Sanna or about Maieutics (M. Calvesi)

(In Sandro Sanna “Metallica” – Cam Editrice catalogue, Rome 2003)

Seduced by some of Sanna’s works, I ask him which is the origin and the meaning of “Lo specchio dei pianeti a uno a uno” (The mirror of the planets one by one) and “L’inno notturno della roccia” (The nocturnal hymn of the rock), or why Rock in English.

He does not look reluctant in front of these “invading” questions, to which other artist would have answered with acrobatics of evasive words.

The source of the titles is the poetry of faith, which, when authentic, needs to be exposed: Sanna believes in poetry as in the observation point of the world, removed from the clouds, it is the most accurate seismograph of its mystery.

The Rock is the title of a section of a book by Wallace Stevens, which contains the very lines quoted above, in a poem which starts with these disturbing lines:

“ The rock is the gray detail of a human’s life

The stone from which he raises, always upwards,

Step to the dark depths to which he descends.”

And he continues: “The rock is home to the whole, / Its force and measure…”

The paintings of the series of geodes and rocks, show in the same time the darkness of night and the need of light.  The series which climaxes in the explicit theme of the Cosmogony, as the painter called one of his gigantic painting made of parts aggregated like layers of rock, dangerously suspended in a rotation motion which reminds the principle of rotation, upon which the equilibrium of the whole Universe is based.  This is the theatre of our amazement, the boundless image of our being and becoming ourselves, the silent unfolding of a story about spaces where we can well be absent, in the midst of our occupations, but which always recalls us at the same point of the question with sudden startles, to nail us to the vanity of our proceeding.  That very question mark is continuously dormant in any uncertainty of our perceptions, especially when they meet, if only on a starry night, with a “boundless” vastness of the sky.  This is when our “measurement”, our meters and solid reference points vanish.

Sanna’s works call our attention to this disturbing uncertainty of measures attentively but symbolically altered, where inclined planes intersect one another to remind inexistent depth, with shimmering lights which violently tear the night apart but don’t dissipate the mistery.

The new series of works (Metallica, as the title of this exhibition), removes the most harsh angles of the rock, to articulate in a vertical game of ins and outs surfaces where a dimmer light is reflected.  The new delicacy, the elongated and elegant profiles do not trigger the alarm of the shapes, perceptively insidious, not anymore coherent in a pile, but each of them detached in its own fragile equilibrium, leaning in such a way as to transfer the movement into anguished thoughts.

The encounters of surfaces turn in some cases – in spite of the metal tension of the material – more similar to unreliable castles in playing card.  The refined theme of reflexes fringes the edges with accents of refined lightness but, in the same time, swallows the mysterious structure of the forms in an even more ambiguous fluid depth, which points out the effect of suspension and may transfer the lightness into heaviness.

Weather the reflexes are actually produced by shimmering slabs or mimicked by the paintbrush, this is part of the game of interchanges between reality and appearances which Sanna conducts with the skill of a master and the maieutics of a philosopher, which leads us to discover the gaps of our horizons.


Maurizio Calvesi

You may also like