SOFT BRIGHTNESS, critical essay on the work of Giacobbe Giusti

Giacobbe Giusti brings on an artistic research that lets

appear the pliability of the media he uses. While direct

far the metal artworks, this sentence applies strongly

a Iso for the performance and the photos he makes.

 

Sculpture

Through along and difficult path of self-education

Giacobbe Giusti deepened his knowledge about his

favored materials, in aluminum in particular, and their

reactions to the tools he works with so as to his hands and

feelings. Looking at his works, one con feel the spontaneity

of his relation with the material even before being hit by

the deep sense that hides within them. lt is the some as the

aluminum knew it had to ply in a certain way, reacting to

the molding heat with which the artist caressed it.

Giacobbe Giusti’s sculptures tell a complex story. lt’s a tale

that originates with the man himself. Peculiarities like

provocation and restlessness are swept away by

contemplation. lt’s really difficult to look away from these

works, because they hypnotize the observer. This happens

because these sculptures bring within, at an ideal and

divulgated level, the thick communicational stock of our

archetypical imagination. They speak directly with our

The rupestrian triggering our ancestral memory.

paintings made during the Stone Age are

important cues about culture and belief of a man ‘under

construction’. A prehistoric man already able to mark his

passage and leave a sign of his existence. A man that,

even far from us under every possible meaning, was

fascinated like us from an ideal of beauty and tried to

capture it with paintings. A beauty tied to animals

(buffalos, deer, horses and bears) and sometimes a

handprint symbolizing the will to exist and to own things

and beauty. Some has seen a relation between the figures

and the ideas of male and female. The strength and the

grace, brutality and elegance, all ideas that constitute the

base of Giusti’s art.

From the first paintings to the moment art was recognized as mystical and magical, the painted scenes become prayers, giving art spiritual and communicational values that still mark it. The strength of aArt, the emotion and cultural stock that form its essence can’t be owned, just shown. Giacobbe Giusti has the power to show the art that hides in aluminum layers, letting their true shape rise out.

Giusti’s sculptures have a Neolithic flavor tied to the sense of discovery, they are words of a voiceless language made of images, lights and sounds reverberated from the aluminum layers. A language enriched by the artistic will of the artist, the same kurnstwollen that Alois Riegl spoke of: the specific artistic and aesthetic will that cannot be determined by an age peculiarities and by the ability to shape and sculpt, of which the Art is the noblest form.

Thinking the artwork as the result of a well determined will

that rises from practice, material and technique,

Riegl substitutes with a theological theory a mechanic

conception of Art’s nature, breaking materialism and

historically created positions: Croce intended the artwork

as some sort of lyrical intuition that happened in the mind

and had to be separated from the realization, while Kant

thought that art was a series of perceivable and formal

properties tied to taste and aesthetics. Riegl considered

that every artwork have to be judged through the

consciousness about the kunstwollen as typical of their

So as rupestrian paintings showed forms and shapes that

floated in an undefined space, Giusti’s sculptures do not

have a formal space to stay into, because the place in

which they are made to stay is the observer’s mind. In The

Philosophical  Disenfranchisement of Art, Arthur Danto says

that it is possible to distinguish an artwork from a simple

object due to its chance to be described into a specific

context. The artwork is not defined by a different

perception, but by the situation it is involved in. lt is the

artist that can transform an object into an artwork, to the

point that Margolis says that it is an abstract object that

cannot be realized other than in a real object. So, we have

to accept a sort of duality between the mental state of the

artist and it’s translation in a material form. Giacobbe

Giusti’s sculptures, thought and realized with the shapes of

flowers and rocks, are the representation of a deep

thought tied to evolution itself. In his more conceptual

production, the artist has conceived and realized a

performance that shows the conflict between two future

species: a man that evolved toward brutality and

stupidity battles with last-generation-androids characterized

by female aspect, that are going to substitute themselves

to men. This performance represents the ideal context

where to place the sculptures. They are the perfect

background for the dualities male/female and

brutality/grace because they represent a duality

themselves (flower/rock) and echo primitive dualities

between buffalos and deer, horses and bears.

