Good evening ladies and gentlemen,
We will now try to unravel the disorder which Giorgi has created, in order to show that within it a certain order continues to exist.
I will try to reduce your mistrust of this kind of art, a mistrust which I, too, felt initially when faced with work like this.
I will try to explain all this using the methods of my profession as an art critic. We are always asked: “How is it possible to identify reality, how can you recognise it?” I always reply: “By making a comparison”.
Behind this question a completely different idea lies hidden, the idea that within art there is a logic. But the logic of the history of art is naturally a logic reconstructed by art historians, a logic that never existed like that.
As a result, the best thing about my profession is that every time we think we know how art works, there comes along an artist who says: “None of this makes any sense. Forget everything you have learnt up to now! Everything is changing, in a totally different way.” And it is always the artists who are right.
This is particularly true of Gabriele Giorgi. If you had been taught that any sculpture always has a pedestal and a problem with limits and volumes, as far as Gabriele Giorgi’s work is concerned, forget it. It would however certainly be interesting to read some of his poems, like when he speaks of light, and darkness, of above and below, or of clouds, often using a very particular term: boundaries. In one of his poems he actually talks about poems without meaning. This is an idea which comes from painting.
Let us look at these two large installations: the first of them, “Liquid Thoughts” is from 2001, and the second, “The Spirit” from 2008. And if you also look at the videos you will realise the strange way in which the camera taking the picture catches the objects.
In talking about the two sculptures, I am going to start from the title: “Liquid Thoughts”. These are things which are lying around here and there, which in another room would be completely different, in other words they would be in a different assemblage from this one. In Munich, for example, the installation was set up completely differently.
What do these two sculptures have in common? They have this in common, that they are not limited to the work itself; that only the room in which they are exhibited sets limits to them. The sculpture has no limits, instead it remains permanently open.
And in this way, fundamentally, the artist breaks with everything we have learnt from post-war art history.
He breaks with the principle of abstraction, even though everything looks very abstract. But we know that we have here objects in common use, that the readymade has an importance of its own, that putting objects together that have nothing in common can be useful in art.
Giorgi does it in a specific way, absolutely unspectacular; a little poetry comes into it, but not so much as to make the sculptures become narrative. They remain in relationship with themselves alone. “Liquid Thoughts” is a work in marble and metal. Metal is a solidified liquid. The same goes for rocks, geologically speaking. In other words the artist takes objects from nature, shapes them and places them in this intellectual context.
This is also true of a sculpture which we could talk about at length. If we just think about the title, “The Spirit”, then we already have an idea of what it means, and we find this chair occupied, we find this table occupied and we find these pieces of an old object scattered on the ground, and we no longer think we will be able to see any logical consequence in this work. Hopefully it makes us think of chaos theory, which in its turn conceals a logic of its own, or of nanotechnology, or of all the new possibilities of a macrospecific view, and only at the end do we realise that all these things have something to do with each other.
And you will think, without the artist giving you the satisfaction of demonstrating it to you, that this object cut up into pieces on the ground, these pieces of light metal, could have been thought of not just as a metal image or as pure form, but that all this was once an object, an object which is now no longer usable. It has been written very interestingly that the artist always takes objects which at root have a usable character, even if they can now no longer be used. We are here facing a typical fixation of the figurative arts. Because, if you look at this little cupboard with a drawer and a little door, at the bottom of it you have all the tools used by a traditional painter who wants to depict a person in thought. Our artist, however, uses the chair, uses something into which knowledge can be put, this person needs a chair, needs a thing which can be filled with knowledge, needs a position of calm and needs the multiplicity of thoughts which must be reassembled.
If you want to call all this ‘slivers of thoughts’, you realise how you can approach Giorgi’s art with words. There is never an unequivocal message in the art of Gabriele Giorgi.
We are dealing instead with sculptures which are not deconstructivist in the sense that they dismantle something and simply lay it on the ground, as do some of his Italian contemporaries. The contrary of deconstructivism is pure, intellectual constructivism, assembling shapes which can form new levels of practicability and concept.
This is a position which the artist has been developing for some time, which derives from painting and which has many different layers.
We may also note his great experience with installations created in public spaces, we can see that these installations are differently conceived, and have a different artistic philosophy from what I recognise from other artists. I do not know any other artist who would be capable of working with these objects in such a direct, such an immediate way. At the same time, they have a convincing manifesto about them, even renouncing what we would call an ‘Italian finish’, in other words an Italian end result.
The work never becomes smooth and pretty, there always remains in Giorgi’s works a certain strength and a fragility. When you think you have found something sound, something hard, he has already dismantled it.
At root we are talking about thinking and shaping with words, words as shapes which become concrete in these installations.
I believe that this art is rare, a long way from the mainstream, that it is not a finished art only because the artist picks up elements of what happened in the fifties and sixties, but on the contrary this is an art which demonstrates very well how the artist succeeds in beginning processes which, as processes, continue to survive in the sculptures. It is for this reason that the sculptures do not have a very precise appearance, but only, so to speak, a look of multiple choice which the artist must conceive afresh according to the space. This, too, is a new experience for us, the fact that the works liquefy, that they become liquid thoughts, that they begin a process of their own, guided by the artist in a way which is always different. This is a species of art in dialogue form, and I hope you enjoy this dialogue.
(transcription and translation by: Bruno Lill and Christina Schreinemacher)