Ever since I met Giorgio Di Giovanni, I nodded affectionately and with a slight smile to his accuracy towards his titles, this personal exhibition is no exception.
I admire Di Giovanni long before Basquiat, six years younger than Basquiat, the process of forming his pantheon of creatures, one more original than the other, has not ceased, a freshness that has been known for more or less 30 years. I remember that formidable work titled “The Mula”, the spelling and the way to solve that painting, I had not seen it in any local artist. The nineties ended and the neo-pop and neo-informal fashions arrived and many neos and characters like Basquiat became part of the youthful influences and a good portion of talented artists succumbed to the siren’s song.
Many nights is the perfect title of this solo show and contains in that sentence all the path that an artist must live to discover the beings that inhabit the white of his canvases; a task with an archaic part, where the image finds its response in the two OXY dimensions; return to painting that essence that oriental art would later wisely take. “My eye demands my two-dimensionality”, the artist would once say; a third dimension or concavity effect was not his desire. Inquiring into the origin links him to the artist from Lascaux or Toquepala, the one who painted bison or camelids and connects him with his contemporary Jean Michel Basquiat, ancestrally current. Giorgio in his workshop, surely he does not have a picture of his American counterpart, but a graffiti of his son.
There is an urban fauna difficult to find at this time, we are usually happy that the Andean and Amazonian world have their beings, their imaginary, their worldview. Of the city, on the other hand, that living entity on all its sides, its cosmos is rarely taken into account. Giorgio di Giovanni, the man of those paths and nights, shows his musings: heaven / hell, paradise / hades… inhabiting a dog, cat, bird, donkey, fish, trees; men: cyclist, policeman, schoolgirl, musician, beggar, all at the same level of significance. His unique, watery, cavernous universe, where, like a periscope, he shows intervals of his world without top or bottom or right or left, where the canonical horizon doubts its existence and wins to be inside, in a zone of melancholy, without perspective, with a step in and out, all is appearance.
The city is reflected in the silence of the paintings made under the influence of music, without picturesqueness or other technical ostentation, like the ancient artist, he flattens the ground to sow lines with the charcoal prepared by him and fill the fields with colors in oil… to reveal their battles in that dense landscape. Each creature written at the end is an unrepeatable word, like every day, like the many nights.
When one, as a visitor, approaches each canvas, the observer’s distance from the work dissipates and your shadow and your breath remain within that space; In the paintings, eyes are not needed to exist, but color is needed to give light and life to unknown places on the sea bed or cracks in the Sial or face of the world that the sun leaves in the dark; a material need for being line and a bit of color as offerings of existence. In the flatness of his work, there is, however, a space to breathe, the noses of its inhabitants say it and some old lyrics that he hums on some night without realizing it: “When Agustín sits at the piano, Diego Rivera, pencil in hand, draw Frida Khalo naked. She escaped from a prison of love, from a delirium of alcohol, from a thousand sleepless nights… ”.
The mixed beings, as the creatures on the canvases could be called, because the system has been taught to believe that if a branch with a leaf sprouts from a body, it is an animal united to a plant, therefore, a hybrid; in Many nights it is quite the opposite, being a plant or being an animal or man, it is the natural world, just as it is, in perpetual symbiosis, and this thesis is what Di Giovanni forges in each piece of canvas, each night under the light of his workshop.
Gravity is another core topic in his canvases, if the height and low are abolished, the fall loses its meaning, the volume, adjusted to gravity, vanishes into two-dimensionality, a strip where the shadows find no place.
In the national system, so often a reflection of what is foreign or of waiting for an award that is in fashion or that such a magazine puts you on the cover or someone like Maradona says of you “you are a little teacher”, It is a situation to be dealt with, there is no escape. Otherwise, it will be showing mettle and perhaps they will run and queue to meet you or purchase your work and offers will rain down on you; that, curiously, has not happened with the work of Di Giovanni. his work, very lively, slowly and surely, against all odds, it has become cult for reasons that only the heart knows; It is like this, as now, periodically gives the viewer some of his privacy.
Giorgio di Giovanni has been able to win prizes and recognitions, however, he carries an implacable modesty in his way of living artistically, it is well worth it, what Gerhard Richter says: “Talking about painting is not only very difficult, it may even be useless, also that stereotypical question that is usually asked, what was I thinking when painting it, you don’t think anything, because painting is a different way of thinking”.
(Israel Tolentino. Prussia, April 2023).
Exhibition data Many nights.
Opening: Thursday May 4 at 6:30 pm.
Closing: Saturday June 3 at 7:00 pm.
Place: Forum Gallery Av. Larco 1150, Miraflores.
Hours: Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
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