The visual perception of the being-in-the-world

“There is an analytical branch of modern art”, wrote Filiberto Menna in his essay in 1978, a classic of the historical-critical ermeneutics. Joseph Kosuth, head of Conceptualism, then wrote that art is “idea as idea as idea”, twice an idea, because it derives from a thought and it’s shifted to its visual expression.
Modern, contemporary, germinated from a clear structure of thought, of ideas – that is how we can describe Giuseppe Inglese’s style of painting. He was born in Rivoli (Torino), in 1978, and currently lives and works in Settimo Torinese.
Imaginery and field of view of his paintings clearly have a lot to do with the existential philosophy, in its multiple declinations, and the psychology of the shape/Gestalt, which co-existed on the same historical-cultural wavelength and were subjected to a mutual contamination during the first half of the 20th century. The years of the Existentialism between the two World Wars, were years of warm aesthetics, expressed in abstract furies of the international art. The present aesthetics are cooler, there is no expressionistic glide in the meditative feeling and in the art of the artist. 
There is a clear formal, aesthetic and symbolic correspondence among the subjects painted by the artist and the background, the scenery that these figures inhabit. The relationship between shape and background in the visual perception is exactly part of the Gestaltic theory. The field of view in the painting is given by the creation of a figurative shape, inserted in a background which is not lifeless, but determines it and interacts with it.  Rich in meaning is, in Inglese’s paintings, the cognition derived from the sensitive and subjective experience which we live, as Shakespeare wrote in his Macbeth, like poor actors on a stage (the world) “agitating themselves on the scene for an hour and that’s it” – after all, the human condition is “it is a tale told by an idiot, full of noise and fury, signifying nothing”.
The world’s fragmentation, the anthropological shift, the bewilderment and the strain of living and relating to others have been largely and variously analysed, narrated by philosophical thought, literature, visual arts, movies before our real being began heading towards the modern; they shower the daily news. One cannot say that there has been a radical innovation in the poetic consciousness, marked by the awareness of the pain of living of the young painter. The horrid, awful side of existence, the pain, the discomfort are common to many artists, most of the times in tautological and provoking ways, in ordinary and rather naïf mannerisms. On the contrary, the originality and the emotional-communicative charge of the artist’s lexical code book, in my opinion, are given by this deep conscience of the man “in a certain situation”, the ontology of the man who is because he-is-in-the-world, who experiences it in a constant evolution, plunged in absurd existential and problematic situations, in a field of infinite possibilities which allow him to make decisions, to make plans for himself following an ethic of truth and authenticity and, at the same time, obstructed and powerless. The matter we are made of, our organicity, our materiality “lives us” in some ways; our freedom is only presumed and the sense of impotence and apprehension grows. Inglese’s pictorial grammar originates from this biunique continuum: that of the spatial field which generates visual forces and of the shapes standing out of it, expressed at times from the binomial sign-line and always from the binomial sign-colour.
The thematic of the author is embodied by a “conceptual realism”, turned towards the philosophical reflection on man, because the figurative image dictates precious information on everything that exists. Shapes and background. Dramatis personae in a real scenery, against the backdrop of the theatre of life. The being of a man, his personality which reveals itself in the relationships he has with others, with the environmental landscape -  which in a series of artworks Inglese defines “anthropic”, because it reveals the action of the man’s actions – transformed and compromised him on the level of his irresistible presence.  This is a thematic which is expressed through the body language, the gestures, the look, evocative of the feelings, the emotions and the penetralia of the deepest subjectivity.  The human condition, as explained by the young painter’s thoughtful art, has lost its centre.
After Darwin’s epistemological rupture, nature seems to be no longer focused on man.  The conceptual poetic of the Piedmontese artist relates the condition of man to that of animals, which are under him in the evolutional scale. The only difference is that man, contrary to animals, is fully aware of his limitedness, of his destiny of death, of “being alive to die”.
Brought closer to art by his studies on philosophy and the lessons of aesthetics held in Turin by Giovanni Vattimo, the humus which feeds Inglese’s symbolic imaginary and his lexicon is everything that affects his sensitive perception, his intelligence and his subjective inner being. The worn out shoes depicted many times by Van Gogh, for example, are “philosophical shoes” - as interpreted by Martin Heidegger and, recently, by Massimo Recalcati, psychoanalyst and art psychologist – they are able to move everyone who is able to see the concept behind them, because they tell the deep sense of melancholy, the destiny of abandonment of the Dutch artist and, at last, the psychotic deviation which has characterized his most creative phase. So, Inglese’s figurative art in the series of the Rooms tells the Eliottian “desolate land”, the contemporary existential fall out. It is the artist himself who defines the matter that shapes the human figures which inhabit the Rooms as “crusty”. A human phenomenology that is crusty, hardened and appears to be made of the same substance of the external real, of the Earth, of the forms of existence on its ground: burned, consumed, ploughed by deep wounds and crackles. The external real rules over man, it “makes him”, it assaults him, and he cannot do anything but defend himself from it. Inglese’s today’s man is free in his field of infinite possibilities and yet obstructed, driven away, he tries hard to communicate with the other through his body language. The figures depicted in the Rooms summon the audience, they reach out their hands, they steal a glance at it, they long for a contact, a helping hand, a movement of whatever nature: a relationship.
