58° Biennale d’Arte di Venezia 2019 - Padiglione Grenada - 11 MAGGIO - 24 NOVEMBRE 2019
Giovanni Scagnoli – Barefoot
Giovanni Scagnoli was born in 1953 in Sarnano, where he currently lives and works, in the small Contrada Vecciola. He studied at the Academy of Macerata, where he obtained his degree in Painting under the supervision of the artist Remo Brindisi. As a professor, he has been teaching Artistic Anatomy, Drawing, Elements of Morphologies and Shape Dynamics since 1981. At a later time, he became a regular teacher of the Scuola libera del nudo at the Academy of Fine Arts of Macerata. Painter, sculptor, installer and engraver, Scagnoli made his first artistic appearance in the 1970s, distinguishing himself for his intrinsic capacity for renewal and constant transformation. Following the great success of public and critics, many of his works have Joined important public and private collections, both national and international. Giovanni Scagnoli makes diaphanous compositions, soaked of immaculate beauty and assembled through an incessant play of shapes, lights and colours. The material and the compounds used are articulated within the dual field of nature and technology, of the visible and the invisible. He prefers "primary", "archetype" forms, so that his production carries with it alterations of meaning and new equivalences. Many works can be read as a transfiguration of the universal galaxy, where a series of concentric circles originates a spiral that refers to the arrangement of the mass of stars in the celestial vault. Between Heaven and Earth, he establishes an intimate and deeply religious dialogue that crosses the limits of the anthropic existential perimeter. Since the primordial time, humans looking up at the firmament have been fascinated by the mysteries hidden behind the mass of clouds, gas and stars. From the tomb of Nefertari, in the Valley of the Queens, to the precious mosaics of the Galla Placidia’s Mausoleum in Ravenna, to the dark blue vault frescoed by Giotto in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, up to the famous starry sky painted by Van Gogh, many artists have felt the urge to re-propose this fascination within their works. So did Scagnoli, in whose compositions, however, the nocturnal atmosphere is diluted in soft and delicate colours, as well as the background, which is neutral and limpid. In this regard, the key role is played by light and its ability to make the colours diaphanous and ethereal. The very clear and evanescent colours, faded and transfigured, are extruded from the composition, they invade the surrounding space, trapping the gaze of the spectator. The atmosphere becomes a kingdom of primitive purity. In this composite scenario, the cosmic space generated is functional to trigger a reflection on the ancestral role of the man and the motility of the soul, seen as a primary force. The artist declared: "my production aims to chase after the soul, present in every moment. This is the primary force that inspires my work".
In the middle of the compositions, there are often primary biomorphic forms primeval forms – vulvas, seeds and shells – that show the unconscious creativity of the artist and they stand as a symbol of fertility, birth and life. They are characterized as the elements at the origin of the natural principle, also symbolizing an open eye that aims toinvestigate past events, present and future time. The works become a meditation on the cyclic nature of life and time. By configuring a path of rebirth and regeneration, the artist, in the guise of a shaman, wishes to instill creative and prodigious energy. In 2003, in collaboration with the Academy of Fine Arts of Macerata and the City of Sarnano, he realized the exhibition "Extranet Flash. Aforismi nell’angolo segreto”. The exhibition took place within the boundaries of his house, a place which is familiar but also intimate and personal, where the artist puts into practice his work of creation. The works, originating from the meticulous analysis of reality, induce the viewer to rediscover the whole series of daily gestures and positive values that have undergone a process of disuse, because of the globalized system of today’s society. Archetypal forms confirm the polarities of existence, while events of growth in nature or advanced scientific systems of measurement are used to measure the perception of the passing of time. The narration investigates the chronology connoted by memory and human creative projection. On the occasion of the 58th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia (2019) Scagnoli exhibits the work called "Barefoot" in the Pavilion of Grenada. In accordance with its very original production, the work is characterized by a series of concentric circles created throught the use of mulpile colour gradations. The diaphanous and light colours – light-green, light blue, yellow, pink – create harmony and balance. At the centre of the composition there is a nucleus within which we can glimpse a series of luminous emanations that stand out on a limpid and crystalline marine surface. The particle peeks out ecstatic from the depth of the void and represents the origin of Everything. In Scagnoli’s art, the real and the imaginary become confused and the artist trasforms the enchantment of the sunrise into visual terms. In the filamentous vortex there is a reference to a series of natural elements: if the yellow tones evoke the star of the solar system, the green shades denote the terrestrial vegetation while the celestial tone revokes the turquoise trasparencies of the sea waters. The work is an invitation to open your eyes on the world and focus on its essential elements but, above all, on its fragile components which are at risk, such as those that characterize the arcipelago of the Antilles, a small paradise on earth, the pearl of Central Caribbean that claims care and respect. Nature is the existential basis of living beings as it represents their home, it is the plot from which the stories and shape. In his work the memory of that ancestral relationship between the man and the world invites us to reflect and to reawaken the human consciousness.