ESCAPE WITHIN SHAPE, ESCAPE FROM SHAPE
We are pleasantly surprised to witness the passage of shape in these latest works – ‘latest’ according to our perception of time – by Giorgio Conta. In its three-di- mensional reasonableness – meaning it is ready for the cognitive touch, for the physical caress of those who enjoy the work; and in its reference to a philosophical and existential concept that is carved and reasserted in the representation or – simply, though hard – in a title; and again, in the progress – as a perspectival back- ground or as the dynamic centre of the sculpture – of a sub-movement, almost a telluric abstract and geomet- rical oscillation, from which shape originates, another shape, and then the figure. From all of this, the pleasant surprise of a new, organic corpus arises, teetering as transmuting into something different and ‘Conta-like’. I state this because I know the thoughtful nature of the artist; his love (a-mor/a-moris, inflected in Latin) for jazz music and for silence, both of which appear in a series of paintings devoted to the solos of acrobat- ic bands on the trapeze of the stave of improvisation, and in a series of paintings devoted to the mountain. And then the sculpture, this sculpture. Enigma, the embodiment of time and of the thinness of a shape that escapes the figure, also thanks to a drapery that covers everything up to uncover the inscrutable nature of the human being, the starting point for a path of geometrical experimenting, between spirituality and atmosphere, core and branching, bodily materiality and fading earthly presence. A body that is not here, as it is already essence. Such as that evocative foot, which pops up (comes out) from the base, separated from its probable ankle and leg. Such is the solidly liquid, corrugated and slender column that splits and unites the couple of Insieme (Together): she protects her preg- nant womb with her hand, her right breast well visible, while where the left breast should be a lethal wound tears her chest apart: the slithering wound of time, and her incomplete arm, transparent against the immova- ble pillar/wing. He walks solemnly with his slim body covered in modern clothes and lacking feet, just like the woman, his woman.
And Maternità (Maternity), where the female fig- ure is sustained by an upward fluid, the baby placed upon the wave-like column or column-shaped wave, a blooming life that seems to have been conceived by that fluid, before being taken out.
In the likewise feminine figure that reminds of Manzù for its well-balanced static pose, almost androgynous, with her hair pinned to one side, the drapery acquires the softness of fur and the flexible compactness of an unknown, mysterious, unearthly metal, which makes her look like an angel in spite of the lack of wings and the terrestrial composition. Then, the silent sitting fig- ure, similar to a goddess, which once again stands out for her foot sticking out of the base: here, the rest of the limb is absent yet evoked, as an invisible fragment or a ghost, compared to the dense being of that material body (mater/materia: the magma which, from below, builds and includes and sustains the sitting figure above). Her child-like face, full of grace rather than graceful, calm and eternal, is untouched both by the merciless passing of time and by the double sickle of Cronus.
However, it is the standing man, from the school of Vangi, that establishes an end and starting point to the newness. Which we wait for with anticipation. A man standing next to a sitting woman: this is the two-way couple’s game, which repeats by translating one into two. The wide-open external appearance highlights the larval innards in this man of today, who walks barefoot in the suburbs of a timeless world/universe.
To conclude, the tondo Seduzione (Seduction), a mod- ern reinterpretation of Paris’ judgement or of the original temptation of Eve, depicted while she is offering the fruit of sin to Adam: a shining woman with perfect looks – a three-dimensional homage to Ingres – who stands out while holding an apple in her hand (from Trentino, Giorgio’s birthplace?), that is to say the ap- ple of the biblical temptation and mythological dis- cord, the synthesis of a beauty that is able – in spite of everything – to bear fruits and save the world. In the background, the crowd of everyday people carrying out their everyday businesses and almost indifferent to individual seduction, to the broken rhythm of faith and myth, as they are enclosed in a present that has just passed. This of Giorgio Conta is a work on the run, balanced between coming back and overcoming itself.