rarefied atmospheres and by the crepuscular fascination of North European modern art. The first stages of the artistic and expressive research led Vito Masi to be inspired by the early 1990s great painters; he interpreted and translated, in an intensely personal way, their absolute power of colour and the dynamic cut of the form. The artist was still young when he moved to Italy where he started his learning process that soon led him to master pictorial art and specialize in technical studies which will be essential for the spatial construction of his works. The first exhibition was hosted in the Archeological Provincial Museum of Potenza in October 1999 and the second one in 2001 was held in “La Scaletta” a Cultural Circle in Matera. Vito Masi was already mature to withdraw from a sort of “pictorial remake” and from his previous approach to figures: he built a pictorial style where the abstract component prevailed and the construction became lyric/ informal with images caught in their sensorial complexity. Recently, the artist has reached a summa of his previous experiences concerning informal abstractionism with the experimentation of numerous materials, from plaster to stucco, diluent bitumen and graphite (2008), up to the evocative works of digital photography with shots taken in atelier, of medium or big size, glued on stiff multilayer using different treatments (diluent bitumen, chalks and graphite) giving them a typical “earthy” veil. Vito Masi shows his complex personality in the latest works recalling crepuscular emotions which have struck his childhood, anxieties, turmoil and restlessness of a deep and eclectic soul. The paradigmatic images in Industrial Archaeology provide the ancient knowledge of a soul withdrawing into the past, of a sensitivity that has kept all the mood of the Belgian Pays Noir looking at the flow of time with a veiled sadness, sharing northern impulses of uncertainty and human being’s complexity.
“In most of its ongoing works Vito Masi uses bodies, which are those of their families, of the people who are closest. It forces them into unnatural twists, tiring positions, and then he portrays them in fragments or tranche. It studies the muscles, the skin with their imperfections, shows a kind of geography, a map, an atlas of the epidermis. Even before a private performance - lasts a few seconds and painting transforms it into something potentially eternal - it reminds me the extraordinary photographs in black and white by John Coplans. However, he only portrayed himself in merciless going to the old age; on the contrary, the bodies painted by Vito Masi exude power and youth. But if we consider Moneta spicciola and Ultima schermaglia, the two paintings depicting closed fists - we don’t know whether to defend or to attack - the reference to the great American artist and theorist is far more than a coincidence. All in Masi painting moves in the shadows, lunar surfaces that come out from the alchemical and black night, sometimes interspersed with pauses in red, black rectangles that interrupt a sequence of images with the stratagem of the pause. Vito Masi thinks in terms of absolute lyricism, without ever resorting to the narrative mechanism. No matter what happens in his works, but the strong emotional concentration derived from a knowledge of the world coming deliberately to us through the painting.
(Extract from the critical text by Luca Beatrice "Another reality, Contemporary Visionary Art")