Milano 2016 Do You See What I See

I was finishing setting up my first exhibition in Vienna when a ruffled guy – a passer-by – stepped into the gallery, pointed his contemptuous finger at one of my paintings – a poor thing that happened to be hanging next to the door – and spoke out: “Is this Art?”. He then stared at me, with a piercing gaze as dark as a stormy sky. Utterly abashed, with my eyeballs popping out of my head, a feeble voice and no irony at all I responded: “No. It is a painting”.

His question was legitimate. It was not like the usual “my three-year-old son (that blockhead) could do it!” and it deserved an unobjectionable answer.

What the guy saw was nothing more than what it actually was: an object. However, Art cannot be an object, as it is not something outside of ourselves, independent and disconnected from us as observers and witnesses. If there is any Art, it is already within us – in potentiality – included in the faculty of appreciating Beauty. It happens sometimes, in moments of great open-mindedness, that this capricious faculty enables us to tune ourselves with what our senses perceive.

Of course we could investigate the psycho-anthropological, the socio-historical, the political or the philosophical aspect of that. However, the truth is that the joy that a sunbeam on a wall, a scent, a gesture or a sound can give us is a mystery beyond words.

My need for painting comes perhaps from the desire to cultivate that faculty, in order to come closer to that mysterious source. I fumblingly search for something I do not quite know. I have hints, though. For instance, one day I jotted down a sort of recipe:

manure brown
limestone white
grease black
rust on concrete,
on silver fir planks
milestone
gravestone
cypresses and silence
perfume, pungent stench
dust, sun, cicadas
a still innocent fresh morning

Simply traces, impulses.

Behind the impulse that urges every artist to show their work, apart from the ancestral need of sharing, I think I can see the timid and fundamental question: “Do you see what I see?”

Well, I would really like to have this question answered. This is why I decided to come back to Milan – the city of my debut, ten years ago, with Galleria Gian Ferrari – and set a small exhibition up. To share with you my zigzags.

Giulio