The artist’s chromatic palette has a very determined worth: a colour, a brush stroke which are completely free from their iconic purpose; they seem to be only exponential of semantic connotations. Giuseppe Di Napoli, professor in Brera of pictorial disciplines and visual education, classifies a colour such as this one as the expression of a cultural context, a colour which depicts ideas.
Not referencing a naturalistic figure, this is a synesthetic colour, linguistically such, and it suggests perceptive associations related to the thought. Very few and dull shades of colour: cool and withered yellow, black, grey, violet. The uniform configuration, the totality of the stirring, the relationship between shape and background derived from Gestalt’s psychology dominate the series of the Rooms, characterized by yellowish shapes and grey sceneries. It has been observed that one of the properties of the yellow is “the width of its oscillatory movement which depicts a curve of ascent and downfall”. Its significant symbolic value, which in its apex of ascent expresses the golden tonalities of the sun, can drop drastically to “the cloth of the infected, to the pale skin tone of the ills”. In English painting, the yellow of the human shapes is the type of yellow which has experienced this downfall. A yellow of burned clay, representing jaundice, a cancer infecting our process of evolution. Evolution of both man and the world. Yellow is omnipresent in the Rooms on the paper, the background is completely grey on the canvas.
Black, violet, grey are colours which invoke combustion and eclipse in the darkness, they recall atonement and detachment from other men, his bewildered vagrancy in a no man’s land. The metamorphosis of the child – who, confused, sets foot on that unknown territory which is adolescence – is grey, turning to various shades of violet: it may remind us of Munch’s Puberty.
Producing and seeing art is a mirror that allows us to know ourselves better; the self- portrait that the artist depicts in the painting “At the mirror” is grey, faceless, unclear, drawn with the same characteristics of the world around him; a portrait of himself and a world of eluding interpretation. When red appears on the canvas, it is acid lighted, ashen on the black of darkness, like in Man and child, supposedly a self-portrait with his son. The man holds on his shoulders a child who clutches him but, deep inside, he knows that in this ultra-modern era the Father who once was Law has vanished, the traditional family has been dismembered, the only legacy he can pass on to his son being the discretion to desire; an affectionate adoption but, of course, this is not easy and the shadow on his face reveals signs of inquietude.
The desertification of the earth, symbiotic with the powerless and perplexed erosion of the life and coexistence of the human species, is revealed in Anthropic Landscapes. Tenements built on sand, unshaped non-places, marked by misery, uncertainty, dereliction: they remind us of the “Valley of Ashes”, the final tragic scenery of Francis Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”, significant metaphor of the eclipse of the American dream and modern tout court. This novel has been written in 1925 and it depicts the Jazz Era and the “lost generation”. It started what the anglicist Mario Praz has called “The age of anxiety”, a mood antipodal to that of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. This is the cultural period in which the philosophy of existence takes power, the same philosophy which seems to have gained popularity because the announced crisis has rushed, it is present now and reflects in Giuseppe Inglese’s imaginative and language.
                                                                                                                                                                     SERGIO TURTULICI

 

 

 

Giuseppe Inglese focuses his attention on the human body and traces mankind with sharp marks, by identifying female and male bodies restricted in their movements by the narrowness of the base.  Existentialism rules Inglese’s paintings and, surely influenced by his philosophical studies, becomes magnificent in the reproduction of men as marble blocks with fire inside, for they are the significant representation of a reality which is tension of accumulated forces. Incisive and definite marks which are almost resonant, because the artist teaches us to “listen” to the shape as none ever did before, putting us in a completely new relationship with the piece of art. Only by feeling the limitation of those bodies inspected from different point of views, Inglese opens us up to the possibility of exploring and entering the oeuvre, of living the vibration of the protagonists. All men trapped inside the rooms by the looks of the observer give a great emotional impact in which the constraint of the look makes men prisoners, making them want to defend, protect or liberate themselves: the idea of man in a world of solitude, segregated in a space in which he does not feel at ease opens a window on the binomial individual – collectivity, exposing the personal self to the public. The fragmentation of the bodies becomes a useful tool to reflect on the representation and expression of the condition of human beings in equilibrium between life and death, fear and desire, by focusing on complex aspects of the human condition as vulnerability, solitude and many more.


                                                                                                                                                                     ANNA SORICARO

 

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