TURNING OF THE EIGHTEENTH TIDE
INNO ALLA LINEA
TURNING OF THE EIGHTEENTH TIDE: 18 paintings by Gaspare Manos (1968) that introduce and affirm the line in this artist's complex stylistic horizon after two years of silent work and introspection outside the halls of museums and international galleries.
Area35 is pleased to present this solo Manos exhibition with a series of large paintings on canvas shown to the public for the first time. These represent an important body of work developed to engage with the debate on the centrality of the line that continues to this day ever since Pietro da Cortona, Giotto and Bernini first began to examine concepts of form and proportion.
The paintings on display are characterized by a rich and saturated colour palette. The artist has used strong bold lines to reveal and introduce to the viewer a set of oracles and line forms imbued with a life of their own. Multiple intimate representations of everyday life convey all the previous incarnations of the artistic endeavour of Gaspare Manos in this unicum of intense and vibrant originality.
These works of art offer us a chromatically refined new narrative system. A fresh and novel pictorial language has been used to represent elements of time developed in constancy and uniformity that somehow also manage to incorporate, digest and normalize even the most dramatic and violent tears. The human condition is thus interpreted in a metaphorical way through a complex set of perspectives that help us decode a particular reality and some of its most hidden and unexpressed aspects. The line in these recent works has reconfirmed its centrality and importance as medium connecting life experiences to a creative idea. It has enabled new ideas to be explored and find form on canvas, via a diverse and heterogeneous cultural set of elements that produce permanence, dialogue, nourishment and hope.
The line remains here a key to the process of artistic creation, however advanced the efforts from post-contemporary, fluid and post-human experimental new generations in this field.
Milan, AREA35 Art Gallery
October 14 - December 3 , 2021
Opening October 14, 18:00
Tuesday - Friday from 14:00 to 19:00. by appointment
Saturday, Sunday and Monday closed.
Area35 Art Gallery . M +39 339 391 6899
ODE TO THE LINE
The art world has been discussing for centuries what constitutes a painting, in particular the importance of the line versus colour. In the mind of many, Giotto’s famous circle drawn free hand with a simple line closed this debate before it even started.
Ever since Pietro da Cortona, Giotto and Bernini argued about form and proportions, the debate about the line continues to this day and remains relevant. Platonic ideas have thus been dusted and taken out of dark studios and administrative spaces to be rebranded and used by artists, politicians and the art market at different times.
The thought of an ideal object that could be reconstructed in concrete form by the selection of elements from nature, with the use of reason, often challenges artists in their creative quest. Necessarily the line is a key tool and centre stage in the art world and debates about its importance have always been heated in all art circles. I remember Yves Saint Laurent at a dinner in Paris creating a stir when he mentioned his frustration openly about a fattening society wanting to be well dressed by their couturiers. How was it possible to have a colourful perfect dress wrapped around a non-athletic body? The lines and proportions were somehow wrong he argued - however the textile was cut and whatever its colour and pattern! Others would argue the contrary. Round forms are sensual and beautiful. Botero has built his art and fortune on this line of thought.
Art has always been political, to the point of being financed even by the CIA and other improbable art sponsors, including makers of handbags and bored bond traders. One may ask today if lines and colour are at all relevant anymore? Non-existent sculptures and empty rooms that once contained a happening, or even a sound, are sold as “art works” to museums and collectors. It is now possible to turn a blob of colour into a Non Fungible Token or NFT. These could sell for more than a Michelangelo and without a single line being drawn.
Eliminating the line to eliminate form, is akin to eliminating geographical boundaries to eliminate place in the name of a generalised non differentiated space and thought process. It is all the same everywhere - globalists will chant in unison! But can this train of thought apply to art? What makes an artwork worthwhile, if it has no differentiating form? Can art exist without some form of line to delimit an idea? Is art just a feeling the onlooker experiences as a participant in the art show? Time will tell.
Eliminating the line to eliminate form in paintings led to meditative surfaces of colour on canvas. The value of an artistic endeavour became more of a discretionary market decision with a political element and agenda often also hidden somewhere. Culture, in the old sense of the word, with its boundaries and clear rules became obsolete in the debate. The market became king. It was considered safer for many institutions to push art with a new political line promoting fewer forms and making it available to an increasingly silent and uncultivated paying mass public.
But all is not quiet on the art front, despite a new era of political correctness and openness to ideas. The line vs colour argument led to the appearance of real factions. These are still felt today due to the artistic currents that resulted. Artist livelihoods depended on all this turmoil, and still do. Early on, Vasari helped to stir the debate and criticised Venetian painters. The worry back then, was that Titian’s lines were being engulfed by his colour, thus creating chaos in the mind of many art lovers. Some artists went out of business because of this.
Whether you are Poussin follower and believe that color is purely a decorative addition to form and drawing, or a modern follower of the Enlightenment movement and part of the Rubens crowd that seeks support in John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding, the line is here to stay; because it has very deep implications outside the canvas, or the form it is trying to depict.
Locke argued that all ideas are derived from experience, none are innate. Hence here lies the nexus in art between the line and one’s experience of place and space. Personal experiences of territory and one’s culture, however complex, are a key factor that nurture artists to produce something unique and different. In other words, art that is meant to stay and stimulate a debate for future generations. I find it difficult to see how this type of art can be produced without the use of delimiting lines and forms. The line thus remains key to art, however post contemporary, experimental, fluid and post human new generations are trying to be in their artistic and life endeavour.
There is more to a line than meets the eye. Let us not forget that Rome, and the extraordinary culture it generated to nourish the whole world was founded by a single line traced in the soil.
That Rome is gone. It’s perhaps time to trace a new strong line on the virgin canvas.