WIDE EYES OPEN
— About and around a drawing and a panting by Steve Galloway —
By ROSANNA ALBERTINI
Think if the earth could open her eyes and look at us. Or breath out a plume of smoke that fills the air with a gigantic human shape. Which one is the language of god? Words or figures? The figments of imagination or the texture of grammatical meanings? I’m playing, not joking. There is mystery in both, in both we question what does it mean to be human, today.
A Los Angeles artist, a son of the desert (see Importance of Being Perplexed, in this blog), has expressed the letter as well as the mystery of our juxtaposed states of mind; he made them beauty. In these days, beauty has often become intolerable. Is it maybe for the connection she makes to life itself? The tangible thing soft like the green buds on a branch hatching under pressure, leaves and flowers that want to grow out of the brown skin, to bloom and change and push toward their seasonal death.
Steve Galloway is welcome! He can see the eclipse of a human arrogance disconnected from natural and artificial cathedrals, or climbing towers of books from which texts have vanished. Survivors are absent minded, sweet people of dreams. Some irony in his smile, the artist loves them. He knows they don’t give up searching and jumping into the hole of memory. Nor do they stop looking into the eyes of the earth as if their body could translate unheard signs better than the brain.
Condensing a thought by George Steiner, I see numb humans deafened by the common nonsense of the news and the theories, confused by “political barbarism and technocratic servitude,” evicted by the core of humanity if they don’t try to experience, again and again, the living voice coming from texts, music, visual arts. A few of us believe that poems, music, paintings, sculptures, speak an essential idiom: the beauty of survival. What we have become, doesn’t matter.
Pressing the face on the ground we might better decipher — the idea of sculptor, Giuseppe Penone — earthly magic and art stories.
“fino a quando la terra è piu fredda della faccia premuta
nel suolo si capisce in dettaglio la forma del volto,
della pelle, dei peli, … ma man mano che si scalda
la terra, nel pensiero diventa piu chiaro che il cervello è
la terra.” (GIUSEPPE PENONE)
“when the ground is still cooler than the face pressed
into the soil one can grab in detail the shape of the face,
of the skin, of the hair, … but as soon as the ground warms up,
more and more the thinking is clear that the brain is
earth.” (GIUSEPPE PENONE)