Italian Sculpture – Interni d’Artista


By Andrea B. Del Guercio

May 1997

Innovation of the sculptural heritage through a mix of a desire for confirmat­ion of achievements and a desire for the new, both within the linguistic system and with an attitude to external stimuli.
The articulated expressive patrimony developed by ltalian sculpture, in two distinct phases that of the surpassing of the irljormal through abstract analytical systems between 1958 and 1963, and that constructed on ethical design values in the vast conceptual heritage between 1966 and 1970 is encountering, in recent years, qualified moments of ver’lj”ccation and monographic solutions of significant novelty. With respect to the three decades of production (1960s 1980s), and while conserving the profound dVferences between the cultural systems of the two expressive areas, some more recent works reveal the presence of specfic linguistic values for the individual artist, often underestimated by criticism based on past experiences, which can partiallyfurnish indications of similarities or even deep relations, and in any case redesign the articulation of a renewed plastic culture. Some recent one man shows and installations have been particularly indicative of the obsolescence of excessively long phases of critical judgement based on groupings of trends or schools, with the result of losing sight, due to forced inter­relations, of the true diversities and similarities; at the same time, it has been possible to perceive, in its entirety, the weakness and the evolution of ideological significance of systems of aesthetic communication based on excessively rigid formal schemes. In particular, we can observe that the rigidity of certain frequent formal `setf citations’ has led some artists on to an expressive terrain in which the work affrms its expressive will no longer through innovation, but as a consequence of the authority bestowed byfame; if zóe observe the most recent editions of the Spheres and Disks ofArnaldo Pomodoro, or the elegant glass surfaces of the new Igloos by Mario Merz, we can see the option for a new expressive space, characterized by the loss of a sacred quality, separation from the secrecy of the original, taking on new values once typical of reproductions, and therefore of the persistence of the message through the immobile persistence of the artefact,; in the two profoundly dkfferent examples, and in their expressive processes frequently reconfirmed thróugh precise and recognized formal solutions, we can further recognize the presence of that specifc aura no longer of art, but perhaps of design, seeing the strategic significance of a qualitatively catalogued product, in an equilibrium between aesthetic and function.
With respect to these realities there appear, with solutions of juxtaposition, works that must beobserved with attention, and which respond to different processes of re elaboration of the consolidated plastic typology; these are expressive operations dictated by a will to conduct research marked by a need for deeper investigation, and therefore by results motivated by a value of revelation ofthe new through briefshfts ofform, minimal variations of signs, mobility of planes and volumes; this is a plastic heritage that in this recent difficult period has emerged as a combined system of a desire to build on the past but also to renew it, operating both within the original linguistic system, and open to external stimuli. Faced with recognizable expressive autonomies, therefore distinctive with respect to contrived groupings based on obsolete trends, it appears extremely interesting to conduct perceptional research within the spaces of coniuence and interference between open expressive systems, committed to the pursuit of new linguistic passages: this does not mean attempts at the creation of formal recognizability, it is oriented toward the symptomatic combined perception of conditions and interior states of narration. We can assume, in this difficult attempt at verification of critical intuition, hypotheses that are partially diverse or contrasting, with contradictory portions and fragments, among the works; I refer to the centrality of the single support material, from plaster to iron to marble to bronze, to glass, therefore to a rigorously strategic expressive choice, exclusive, with the value of a speciific territory, assuming the connotations even of autonomous sef communication through an `open’ linguistic approach on the part of the artist; the material appears, that is, with the non dependentfunction of communication, integrated with specfc values of its evolution; lightness and weight, energy of theform and factors of dimension of the artefact appear closely connected to specific hypotheses regarding space, of attentive relation with the values proposed, case by case, by the habitat. The interpretation of certain large one man shows of recent years, the observation of certain precise values which have achieved, through consolidated aesthetic experience, the vitality of innovative elaboration suggest a further exhibition operation aimed at a verifleation and direct comparison of seulptural works; an itinerary and, therefore, the pereeption of a new path that includes the openness of structural order, recollection of the rigidity of the past, as expressed in the Place offour cardinal points by Gi6 Pomodoro installed in ’95 at the Parco di Tamino (Varese), the elear dissemination of plaster in sculpture that attempts to take possession of itself and the space through the detailed intelligence of the fragment observed in the retrospective held at the Galleria dArte Contemporanea of Trent in ’96 by Paolo Icaro, the strong impact through analytical essentialization of expressive systems and the interaction of the artifact with the exterior through the engraved surfaee, the beam and the magnet for a sculpture in `suspension’ by Eliseo Mattiacci in the exhibition in ’96 at the ex Pescheria of Pesaro; the extreme rigor as the result of an analytical system of the form in the surfaces and lucid organization in planes, and distinctly in the articulated system of the line and the bar, conducted with sensibility by Teodosio Magnoni for the exhibition in 1997 at the Rocca di Umbertide; the organic improvization of a neo monumentality created by Antonio Paradiso in `96 in the historical center of Asti and in ’95 in Reggio Emilia; the pursuit and accentuation of a condition of energy contained in the orchestration of machineries by Massimo Ghiotti presented between the large courtyard of the Palazzo della Provincia in Turin; the latest installation by Pietro Coletta based on spatial extension of the relation between the sign values of iron and the statie energy of stone, permanently positioned for the Museo di S Inseultura of Tortolì (Nu) in winter ’96. Different expressive realities, whose extended collision can lead to a view of the most intrinsic, secret meaning of the Italian sculptural patrimony today, in which artists from Christian Cassar to Gabriele Giorgi, Antonio Ievolella to Carmine Tornineasa, Anna Maria Santolini to Lucilla Catania, all operate in autonomy, with their own proposals of expressive values.