Giulia Calvanese
Giulia Calvanese

My Symbols

The Circles

By now, “my golden discs” are the stylistic signature of my works and they want to be a reference both to the inner world and to Plato’s World of Ideas. The circle is a symbol of infinity, immutability, completeness, Eternity (and eternal return) and of Creation. I love this geometric figure very much, also for the ancestral significance it has. The world we live in, the stars we come from, the planets, the egg that gave us light, are all, more or less, perfect circular in shape. It is a familiar, atavistic form, inherent in us. “My” circles are not perfect. In nature there are no perfect circles, although in an abstract and theoretical way we can design them, calculate their dimensions and perceive their idea. With their imperfection I want to emphasize this aspect: they cannot be perfect because they belong to “our world” earthly, human, finite. They are the reflection of perfect images, ideas which, as Plato would say, exist in the Hyperuranium and which are perceptible to us in a nebulous and incomplete way, with the intellect or with the depth of our most intimate feeling. And this is my role as an artist and the purpose of the art that I have as a gift, in the words of Paul VI: “steal its treasures from the heaven of the spirit and clothe them with words, colors, shapes, accessibility ...”. In other words: translating into a finite and sensorially perceptible language what is the exact opposite, infinite and not “tangible” by our five human senses. In the specific case of this exhibition, in addition to golden discs, silver discs can be observed, especially in the “Memoirs of Heaven”. In fact, I wanted to use a chrome ink to evoke the reflection effect that is typical of mirrors, this to suggest the idea that “we are in the stars”. The spectator, in fact, can theoretically reflect in those disk-stars and realize that he too belongs to the celestial dimension represented.

The Salt

In many works in this collection, you will find grains of salt. This element has accompanied my artistic research for a long time now and was also the subject of my graduation thesis at the Brera Academy. In addition to allowing me to create peculiar effects when used with watercolor or in general with watercolors, it is also a particularly rich symbol of meanings. Due to its physical characteristics, salt preserves and preserves, it is an important food for man’s sustenance and is the element that brings flavor and enriches. Many artists have mentioned him in their works, from Leonardo in his “Last Supper” to Anselm Kiefer in the “Salt of the Earth” exhibition that he set up at the Magazzini del Sale in Venice; and many use it directly in their works such as Motoi Yamamoto or Bettina Werner. In the context of this exhibition, I used it to emphasize the need for conservation. If with my paintings I have managed to “recover” some Memoirs of Heaven, it is necessary to keep them in order to pass them on as photographs in a family album. What better than salt, which is a preservative and at the same time a memory of ancient oceans and seas that have disappeared, could keep, protect and “ferry” our ancestral memories into the future?

the Tears

You may find that some of my paper paintings are torn. It is an action that I carry out on purpose, not to destroy the finished work that does not satisfy my personal canons as an artist, but rather to communicate a completely different concept. It should be noted that I tear off the surface on which I work before starting to work; I could consider it an action that is part of the preparation to welcome the pictorial layer. This act carries with it a symbolic charge that becomes part of the work itself. The tear underlines that what we have in front of us is part of something larger, not visible, in a certain way “absent” to our senses. As a predominantly pictorial artist, as already mentioned, my mission is to translate into visual language something that not even I can fully understand. The works I make are nothing but shreds, small pieces, fragments of a wonderfully unimaginable Something that I can barely touch with my artistic sensibility. What you can see in this exhibition are therefore fragments of a greater reality that I deeply perceive and that I try, in a completely imperfect and incomplete way, to give you in order to somehow make you understand how much limitless, infinite and eternal there is.

As Dante said, whose splendid genius we celebrate this year in particular:

“In the sky that most of its light takes
it was me, and I saw things to say
neither knows nor can whoever descends above; 6

because approaching himself to the will of him,
our intellect deepens so much,
that behind the memory can not ire.
Paradiso, Canto I, verses 4-9

Or as Shakespeare stated through perhaps his most tormented character:

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
Hamlet, Act I, Scene V

Never was a more crazy exploit, impossible and infinitely exciting than that of us artists, small and amazed narrators of the Inimitable Infinity.

Giulia Calvanese, Milan 2021