More than fifty years have passed since Jannis Kounellis exhibited, on the occasion of Fuoco Immagine Acqua Terra (1967) his Margherita con fuoco in the first and historic headquarters of Galleria L’Attico. Fabio Sargentini’s relationship with flowers seems to be far from out of stock.
Corpi fioriti is the title of the exhibition inaugurated last November, 26 (until March, 3) by the roman gallerist in his space in Via del Paradiso. Two years after Doppio Diario, and following the government provisions that sanctioned the closure of culture places, Sargentini’s exhibiton is a jewel of rare intimacy, whose center of gravity is La Criarde (1943), a small canvas by Victor Brauner (1903-1966).
“Since I reluctantly deprived myself of it,”Sargentini writes, “I have never forgotten it.” The painting by the Romanian painter, in fact sold about half a century ago, “comes home” by courtesy of the heirs of the collector to which it belongs. La Criarde is an impossible being, a simultaneity of planes that takes the shape and the strength of the fetish, a totem in which the Egyptian and perfect profiles of the opposites are here to coexist, dissolving themselves in the absolute frontality of the icon. Linear traces draw vaguely human silhouettes, two faces whose field of vision is uniformed by the presence of a large eye. From the mouth of one of these faces a tongue / stem, squeezed between the sharp ends of a crescent moon, starts its way pushing itself upwards to develop a corolla which, although not a real eye, still assumes the same role.
Neapolitan artist Stefano Di Stasio (b.1948) brings two works as a dowry. In I destinati (1994), a canvas belonging to Sargentini, the roses become the weapons of destiny binding two lovers together. A man and a woman, held in the grip of two crowns of roses, kneel before Fate who wants them to be united, occupy – perhaps even claiming it – the empty space of a huge and dry square, deprived of any information. Such a square is framed at the rear by the elementary geometries of buildings in silhouette, introduced, albeit minimally, in their three-dimensionality by the gregarious lights of a few street lamps, also, accomplices of the twilight. The bodies of these two souls – lit from an external source that frames their volumes – called to be present by Destiny, emerge from the dim light, “suspended between union and detachment” (Lorenzo Canova), between the strength of the conviction of those who accept the task and the discreet, almost marian resignation of those who, bowing their heads towards the ground, accept the “little death” of their past. So, the bare space, the abstraction of the action plan, is transformed into the stage of the essential, into a psycho-geographical singularity purified from the superfluous within which each of us is called to face the meaning in all its bewildering density. In Rose a Nudo, a painting created especially for the exhibition, a stick resting on a surface abruptly interrupts, at the junction of the shoulder, the pain of a man – a self-portrait of the artist – who, thrown into a void about to become an abyss, is born again in the shapes of an ambiguous idyll between sunrise and sunset. On his bare arm, the artist arranges the coils of vines on which some rose corollas still open. A constant presence in his pictorial corpus, the “stick” acts – for Di Stasio – as a real dimensional separator, as an instrument that “divides” the opposite “waters” of human consciousness.
During his long and successful artistic career, Luigi Ontani (b.1943) has chosen to be anyone. Speaking of the two Bacchini photographs (1970) in the exhibition, Sargentini wonders about their raison d’etre. “A legacy of Arcimboldo?” the gallerist asks himself, thinking about the print in which Ontani portrays himself naked on a velvet daybed, with his legs crossed, his face hidden by a cascade of grapes and his hands covering his penis. From the measured idleness of a pagan god, Ontani goes on to take on the appearance of a vase (Tulipano nell’ANO, 1980). Still naked and crouched in an (anti) classical pose, the artist seems to raise a smile that has the flavor of childish lightheartedness, the infinite simulations of children and their constant “game” of being simultaneously everything and nothing.
“I have not lost the vice of inventing exhibitions”, Sargentini sympathetically confesses, and with good reason. Corpi fioriti is, after all, a small and precious box of contemplation, a “Salvific” intervention, in a historical moment where, in the visual arts, the frenzied rush to produce pictures does not find eyes ready enough to decrypt them. The exhibition assumes an even greater value if we consider that in the past, starting from the first solo show of Pino Pascali (Nuove Sculture,1966) in which the Apulian artist forced the public to inhabit the perimeter not touched by his sea, it was precisely the contemplative dimension that ended up in the gallerist’s target.
curated by Fabio Sargentini
Roma – Galleria L’Attico
26/11/2021 – 3/03/2022
Monday – Friday, from 17:00 to 20:00
Via del Paradiso, 41 Roma
Phone: +39 06 6869846
Victor Brauner, La Criarde, 1943, oil painting on canvas, 61 x 38 cm. Courtesy: Galleria L’Attico
Stefano di Stasio, Rose a nudo, 2021, oil painting on canvas, 100 x 80 cm. Courtesy: Galleria L’Attico
Luigi Ontani, Tulipano nell’ANO, 1980, photographic print, 105 x 80 cm. Courtesy: Galleria L’Attico
Graduated in Conservation of Cultural Heritage, he is currently attending the master’s degree course in Visual Arts at the University of Bologna. He is part of the team that manages a well-known cultural dissemination blog and is also a contributor for Juliet Art Magazine. He believes in art as a space for recovering a lost complexity.