Gabriele Giorgi’s main exegetes, Andrea Del Guercio and Alessandro Pitrè, amply insist on the artist’s past as a painter and point out the pictorial elements that survive in the sculptural projects (often public ones) that characterize his production starting from 1989 – underlining , in particular, a new intention: the “function of use”.
As for me, having to face with the works of the last ten years , this double information gains a great value. Under the sign of interactivity, passing from the second to the third dimension submits the fundamental problem of style in terms of language semiotics. Should I ask Umberto Eco what Giorgi’s linguistic process consists of, he would answer: it is a combination between metonymy and synecdoche. Metonymy is based on the continuity between two elements. Synecdoche arises from the association of these contiguous elements, that is to say from the image into the image, which gives its own meaning to the work of art and shows the public the value of use. This is what happens in Crossbow: the idea of linking parts of a crossbow to metal plates makes the observer feel the consciousness of the values of use of the work of art: it is a bench. It is possible to say the same for Throne for Mrs. Mary : the metallic cylinder of the seat and the rotative triangle create the operational metaphor of the throne. In Suction Shafts the fissures of the minimal shapes spread the noise of suction of the aspirators they cover. In Fountain some triangular copper bowls are set in a vertical superimposing: the continuity of the line of water which flows from one to the other makes the public think to a fountain.
Sometimes, Giorgi’s semiotic style becomes more complicated through implicit subtle metaphors. In Thunder Threshold , two blocks of Carrara marble, crossed by as many copper masses, are set one in front of the other on a meadow. The “electrical” opposition between the two materials concentrates the tension in the empty space between the two blocks. The message of the synecdoche is a spiritual one. It recalls Zen Buddhism and the minimal architecture of the rocky gardens. A serene immanency waiting for the thunder: Threshold of Thunder makes me think to a refined, leaning towards aestheticism version of Lee U Fan’s sculpture, the great master of the Japanese Mono-Ha, who celebrates the union of stone with metal. Giorgi’s sculpture dates back to 1992 and comes after Rinserrata, a year older, a piling up of sharp and pointed marble blocks, partially set in copper plates. Which is the metonymic message, the function of use we can ascribe to this piling up of contiguous objects? We could foresee the starting point of a research that will find its answer a year later, but that would be an escape from the basic question.
Let’s go back to the problem of style. Giorgi’s metonymic one is based on a total, complete co-reference between contiguous objects whose location defines the function of use. In front of Rinserrata we have to “face” the author’s will. Ours is a strange feeling, especially because this piece is contemporary with Shafts ( 1991), Fountain or Crossbow ( 1990).We have the same strange feeling in front of a more recent work as Borea (1997), which consists of fluted white marble blocks laid down horizontally and polyhedral vertical red painted iron structures. No doubt, in this work of art, we should see the open air projection of the gestural elements of a minimalist pictorial composition. Elamr Zorn, another Giorgi’s exegete, would talk about knowing “ tactility” between the author and the spectator. And, after all, is this arbitrary ambiguity so paradoxical ? I’m thinking to some Roland Barthes’ sentences about the style: “ Any level of refinement it may have, style has always got something rough in it, it is a shape without destination…as a vertical form of thoughts, an forced and vertical path of thoughts…”. A beautiful definition of the creating freedom. Let’s leave Gabriele Giorgi the privilege of this freedom. His tridimensional semiologic language is intelligent and has been able to create its own “ mental weapons”. And, for sure, it is not a mere coincidence if a 1997 work has right this title: three long and curved copper ribbons “bite”, as aggressive snakes, stretched blocks of blue quartzite…Unless the metaphor really represents three stone-headed reptiles! To us the final choice, as in a Chinese riddle: which part of the snake must be taken for the whole? the mineral head or the metallic tail?
In our times of global culture, Giorgi appropriately intervenes to remind us that art is the style of the perpetual investigation. If art is the means of communication, I think it’s right if this communication takes us by surprise. Giorgi uses his mental weapons both to seduce and to surpise us. His sculpture is deeply humanist and, beyond his persuaded constructive precision, it is far from having run out of its neobaroque ( or postmodern) temptations: still so many problems to foresee, as many answers to follow.
Pierre Restany – armi mentali – Dieter Ronte – G.Giorgi
Paris, mai 2001