The coexistence between symbolic colors linked to power and to achromatic and minimalist poetics lives again in the Kunst/Off exhibition, bi-personal show by the Italian artists Carlo Colli and Maurizio Savini. There was a time when colors had fundamental roles in inhabited environments: decorative applications were used to enhance subliminal concepts or to mimesis the preciousness and power of certain natural elements, such marble and precious stones.
The innate symbolism of pictorial pigments is better understable nowadays by the apotropaic functions attributed to them over time: purple becoming the symbol of high power range, emerald of hope, and so on, rather than by the actual essence – or imitation – of the natural objects intimately linked with their own color, so much to be called the same way.
Colors were a symbol of power, both social a and alchemical, and to show them off became a way to empower the person’s status (like in the heraldic) especially because of the high costs that some colors required, gold and lapis lazuli in the first place.
However we had to wait the post-industrial age to see a symbolic-sentimental feature related to color. The rediscovery of the intrinsic poetic of black and white, in fact non-colors, strong of its success in editorial illustration, was embraced by all kinds artists (just think to the importance of black for Manet or of the white pages for Mallarmè), and became symptomatic of social changes and conquests, where the lower classes, accustomed to a domestic environment poor of color, were able to witness the rise of a more natural, discreet, veristic aesthetic, validated on a European scale by the higher social class. In the meantime the desire for power (temporal and spiritual) found an outlet in the bright colors, that started to be used in the national flags since then in a much more preponderant way.
Although presenting two researches very distinct one to the other by technique and concept, Colli and Savini create artworks of strong spatial and environmental impact, almost intrusive in visual perception, but yet synthetic and effective in the technique.
Savini’s sculptures present a shocking pink color, near to bright purple, due to his personal technique involving the use of fiberglass and chewing gum; while Colli draw fully from achromatic aesthetics and rational architectural design. The combination of works of these two artists resolve in a partnership that hybridises both languages, founding a sort of abstract cathedral.
The Pop taste in Savini’s artworks is emphasized not only by the exhausting consume of the object chewing-gum, but especially by that pink-red, persuasive and yet deceptive color, already known in the XIX century heralds, in the high levels of Roman Curia, and industrially applied since the sixties by labels of mass consume products, just think to Coca Cola’s red and its deconstruction by Andy Warhol.
So, from the vivacity of the chewing-gum, emerges an ephemeral, almost eschatological feeling, so evident in the work “Thought’s archeology ” (2017), almost a memento mori. This peculiarity of Savini’s work often stings like a satire, not abandoned to the mercy of the formal dimension, but strong of the alternation of ironic and tragic lashes: between a laughter and a crying the difference is a grimace. Grimace emphasized by the material/symbol chewing-gum self. Even in the works of Carlo Colli there is ductility, not only during the creative act, but also in the sculptural power of his works, even if made out of paper. His artworks are now illusory, due the optical effects or the marbled shadows-lights on the folds, as “Post 1415” (2013), now real, marked by lines torn out from the paper or sewn in by adhesive tapes.
The Minimal accent of Colli’s production takes advantage of an emotional charge expressed by the artist’s own gestures during the creative process, almost falling into a more theatrical sphere – where Savini’s works feels at ease.
This unusual friendship between emotivity and minimalism is supported by the intrinsic ability of Colli’s paper artworks to adapt to the space, and is enhanced by their own composition, breaking down into an design of architectural taste that, even if close to Brunelleschi’s logic of embelling the space by underlining its intrinsic structure, is also not far away from the conceptual rigor typical of Gropius work. Finally, there is an interesting mystical note, more hinted than sought, manifested in the cross perceived in the work “Skin N126” (2016), and even more in the proper deus ex machina “Post 2524 DIO”, captivating metalinguistic game dialoguing with the pinkish installation “Light and shadow fall together” (2017), favoring a touch of contemporary romanticism relative in the contrast between magnificence and decadence.