Today we speak about the ‘pleasure’ of art also in case of the openings and of the contemplation of paintings. But whenever art is ‘enjoyed’, it has achieved its end, because only the amateur ‘enjoys’ art and the widespread trade of culture tries to turn all of us into amateurs reducing art to a semantic prick.
Instead of thinking in front of art, we are pushed, by the trade of culture, to be entertained, maybe to forget our dissatisfaction and the problems of the society.
Art, more and more often reduced to a be a merchandise, aims to the Aristotle’s catharsis with the objective of the satisfaction: this simulates a situation where everything is in the right order although nothing, especially nowadays, in our world, is in such a way.
For that we are happy to admire Giovanni Faccioli’s paintings, far from the trade of culture, far from the art as merchandise.
Our painter has not been captured by the trade of art neither overcome by its rules, and this personal freedom can be observed in his paintings.
His paintings are like a drawn dream.
His characters move fleetingly as they were caught in the middle of an action, the eyes without a precise direction, the body fixed in a gesture, in the middle of some kind of activity. In Giovanni Faccioli’s paintings time has stopped. His paintings describe a secret place full of mystery, a place pouring an intimate secret.
Sometimes it seems we are dealing with a heavenly place.
The colours, dark and discreet, tell us of a sensitive artist with a deep religious faith, as sometimes still happens in Italy. His colours come mainly from hearth, veiled as in a groove. In his paintings tones of brown and grey, dark grey and ochre predominate.
The tones appear dark to the observer, tones of an introvert artist, maybe persecuted by obscure omen, maybe by the fear of the unknown brought by the beginning of the new millennium. Rarely it is possible to find a shining orange never a sunny yellow.
Each colour, the outline of each object are the result of a long process: they are made darker, made clearer, made more lively, again relaxed, eventually all of them harmonized.
Through this system the colour is well perceived in its full sensitivity.
Looking at the paintings from a distance the characters and the objects seem to vibrate, coming closer, the apparently rough surface melts in infinitesimal spots and structures.
What makes of his art a noble art, is that despite of well recognizable objects, it is not understandable, it makes questions and it is a challenge to think, without any chance to find a solution, about why the painted beings are painted in that particular position.
A fully understandable art is not real art. Art has to remain a little secret. To deeply understand a masterpiece it is necessary to interpret it. But what is really a masterpiece? When a paint becomes ‘art’? About the painter Zeuxis it is told that he could draw grapefruit in such a real way to attract a multitude of birds. He could paint the real world perfectly. Is this art or just handcraft?
According to Platone the ‘artistic truth’ is not much concerned with the perfect representation of nature, but with the essence of things. This can seem unusual since we are used to thinking of ‘to exist or not to exist’: for example the grapefruit either exists or not exists.
According to Platone, and this idea is still good, things not only ‘are’ but some ‘are’ much more than others. The more a thing ‘is’, the closer it is to art.
Art is something beyond what we can see and observe, it stays above everything, includes everything and searches what is unchangeable and essential. This can be just a detail, as for Faccioli, the detail of a table, of a table-cloth, a plate, even if they are not completely painted. The observer has to complete them, to obtain the complete image in front of the interior eye.
At the basis of the reproduction of a 3 dimension object on a 2 dimension surface is a process of abstraction where the life and work experiences of the artist flow.
Only through the filter of his eyes, thought, sensitivity and hand it is possible to translate the reality on the canvas. In this way the perspective of a real object changes every time: what appears white to the artist, changes during his work into grey of blue or dark red.
Art looks for the unchangeable and makes unchangeable also what is inside the human being.
This is confirmed by the characters represented by Faccioli: most of them are gentle female images.
Giovanni Faccioli’s way to see the human being looks at the essential, looks for the truth and the real in each character, tries to catch the moment. The truth he looks appears to be a game. His main theme is the underlining of the play time: life is a game and in the game there are winners and losers. The player is on an unstable equilibrium easy to be broken.
Maybe the artist wants us to understand that all of us are players, that the entire life is a game in which it is easy to lose.
From this point of view comes the particular nostalgic feeling of Giovanni Faccioli’s paintings. But these are not depressing, just a little melancholy. In this way art grazes philosophy, although this cannot be substituted by art.
It is necessary to interpret the masterpiece to recognize it as such and to understand it. This understanding cannot take the place of the masterpiece itself because each art work has the framework of a metaphor and to fully understand it we should fully understand the basis of the metaphor.
This would mean to understand the artist as a man.
I wish all of you can understand the secret reasons of Faccioli’s paintings and the reasons for which they have been painted as they are and for which they have come from the places they come from.
Let yourself be captured by the details, by the surfaces subdivision, by the movements of the characters, by the thin vibrations of the painted beings and try to give your personal answers to the questions springing from the paintings.
Prof. Peter G. Kliem
Between reality and estrangement
Giovanni Faccioli’s artistic story is short only apparently; actually it dates back to 1997, but a long and obscure gestation precedes this birth. It has happened to this reserved and a little lonely artist something similar to what happens to some slow shoots, which seem lazy, uncertain whether to leave their shelter beneath the bark of the tree, but which, after a long period of timid vegetation, gathered the impetus, bloom and exuberantly renew for a long period .
