The only true voyage of discovery, the only fountain of Eternal Youth, would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes, to behold the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to behold the hundred universes that each of them beholds, that each of them is.
He is one of the most original artists of recent decades, expression of a tendency that rejects the absolutism of Western culture in favor of porous and permeable borders open to influences that come from all parts of the world, from all areas in which human activity is expressing or was expressed. From the end of the '70s to today Maurizio Cannavacciuolo has held a lot of solo shows in Italian and international galleries and institutions giving shape to a kind of multiculturalism before this term and this theme came into common use at the end of the 80s following the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Cold War and the development of what will become the European Union.
Observing his works, suspended between horror vacui and humor characteristic of the Theatre of Absurd, is a wandering in the complexity of contemporary existence, in its history, in its culture, in its rationality or irrationality. It is, as I have already said, the contemporary expression of wonder understood as in the ancient world where it was the cause of philosophizing. The amazement in the face of things, the ability to surprise us, to make us discover something that we did not know before and to push us to observe more carefully, to question ourselves, to awaken a dormant mood because in our ordinary, common, homologated being we have lost the importance of marveling and with it the pleasure of discovering.
Machine à penser or enigma are the most used definitions for these works, both immediate and yet very difficult to interpret. They require time and patience to be read in every detail. The iconographic references range from the Greek amphorae, to the Egyptian bas-reliefs up to the cartoon stylizations of the present day, with some recurring elements, such as insects, frogs, representations of bodies as studies of autonomy and self-portrait of the artist.
Observing the artworks created by Cannavacciuolo is a totalizing experience: on one side there is the beauty of colors or black and white, of patterns that become figures or figures that become patterns through the permeability of borders, on the other side there are the citations, the hidden or obvious references to the private world of the artist or to the world that surrounds us, in all its meanings, in all its potential. In this sense, the works of Cannavacciuolo best express the balance between ethics and aesthetics, between conceptual and practical.
We can have a generous taste of his extraordinary artistic practice in his solo show opened at the end of January in Milan, structured in two galleries: Galleria Giovanni Bonelli where until 23 February there will be artworks realized in recent years along with works conceived specifically for the space of Milano and Galleria Pack where until March 26th we will find "Three Large Black and White Paintings” (two works of two meters for three and one of two meters for ten) specially designed for the gallery spaces If it is true as Jostein Gaarder affirms that "growing up we do not get accustomed only to the law of gravity but to the world as it is; little by little we lose the ability to amaze us for what the world offers us” Maurizio Cannavacciuolo’s show is the right opportunity to rediscover that ability by putting it back into practice.