COSMOGONY 2001 (A. Monferini)

(In Sandro Sanna “Cosmogonia”– solo show catalog, d’AC, Ciampino 2001).

Cosmogony 2001 is the title given by the author to the imposing installation which dominates the exhibition and which is accompanied by a group of previous works, linked to this work by figures and shapes in closer poetic and imaginative connection.  A series of designs recreate the process of maturity of the work in its essential stages.

The powerful structure extends on the wall for over 5 meters and reaches the height of over four and a half meters.  It is built as a mosaic, containing seventy canvases 50×60 cm each, distributed on seven rows by ten.  Each row is slightly pushed forward compared to the one underneath and, on each row, the ten paintings arranged gradually in a staircase shape.  It turns out an arrangement in false steps, which creates a small rectangular inner-space, at the confluence of any painting with the one above it, as well as the one beneath; the translation of the alignments develops a complex rhombic shape with two sliding sides.

While the horizontal rows tend to slide downwards to suggest a slow but almost relentless fall, the vertical sequences register, in their profiles, a lateral movement.  This double motion confers to the whole a slight rotation on itself.  Suspended in equilibrium in the air, the structure winds up in its own self a continuously refreshing rhythm of time and movements.  The dimension space – time, as the artist observes, resolves itself “in a unique vortex, simultaneous expression of past and present”.

The clear, rectangular surface of the wall on which the work is exposed, serves as neutral and stable level, which allows to perceive the entity of confusion and at times, the sliding towards an indefinite space.

Other virtuosities enter the game of perceptive incitement used by Sanna to enrich the sense of animation which pervades the structure.  The plot of the square shapes, ordered geometrically, decomposes by effect of a changing light.

On the upper side and along the sides, a soft and warm light wraps up the surfaces which retreat in deep shadows; at times the surfaces seem to stretch out, exposing dazzling sharp blades. At times, shiny trajectories cut the spaces in half orienting them in opposite directions.

The structure is a lively, pulsating tissue.  The light is the primary element of an artist’s the formal code, which assumes the direction and measures up its intensity: it allows pauses of silence, interrupted by the acceleration of the rhythm with  trajectories turned into electric impulses which discharge in instant explosions; it speeds up the strong tension which crosses the structure and changes the tectonics with a hectic and ever-changing rhythm, or it continuously modifies the trajectories.  Tangent luminosities coming from above or from inside the pleas of the canvas, destroy the shadow which darkens the plot, and liberate its breath.

An area of peculiar dynamic excitement crosses in an instant the lower side: it is a sequence of “geodes” in rapid succession which move downwards in a frenetic race. The splinted bodies point their crests to irradiate beams of light; their edges oriented in any direction vary the rhythmic cadences.

In Sanna’s visual glossary the “geodes” are figures which the artist proposes, in an infinity of varieties.  These are constitutive elements of his figurative alphabet depending on a formal and particularly intense system of signs.  In this case, the stripe of “geodes” in the bejeweled bodies confirms the sense of fall already announced by the oblique shape of the diamond.

Specifically, the “geode” is the active interpret of a concept of painting which tends to the embodiment of the sculpture, to the space in which the fortunate combination of the two arts confers them the original force of expression.

Sanna’s paradoxical challenge is to reach this result (to give body to the picture) not by using bodies of matter, but rather that apparently immaterial element which is light.  If we observe the artist’s way, we discover the obstinate work he dedicated to elaborate shapes which suggest the weight, the profile and the plastic quality of the matter, starting with the totemic Rocks.

Giving light to a personal minimalist tendency, Sanna operates an extreme reduction of color.  Not only has he banned the colors which mime nature, but he pushed himself to preserve the only two original elements of the color: shade and light, drastically purging the varieties of the tone.  With a multiplicity of combinations of shade and light, Sanna builds its own universe.  From dark depths to the gold which becomes mobile beam of light.

The painting reveals a philosophy of light, as immaterial object which confers shape and color to anything it touches, matter – antimatter which pervades the whole, light as the essence which bares life, warmth and movement: finally a divine essence.

It is not, in the end, only a formal choice, even if dictated by a transcendental and metaphysical vision.  It is the artist himself who mimes the very act of the creator, while the art becomes the instrument which reveals the very essence of the world.  Sanna’s painting, even in its abstract arrangement, is not one which would not want to “mean”: but in highly poetic images looks for objective answers to important questions.  The same title, Cosmogony 2001 confers its meditative orientation, meant to the (mystical?) pursuit of the origins.

Confronted by these fundamentals, the same science is forced to admit its own failure, and however it could not boast to be more reliable than the artistic intuition.  As Nicola Abbagnano wrote, concerning the modern theories on the origin of the world, it’s about “non verifiable or falsifiable postulates” which “cannot be translated into verified statements”.   Their visions are based on ideas “not less metaphysical than the incorruptibility of the skies of Aristotelian memory”.

The darkness in which we are immerged, lights the fantasy of those who, like Sanna, put themselves in front of such important themes.  He tries to exorcize the dismay of the unknown by impersonating a parallel world of shapes and surreal images which in their precision and formal truthfulness become concrete as a model.


Augusta Monferini

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