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Aldo Cottonaro writes

... They have built a world by overlapping several worlds, which remains located in the West, as emphasized by the iridescent and intense light - but the night is next to come, despite the sun's rays still break the darkness. It is the light of Miguel de Cervantes (and Caravaggio's and Greco's and Velazquez's): an eternal sunset, the West precisely.

 


Here's his story: from the Trojan horse to the constitution of Rome, when piety becomes cruel, and then Middle Age with the assault to the enemy castle, until the Modern Age that left the city of God and designed, starting from Italy, the man's rational city. The latter gradually swelled ( Westphalia in 1648, Utrecht 1713, Aquisgrana 1748) and exploded into five social revolutions (in England, America, France, Russia and China), has known (and stores) Nazism (a particular form of Ancient Imperialism, who had been self-righteous) and has become "global" since 1945 (leaving the Church up there, far away: once, it had been ecclesia, a supportive community of men and women – now, it has become the museum of transcendence).


This global city has invaded and deported nature, even where those extenuated love melancholies to the camel's amble through the desert without borders were felt, rumours of a desperate loneliness that didn't give Death (as it does now to kill) so that it could forever. The caravan's song (meaning by that Art, from the East to the West) thus producing a dizziness effect removing spikes to the pain and letting it flow endearingly, such as the wave when it loses its impetus and flows, smoothing the neck and the back.

Until the metal and rubber’s city has also wiped out the remnants of Eden’s Garden, and a bronze Adam (without Eve), big as Polyphemus, certifies that men’s culture has been standardized in its worst model: you're always the one with stone and sling.


Look how men have become in Schembari’s painting: obese but structured, powerless and therefore armed- without feminine grace, no sex, no tenderness- unaware bodies towards the harm that threatens them.
Are we so afraid of the future that we experience the fascination of the Past?  

And the Past attracts us only because he died and so it can not harm us?


Things are just so in these paintings, which inhibits the project, blocks the story, without catching the becoming strength but only a colossal and static identity: in the amazing size of overlaid globes (with ochre that now turns yellow, beyond brown, with an ivory calm) the observer, who is always thinking, moved by an erotic instinct, to be able to chase painting’s dreams, if he finds them curdled in mashes of flour and water, realized and therefore reified dreams: dreams transformed into things- things that only express the identity with themselves: the opposite of the dream, then, upside down utopia, the future overthrown and brought back to its material basis in the Past. Without development. As if history was an eternal recapitulation of herself.

 

Even the Sicilian Biagio Schembari has acknowledged  the lesson by the Sicilian Gattopardo: ... so that everything stays as it is ... nunc et in hora mortis nostrae.

But the anguish of death has made herself Art and Art, indeed, wins over death.

This is the fundamental assumption of the poem (which is doing, giving birth, creating, precisely the opposite of death: fulfill, superhuman magic of syllables enlightened by tears, a similar magic to Christ’s passion- Majakowskij). And it is so in the East and in the West because you die at all latitudes.

However, the obsessive repetition, frame by frame, of this reason seems to unmask the ideological nature: at the height of fear, in order to cling to life, men deceive themselves (they become artists also), but this vital vibration, for it is sweet, it does not cease to be what it is: a deadly deception created by a side heeling and overlapping perspectives, as it is in the leopardian dialogue between Plotinus and Porphyry.

Haven’t you noticed that Schembari’s perspective moves from above? From God’s point of view, then. But he is deus absconditus, and if it is true that he observes, it's also true that he only sees landslides.

The mental short circuit approaches: Art resurrects, that is true, but it resurrects deaths. Biagio is shy, you got it, but he would not like to admit it.

And it is here the touching paradox of Biagio’s painting: to represent the agony of all possible worlds means to stop this process in its representation, preventing it from flowing into nothing; it means, instead,  to paint the Decadence, hence avoiding or delaying indefinitely the terminal moment. The tragic plot (désis) has no catastrophic (lúsis) solution. At one time, this was called pietas.

Now, Biagio has told us sufficiently how powerful  Faith is; it has enhanced love by elevating it from tedious sex trade (as it is almost universally represented) to a spirit of charity; but when he had to paint the dawn of hope (sweet colour of oriental sapphire), he gave, as Cervantes and Caravaggio, sunset light, saying that in the West reason’s paradoxes only a problematic hope is conceivable.

Now, come back to look into their eyes and mouths, these men of Schembari, while the sun persists to flood with  light their cohesive globes in a dreadful silence.

Do they seem happy men and women to you?

 

 Aldo Cottonaro

 

 

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