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IL LEPRE IMMOBILE SUL CIGLIO DELLA STRADA

 

The painter and his companion are travelling along a road and by a crossroad, on the edge of the road, they meet a hare standing still and staring at them. The car stops and the hare does not move. It stares at them, they stare at each other for a while, and when I say for a while it means you do not have to think about a beginning or an ending in any measure of time. When I say for long for a while I mean that you do not have to think you are in it, you are travelling, you are in the fertility of the meeting.
Good! We are in. The painter, sitting at the table, while telling this anecdote, draws, with the forefinger on the tablecloth, the memory of that road, of that crossroad, going back to that place through the gesture, an invisible sign.
At some other time the painter runs after the hare, in the countryside, for a while.

I am thinking about the creative act of the painter in terms of escape and stop: the painter is a hare, fugitive, wandering in the countryside, on the edge of the roads, across and along the roads. He runs then he suddenly stops. He stands still and stares at a point, and in this steadiness, in this standstill of body and gaze he meets and he sees. In the running there is some sort of blindness, body and mind are totally involved in the effort, in a direction, a drawn toward something. The halt is caused by a meeting, a collision, with something or somebody that comes between the fugitive and his horizon.
Every stop is a vision.

I am thinking about the escape as some sort of wait that postpones the moment of the stop the more possible to meet all the way, to see everything , with no dispersion. The wait is the time of the fugitive painter who awaits for the creation (always leaving) of the image and in the creation better not to be alone but in good company and the painter talks to me about the COMPANIONS, who travel, who come along, they are tiny, and it is actually like we saw those drawings through a microscope and they seem huge, always moving and they are seven. Some of them, to show themselves, took two years; everything comes from the continuous observation of a spot, or successive overlapping.
Every work goes from, to or it is waiting to go from, to.

The painter was not alone when he met the hare standing still by the crossroad, .

We are in, or we are imagining being inside the meeting of the painter and the hare by the roadside, and it is night time. They both love the night and the night is related to escape.
The painter has made some drawings in Indian ink and pen on distressed paper and he was thinking to name them INSOMNIA, only because they were all made on night time, as if dreaming was not enough….working and travelling when theoretically you should be sleeping…

This run is consumed on an old land, this sign is consumed on an old paper, and the painter is old, even though when you see him you think he is about thirty; some of his works date back to 1909, and today, at his very old age, he is still searching for old paper, perhaps because this reminds him of when he was young and happy and attended Futurist, Cubist, Rayonist, Dadaist, Surrealist circles to show his first drawings.
To him paper is sacred, on the contrary sometimes he walks on it, so much he loves it; and if good broth can be made in an old pot, a good sign can be made on an old paper. Paper is like beans soup, the painter says, rich dish and extremely poor at the same time or like tuna and onions, among the most delicious.

In this run…but …wait a second! Is the hare running or standing still? We talked about escapes and stops, of bodies involved in running and of waits on grounds and papers. It does not matter, what matters is that we are inside a creative process.
The painter thinks of himself as a energies builder, a kneading machine and in his work there is actually the mechanic element almost to suggest, but not reveal, the movement workings.

When we left the hare was standing still, we saw the painter running after another hare and we realized he is a hare himself, but this is not a dogma, if he had lived elsewhere he would probably be a different animal and this is a great willingness – of him – to be something else, to question himself, to restart , running, flying, swimming on different grounds, different skies, different waters.
The painter, sitting at his table where he drew the mnemonic map of the meeting with the still hare, talks of other animals, weird, born from stains, as if they lived in some far away islands, a Darwin-like journey, but inside the mind. He named this series RARUM and it is a catalogue of rare animals, threatened with extinction or become extinct yesterday, like one of them, like the painter himself that fills with the sign the emptiness of his extinction, and I think he comes from one of this islands himself , remote, out-of-the-way, like Queequeg…

Queequeg was a native of Kokovoko, an island far away to the West and South. It is not down in any map; true places never are.*

The journey is represented in every series, the painter says, it is his mind to travel: he gets high without having taken anything. He explores the earth, the water, the sky, writing down what he sees, taking part to the manifestations, contributing to their birth. The painter, sitting, talks about his explorations, the ones he did, the ones he is doing and the ones he will do, and it seems that everything he does is exploration , although only some of them he named EXPLORATIONS, perhaps because in these, in particular, he analyzes the processes, the terms of the journey. The EXPLORATIONS have manifested through time, he says, like taking the train every now and again and go somewhere. A game among chance, super-human forces, cosmic energies, continual mutations, wizards in action, a show that dies and comes back to life again and again. In the meanwhile, other explorations take shape in silence, in the marches of time.
Some others are embarking to dry up or waiting to embark some more water.

The painting and his companion leave again. The hare stands still by the roadside.

Giuliano Guatta

*Herman Melville, Moby Dick, vol.1, p.55, Penguin Classics, 1992,

 

 

 

 

 

 

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