Faccioli has approached the painting, that of high tradition, still young, in the study of Dante Broglio, one of the most important engraver in Veneto in the ‘900. Amid the green of Colognola’s hills, near Verona, where Broglio spends the years of his maturity, during long walks the young student learns the careful and minute observation of the little details of nature. Then the long and in some way exhausting sessions in the study follow, to colour, with diligent uniformity, little yellow and red squares. A slow training, which improves the manual skill and initiates to the recognition and reproduction of the ancient painting techniques .
In the meantime he discovers the artistic testimonies which surround him and are abundant and meaningful in a territory as the one of Verona and its surroundings, incredibly rich of works of art of all the past centuries. A remote remembrance becomes, probably, a deep spring which pushes toward a better defined stylistic choice. Along the way to the school there is a ruined fresco by Turone, the great master of the 14th century. They are squat, gorgeous figures, full of strength in the synthetic spreading of the volumes, from which a feeling of sacred and mystery spreads.
Even Broglio pushes him to visit churches and monasteries and to take long rests in the museum of Castevecchio. In this way, gradually, the taste becomes more and more refined and some basic choices mature: no to the theatrical and redundant mannerism typical of the masters of ‘600 and ‘700 and a deep acceptance, on the other hand, of the simple and gorgeous manners of the artists of the ‘300 - ‘400 . From Turone to Mantegna, to Piero della Francesca, in other words, to that part of the past in which some of the features of the modern classicism are rooted; that modern classicism alive in some of the strong artistic movements of the ‘900, from Back to the Order to Metaphysics.
Later on, the work and the hurry of the daily living don’t take him away from painting. In his graphic work he is always struggling with forms and colours and in the spare time he uses the oil technique for his paintings, but he uses also the sand to make rough and harsh, almost concrete the bright surfaces, in the search for deep and mellow tones. But then he destroys everything, canvas and paintings. From this iconoclastic fury which creates the desert behind him, two paintings get safe, compassionately picked up by a neighbour, and seven-eight canvas with white and grey tones, full of light effects because, as Faccioli says, “ it is the light which makes the objects different and evident”.
So in 1997, when painting become an activity not to be renounced, the artist seems to born already miraculously new and mature. Today who looks at the many canvas in which figures and forms look like to emerge either from the bright or dark backgrounds, as they were created by the light being the shade and light dialectic the unique theme in several variations of all the paintings, can try to find a collocation in the panorama of modern painting . In what trend to place them? Back to the Order? ‘900? Surrealism? In some way like the irregular Balthus, Faccioli has looked at the ancients as a subtle, contained controversy with the modern. From what is contemporary he grasps the spirit of new mannerism, the intellectual will, and instinctively he withdraws and goes back to the simple forms of an eternal classicism. From the ancients he inherits the opaque tones, scraped off wall style, the rough and porous colours, as well as the synthetic spreading of the forms. But for every artist the tradition is an eternal present, in which to dig searching for what is suitable for making the secret spring of the expression to be released. The echo of the ancients is an allusion in a deeply changed context, and with the context also the meaning of the images changes.
The figures, without look, closed in a gesture which turns the daily theme into an hieratic and hanging reality, the objects, soup tureens, fruits, little spheres, which shine in a soothed phosphorescence, like some ghosts’ apparitions, when they appear at our restless imaginary , emerge from the surrounding darkness in which their mysterious origin lays, as precarious apparitions, although maintaining the synthetic density of the forms. The darkness, in which they bloom and get concrete, is the one of an interior, always the same in its anonymous absence of features, but nothing in these rooms alluded by the fluctuations of the shade and the light, is familiar. The estranged quotidianity of the presences dilates the emptiness all around, instead of filling it till to suggest the barrier of a prison. In these paintings time has stopped in a threshold of a mysterious immobility and the space is silent like the heavenly spaces are supposed to be. In front of these dummies a little lightened by an outline which drops a hint about their present and at the same time transient humanity, figures ageless, closed in an impenetrable dream, the onlooker feels again the restless shivers caused by a certain ‘magic realism’, with its desert and metaphysic landscapes .
What is written in the letter that the child, bent over the table, reads? In what mysterious circus do the jugglers, slightly animated by a vital breath out of the red background, like a ultra earthly hell, perform? The grapes and the apples have lost, let on the table, any vital resemblance and are more dead than the gypsum fruits in the fruit tureen on the lounge of our ‘800 ancestors. In some canvas the plane of the table cuts the space with a rational severity of a geometrical horizon. How not to think about Modigliani? But here the light isn’t the intellectual midday brightness in which the mind places and recognises things. Like in some de Chirico, the light is black and the artist’s thought seems to fetch, from an indeterminate point, the centuries-old question of the paintings at the presence of the shade, from which things take shape as appearances, bearing their enigma still intact: reality or presences?
Then the dark interior, which is repeated and dilated in all the paints, seems like the inner cave, the black cavity of the unconscious, which the images of dreams emerge from. The surrealism theorised the equivalence between the images of the dream and that language of images which is the painting. But once again Faccioli takes the distance from the dreams painted by the surrealists. With an vigorous exercise of expressive equilibrium he stops at the thin border between reality and estrangement, where everything of real remains right to show its enigmatic and unreachable substance.
Prof. Paola Azzolini
Translation: Antonella Dell’Aera
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