Gianni Dessi: Macro

Article excerpt

For Gianni Dessi, painting "is not a dead language that consoles and comforts, but one that requires the repositioning of the viewer." And in this exhibition, an overview of his work from 1980 to the present, the artist allowed us to remain in the eye of the storm, a place of quiet, surrounded by the dance of material and color, which reveal themselves with explosive energy. Rule and disorder coexist in these works. Dessi seems to confront chaos without anxiety, but also without the illusion of controlling it; on the contrary, as he has stated, he relies on painting itself as a vantage point in the face of chaos in order "to take it on, to contemplate it."

From the beginning, Dessi has been unafraid of excess, indiscriminately appropriating heterogeneous materials--among them wax, rubber, silicone, and iron--to assert a pulsating physical vitality. The center remains his constant point of reference, the place where the image coalesces and reveals itself in an assertive fashion, as with the silicone curl that forms the infinity sign (Sotto in Su [Below to Above], 2003) or a gilded metal ring (In Fede [In Faith], 1999). But his colors may also push beyond the edges of the canvas, invade their frames, flow onto the surrounding walls, and break free into space. Reviving a theme that has been one of his favorites since 1991, for this exhibition Dessi created a new Camera Picta (Painted Chamber), 1993-2006, where the color yellow invaded the ceiling, the floor, and the walls of a large room, more than 1,400 square feet in area. His signature yellow is as soft, velvety, and dazzling as Wolfgang Laib's bee-pollen floors. It is a saturated hue that declares its luminous nature without reticence. A wooden pedestal supported a small panel, while a large white opening, shaped like a volute, was visible on the back wall, an optical encroachment that alludes to the possibility of a space beyond the wall. …

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