In the heart of the matter (M. Calvesi)

The stones, meteor fragments and geodes that inspire Sanna are among the most fixed and motionless things we can think of; yet, the artist takes on the challenge of weight and inertia so as to capture, even within these apparently most static of forms, that vital essence of movement, which is in fact his imagination’s leitmotif. This movement is reproduced by the planes, which crumble like foliating concretions, and obviously by light, which defines a pulsating space by alternating with darker spots and seeking the mediation of grey. Within this space, the planes move backward and forward, and are articulated according to a “universal” dynamism which, though recalling its remote source in Boccioni, remains far from any human interference. It is a dynamism contemplated in the heart of matter, or better, in a primordial, still uninhabited world, which is its own sole spectator.

Sanna is considered an abstract painter not because of a gradual renunciation of the figure but because his imaginary universe is a pristine one, where no figure has yet left its shadow and where the life principle floats in its mysterious and pure essence. Though his paintings sometimes take their titles from dances, the rhythms they evoke can be perceived just as well in the most inanimate stony landscapes, in magnetic fields, in water flux, in the dance of pollens moved by the wind, and even in that subtle animation of corpuscles driven by light’s wave in the composition entitled Byzanthium. This work conjures up the luminous magic of a mosaic, which, composed of small, light-infused stones, may well be one of Sanna’s favourite forms of ancient art.

Even when matter assembles and disintegrates in various ways – in wider layers or sharper foils, with a more substantial vibration – the rhythm does not diminish, but rather intensifies, its frequency. It either beats and scatters the forms or presses into them, as can be seen in the most recent compositions, which resemble metallic flowers opening up to the sweet violence of insemination, or strange stars freely fallen to our planet, bringing with them the hissing of spaces yet unattainable by man.


Maurizio Calvesi

Professor Emeritus of Art History “La Sapienza” University, Rome

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