Guglielmo Castelli is one of my oldest and dearest friends. He is also a dedicated, gracious and talented artist. The first complete catalogue of his works was presented at the opening of “Eparina” – his brand new solo exhibition at Galleria Il Segno, Rome (on display until 10th October 2014). His curator at Il Segno, Francesca Antonini, asked me to do the English version of the englightening review by renowned critic Lóránd Hegyi.
“There are not many solid grounds left where individuals may edificate their hopes of salvation.
No longer can we seriously hope for making the world a better place to dwell in;
neither can we really secure that bettered place in the world that – perhaps – we might have managed to carve out for ourselves. Uncertainty is here and it will carry on, no matter what might occur”.
Modus vivendi. Hell and Utopia of the Liquid World.
The lyrical credibility of delicate micro-constellations. Observations on the work of Guglielmo Castelli.
From the very first instant one comes across the work of Guglielmo Castelli, they perceive the visceral feeling that things and objects (be them organic, living, vegetative or inorganic, or fabricated artifacts) exist in an openly and irrevocably fragmentary status – a condition that appears fragile, temporary, ephemeral. No hegemony of forces, supremacy of central focuses or hierarchy of structures seem apt to determine the fluid constellations. The obvious and completely natural absence of any form of determination generates a certain lyrical lightness and jovial anarchy, which in turn put objects on display with no programmatic declarations or ideological agenda, and with no intentionally dramatic effects whatsoever.
This fragmentary nature is not bitter and confused. The fluidity and transience cause neither fright and disorientation nor a desire for something sturdy, stable and safe. And that is so because it would appear strikingly absurd, aimless, unattainable and irrelevant to support a perspective of deterministic power ruled by a selective and decisional will – a theatrical guidance or a fundamental theology, even. Things exist in their own fragmentary state and fluid diversity; the accidental, unforeseen, free concurrence of different realities and existences unveils a fusion of elements that is overall natural, spontaneous, irregular and organic.
The playful, anarchic, instinctive constellations are simultaneously vulnerable and totally natural. In Guglielmo Castelli’s work they receive a subtle, poetic musical configuration that blends the elements together despite their fragmentary core and absence of form – thus resembling a delicate ornament, which is both enigmatic and finely chiseled. This unexpected, surprising, fascinating combination of organic, bodily, vegetative and vegetal compositions with architectural and tectonic elements, on one hand, and everyday relics, on the other, is truly a spontaneous, dense, picturesque (and ultimately jolly ideal) osmosis of diversified components – and it manifests itself as the obvious reality of things. Therefore, this enigmatic and natural state seems to be universal, although it bears no claims of universality.
Perhaps the peculiarity of Guglielmo Castelli’s artistic production lies exactly in this: the contemporary sensibility pour excellence and the restraint that revitalises the poetic competence induced by his way of observing reality. The idea around the status of things that is revealed in his delicate world of images may be inflected in two ways: first, a graceful, sensitive and precise observation of fragmentary micro-structures – which mutually and continuously contaminate each other; and, secondly, a fraction of these fluid realities intended as a micro-event within the comprehensive action of mutation and steady transformation of the various components. The artist does not increase the detachment towards reality whatsoever; on the contrary, his artistic manifestations are part of the impenetrable, dense action of the micro-constellations.
The drawings and paintings of Guglielmo Castelli feature situations of autonomous organisation where not only are the elements joined together, but they often fuse with one another profoundly – hence new, odd creatures are constantly created in the form of new species. The unexpected, inexplicable unions sensitise imaginations, situations and connotations which, in turn, suggest the ambiguity of the smallest fragments of reality. Here it appears as though everything can be interconnected – and the imaginary situations and perspectives acquire concreteness thanks to these very fusions. Both the human body (i.e. the physical elements that remind of the human and animal body shapes) and the natural and vegetal structures are blended with such architectural motifs that evoke space – although the rooted perception of the body in internal spaces oftentimes transmits subtle, personal emotional narrations, that is psychic experiences.
The majority of Guglielmo Castelli’s artworks are of a relatively small size, and they are displayed in a quite spontaneous manner with a strictly correlated setting. The tiny white sheets are juxtaposed one next to the other in an overall structure that appears disorienting and disquieting – hence viewers often find themselves in search of the logic and principle of such placing. A finely melancholic emotion pervades the work of the artist, like a poetic approach to the smallest details and events. Castelli hints at fine, imaginary, emotional participation to the fragmentation of the micro-constellations – which neither claim to act as comprehensive explanations nor proclaim themselves as a universally relevant emblem. Rather, they offer a delicate empathy and an imaginary participation to the micro-stories.