Wollheim says that “the content” cannot be distinguished

from the practices connected to art as “life forms,” the

some way in the language the meanings are linked to the

activities that the language entails. lt is not to be

underestimated the meaning and the role of interpretation

in Art. The observer interprets just like the critic does, and

often he ‘reads’ the artwork in a different way from

the other one. lt is important, in this sense, the thinking of

Davidson, who asks himself if interpretation should not

precede the elaboration of a ‘meaning theory.’ He thinks

that a ‘meaning theory’ is elaborated during each

conversation, based on constant interpretation mode by

talker and hearer. Dummett says that speaking a language

is an activity of which we con understand the coherence

connecting words to actions. This brings to an inner

language notion that prevents us from doing a mental

operation of language: we just talk, do not do the

operation to translate thoughts in words. Normally, the

hearer understands what it is said if he knows the

language. With art is the same: who does not know its

language will give it just the value of an object. The ones

that, instead, know the language, can understand and

interpret it.

Fascinating and communicative far almost everyone,

Giacobbe Giusti’s sculptures reveal one more register,

following every interpretation level possible but precedent

to the creation itself of the artworks. As already said,

aluminum seems to work along with the artist in the process

that let emerge its real shape, hidden by the layers. While

experimenting, Giusti became to know this material

enough to reduce his intervention to the strictly needed. To

the first painted works he preferred the soft brightness of

matter. lt seems that Giusti found the key to decrypt and

interpret with his sensitivity a code typical of past masters of

Art, proving to be able to find the subject of the sculpture

before it becomes visible, putting up a direct dialogue

between himself and the aluminum and being able to show

it without add or subtract anything, giving the artwork the

chance to express itself in the clearest way. The shape that

lies in the prison of the layer emerges, thanks to the working

of Giacobbe Giusti and, when the work is done, it shines.

The welding lines, so violent at a first glance, reveal

themselves as scars that remember the origin of the

sculpture, placing it away from the industrial process the

material passed. These sculptures appear to have battled

against the stone and to have won, thanks to the

intervention of Giacobbe Giusti.

 

 

 

Performance

The Artificiol landscapes performance represents an

interpretation of the future that could be. At a certain point

of his existence, the Homo sapiens evolved in a less

intelligent and sensitive specie whose only interest is

brutality: the post-humans. This already shows the sensitivity

of Giusti about contemporaneity. Art, in its widest meaning,

includes every human activity that brings to aesthetical

expressions, based on techniques, skills and abilities coming

from study and experience. In its modern meaning, Art links

to the ability to communicate emotions, so that artistic

expressions, even conveying a message, are not a

univocal language with an unambiguous codex shared by

aIl, but are to be interpreted individually. In our age, the

cultural regression and the return to analphabetism

seem to be not seen as bad things; in fact the need to

preserve our cultural heritage is being object of feral

attacks. Some want to sell our national heritage or part of

it; while a lot of books are published, they are mostly vanity

press or similar garbage; it emerges with strength an

antisocial tension that grows every day. Nadia Urbinati

says: “the image of our society as a market where one con

exchange rights with money, sex with power, links to the

one of a society that seems to have lost its inner ethics

capab/e of ho/d together the citizens: respect, solidarity,

equality, citizenship itself.” At the some time we are

everyday more homologated by our wishes, and socially

divided in groups. Giacobbe Giusti seems to have read

and interiorized these considerations and his sensitivity

translated them in an evolution-to-primitivism that looks

like scream born from his lave far others, far culture, far lite.

On the other hand, Giusti’s good mood compelled him to

hope far a better future: following the main themes of

classic science fiction tradition, he has created perfect

beings, the last-generation-androids. The Homo sapiens, on

the edge of extinction, created them to battle against the

post-humans and to redeem the specie from its mistakes.

