7 months ago


which stillness and

which stillness and motion coexist, allows us to acquire a new mental and often also physical receptivity. In this sense, a painting is, among the means of expression, the most used, the most authentic, the most natural and at the same time, the most abstract, even when on appearance it seems figurative, pure meaning, in which the center of creativity of the form is accentuated, following its genesis step by step. Paul Klee says «to start with there is action... above is the idea». The work of art therefore represents for an artist an experimental and spontaneous moment of creative ideation, where he evidently testifies the formation of the image, the signs as a form of writing that by emerging from the unconscious becomes visual thought. And in his works Giovanni Neri expresses the meaning of a visual and spontaneous essentiality, but which is structurally linked to a natural and colorful vision of life: fiercely self-taught, with the impulse to speak a visual language. Proudly assimilated to nature that has always been present, even in an authoritarian manner, in his life, with the impertinence of shapes and colors. But perhaps the most important element of being an artist that has learned everything from nature is the incorporation of silence into his creative story. That silentium isn’t just keeping quiet and neither the absence of sounds, noises, and voices. The artist’s silence is more like that pause, that interval lost in the convulsive dynamics of our society that Gillo Dorfles reminds us of lucidly: «A pause, a rarefaction filled and enriched by his non-commensurable imagination». Since starting his artistic career, Giovanni Neri has always worked following “themes” that he then develops in series of works, the origins of which can be found in his personal life, his emotions, and his sensitivity when observing the world. He started off as a young man, like many artists, with figurative paintings, with series of landscapes, some rarefied, others were more accurately precise, as well as portraits and self-portraits in which the bold color seems to want to embody the essence of life and still life paintings clearly inspired by Morandi, strong locus of the artist’s “silence”. Where, as Giulio Carlo Argan theorized, «the opposite of representation or form, understood as catharsis, is not the fragment, but the continuum: indeed form is a limit, the continuum is an absence, an uncertainty of the limit». By using color, always central in his concept of painting which is halfway between an abstract language and a concrete content, a symbol of the artist’s uninterrupted dialogue with nature from an emotional and sensorial point of view, Giovanni Neri has in recent years totally abandoned figurative painting, his research evolving towards a synthesis between sign, gesture and color, between thought and emotionality. From the dissemination of the matter-color and signs, or from their thick assemblage in space in a sort of horror vacui , he heads towards rarefaction and a free flow of sign in color, without ever losing his great pictorial richness. The sign is the element of cohesion between thought and gesture, space and color, and through the interaction of all these components the artist defends the central and essential role of the language of painting. He expresses with his uncontainable sign a gestural line that sets on the wrong track, guided by a manual impetuosity, identity of an emotive and cultural expressionism inserted in a solid reality. The structure of each work is thus composed like the expression of a non verbal thought, transformed in an articulated and consolidated structure in the revelation of reality, where it collects a stylistic effort that’s capable of transforming a desire into a creative irony, 18

into a dilation of time and space. Dots, quick signs and chromatic boldness battle it out to define the space, challenging nature and poetry for the restless search of the works’ formal solution. Colors explode, lights shine, shapes go wild like millions of fires that rise to the sky to take the light of the moon, and the red of the autumn leaves, of the maples and fires majestically burst out: at times one has the impression that this lyrical tension cannot be expressed by visual prototypes, but only music and a sudden burst of light-color can reveal the sound of this dizziness. Neri, thanks to his gestures, builds a relationship with life, evolving the way of seeing beyond aesthetic expression into a fantastic condition of privilege. But once again he doesn’t look outside, but inside. Inside his origins, inside his being, choosing the ideal gesture, the ideal shape, between proportions to contradict, colors to exhibit, words to suggest and oneiric signs to sublime. In making art Giovanni Neri doesn’t make any concessions to style, to the needs of spectators, but the firm and patient pursuit of the sign seeking the chosen surface expresses the search for something that is there and exists. Often there isn’t even a story to tell, and we are taken directly inside the image modling the technique to the expressive necessity of the vision. Kant said: «An artist creates because he has to, not out of knowledge». With the construction and deconstruction of the forms that free themselves of their function of expressing a concept, the gestures of the artist represent an arrival point, a definition per se of the form with suffered attempts to recognize an interior and parallel reality. In this way a poetical dimension gushes out, in which space, movement, rhythm, light and vibrations are elements referable to objective emotional spaces of an oneiric vision, in which, once again, the sign is never entrusted to pure instinct but to a creative and structured need. In this phase of his work Giovanni Neri wants to make us believe the stimulating and at the same provocative idea that making art means entering the anarchy of an absence of structure. But on the contrary, these works full of light and color take us to a concrete vision of today’s world, in which the artist is well familiar with the assimilations that derive from the different cultural exchanges he has encountered during his personal and creative evolution. He proudly declares that in any case art, even today, always remains the only existential segment between human hope and poetry. And so, if the artist thanks to his work tries to overcome the two faces of reality or of fantasy using desecrating or artificial procedures, all this will reflect better on the growing and contemplative or even participatory interest of the observer, with a meaning and content that are a challenge for his creative spontaneity. And so he’s aware that the marvel of human creativity is one of the principles of knowledge and that if we stop amazing ourselves we run the risk of not knowing. «Art is to the spirit what bread is to the body; through art we find oneness with a transcendental entity, breathe its rhythm, and absorb the energy we need for spiritual renewal». Faust, J.W. Goethe 19

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