These micro-stories are founded upon psychic and emotional experiences that are intrinsically diversified – the memories of spaces, places, objects and people, the personal realities that have been endured firsthand, the conventional collective and literary knowledge, the evolution of history of art and anything that may be linked with the imaginary of memories. Certain movements and gestures often appear as repeated fragments of the artist’s own personal archive (similarly to the role played by certain spacial situations) – and the final outcome is the composition of the subjective micro-story. The natural lightness of the graphic setting-out and the partially ornamental formations in relation with the figurative fragments of the body generate a soft, complex poetic equality – which, although uneven, is endowed with striking ideological coherence. In turn, such coherence derives from the contemplation of the world, the concrete and individual experimentation with life. The artist interiorises the transience of fragmented realities, the empathic stratification of various contexts, the absence of teleological dramas (which have been remarkably neglected because of real human experiences), the loss of orientation and the deconstruction of uniform and universal systems of determination. It is this absence of monolithic, explanatory superstructures that offers a subversive, liberating and anarchic perspective. It allows us to visualise all different elements simultaneously and perceive the utter relevance of various languages and symbolic systems, in order to build new, unusual micro-constellations that will replace the definitely hierarchical decisional structures. Instead of the (apparently logical and necessary) determinations and narrative conventions, the artistry of Guglielmo Castelli relies on an absolutely free, spontaneous, fearless, anarchic and sudden manner of unfolding the varied micro-narrations of his micro-constellations – which suggest a light and empathic approach to the various levels of reality.
These delicate and lyrical micro-situations reflect such nuances, sensibilities, instincts, memories and experiences that represent ideally the richness in the complexity of life. The work of Guglielmo Castelli is articulated through areas that are often invisible, intangible and hidden from our existential orientation, without insinuating any general declaration or determination. What truly characterises his art is the fragmentary factor – the fragility, instability and fluidity that shape up such experiences where the absence of hierarchies allows for the development of the credibility of faint micro-constellations.
The drawings and painting of Guglielmo Castelli convey an exemplary perception of our contemporary realities. His creations comprise undefinable objects, fragments of the human and animal body, thin patterns of plants and organic formations. They originate lyrical micro-realities, which are simultaneously emotionally coherent, enigmatic and fascinating. Their components engage in a reckless process of collective development and mutation, until they dissolve the boundaries of the various fields that brought them to life in the first place. However, we witness the creation of a temporary, delicate, clear lyrical harmony from the outbreak of traits and the limpid, immediate fusion of fragments manifesting in a magical effortlessness – which is almost naive, childish and innocent. The mysterious transformations of motifs, the origin of imaginary scenes and enchanted scenarios occur in an independent, silent, hardly spectacular manner – so much so that they appear almost normal and familiar.
It is exactly the combination of the unpretentious effortlessness and apparent naivety that evoke the touching and poetic power of suggestion of Castelli’s work. Enigma is conceived in a natural state of quietness before our eyes, without grand gestures – as if it were perfectly common and banal. The small yet substantial changes, the inexplicable and irrational transformations of the objects take place with such a demure, gradual natural evolution that we feel as though the world were exactly how it appears here – in this fluid impossibility of identification, in this confusional yet necessary interrelation of tiny, delicate fragments.
Guglielmo Castelli suggests an authentic, contemporary and lyrical coherence merging with an emotional intensity of small narrations – where the temporary, frail constellations of things reveal our profound vulnerability and instability. It is not from pathos, dramatic displays of traits or strenuous words that the narration is created – rather, it is assembled through empathy and sensitivity. It is a complex and extremely touching tale of micro-realities, whose sensual, enigmatic presence is unveiled by an almost naive and archaic immediacy. Perhaps it is exactly this silent, transparent and implicit immediacy that sets off the melancholy of the unknown and the instability of the little things (things appearing insignificant and too fragmented at first glance) – and, in turn, it characterises our very own existence. The credibility of delicate, ephemeral micro-constellations is based on the anti-hierarchical and anti-teleological micro-dimension that lacks any claim of universality. Instead, it hints at the relativity of pertinence and the fluidity of temporary constellations.
Original text in German: Lóránd Hegyi
German-Italian translation: Mara Freiberg Simmen
Italian-English translation: Giancarlo M Traina
· Guglielmo’s Official Website: www.guglielmocastelli.com
· Galleria Il Segno Official Website: www.galleriailsegno.com
· Where to Purchase Guglielmo’s Catalogue: www.punctumpress.tictail.com/product/guglielmo-castelli-eparina
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