The battle can be interpreted as a dualistic synthesis of

existence. Light and dark, good and evil, yin and yang,

male and female. lt’s interesting how the post-humans

have a metallic face with cruel features, while the androids

have normal. human, faces. The battle comes along with

the projection of a documentary that tells the whole story

of the homo sapiens through the images survived to

destruction and to oblivion and places this war aut of and

maybe aver ti me, showing the facts as already happened.

What more of ali hits the observer is the development of

the documentary. Seemingly chaotic, it is a collection of

photograms that show a unity strongly functional in artistic

and narrative way.

Franca Nicoletta Bolzoni, in Il cinema dalle caverne a

oggi, placed the first film in the Stone Age. Far her, the

animal figures painted on cavern walls were not just

images: they were the animal and the action it did. There

wasn’t any division between the image and there

represented subject. This means that the primitive man

didn’t see a painting but the reality, in the same way we do

not see the image of an actor but the actor himself. The

painting, substituting the animal, substituted the reality,

so as it happens in movies. The paintings had the power to

capture the animal. In the same way, Artificial landscapes

does not substitute to reality, it is reality. What in the future

constitute our visual memory is not a collection of

photograms, but the essence of this memory. Ali that

survives of the Homo sapiens.

Hauser, in Storia sociale dell’arte, following the researches

of Gyorgy Lukélcs, delineates a theory about Art that

analyzes its relationship with the historical and social

setting. He denies the autonomy of Art because it is made

of interrelated materia! factors. He thinks that each society

has its own style. About Hauser’s theory, Bolzoni says: “Born

in the break that doubles the image, the Cinema reunites

it. bringing it back to its original version that is the some

of the Paleolithic naturalism. Starting from the conceptions

of the image as action, of the Paleolithic memory, and of

the space as thought during Late Gothic, along with the

instantaneous vision of hic et nunc of the impressionistic

image, we track the path that brings us to the matrix from

which is born the cinematographic image. Hauser says that

the Cinema discovers a new dimension, because space

and time merge.” Similar to Hauser’s position it’s the one of

Antal, who elaborated an analysis method that connects

Art with history and sociality but, differently from Hauser,

consider the social structure in a dynamic sense instead of

monolithic.

lt is on the base of this kind of analysis that Giusti propose to

us his chaotic reconstruction of the history, telling us about

the dissolution of magic, of that holy element typical of Art

without whom we could be no more than brutes without

emotions, so as the post-humans are. This holiness will be

saved by the androids. They look like female but being

artificial, are more similar to angels, representing an

evolutional step that is more spiritual than material. As the

freed prisoner of Platone’s cavern, Giacobbe Giust tells us

a different reality. The Artificial landscape performance

con be seen as an invite to wake up from the sleep

imposed to us by stimuli that we cannot control or interpret,

to understand the fictions that we think to be real and,

finally, to see the truth as it is, reconnecting to the value on

which in the past we have defined and built society. Giusti

follows his instinct to free the other prisoners in order to

share his intuitions and reflections. George Berkeley

said that we do not know directly the thins in the world: we

know the effect they have on our minds. When we see an

object, we perceive a copy of it, a mental image. The idea

of the liberation of men from the chains of their limited

experience to reach a pure and true knowledge of the

reality is common to a lot of cultures, so as discoveries and

innovations that make the world as it is can be seen as the

result of the try to go aver the limit, to connect with what

lies aver the instant knowledge. Literature, Art, Cinema, are

full of stories of men that, challenging the hostility of others,

freed themselves from the chains of belief and opinion

toeach the truth, and then went back to share their

discoveries to others, often being misunderstood. In

addition, in Twentieth Century, the myth of the cavern has

become a metaphor of how mass media influence

andgovern the public opinion, interposing between the

news and the individuals, manipulating the reality as

needed by who has the power.

Placing in the field of utopia/dystopia, Giacobbe Giusti’s

performance renews and proposes, with a brilliant

iconography, the need to emancipate from extreme

consumerism, regaining our purity, honesty and spirituality.

Antonio Senatore

Art Critic

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