Critical text of Giacinto Di Pietrantonio
personal exhibition "L'arabesco del tempo" 2018 Pieve di Soligo (TV).
Words and Shapes
When looking at an artist like Giuliana Storino who, besides giving an actual shape to her works,uses writing to tell about
their genesis and meaning, we can't but wonder whether to start from one or the other, from the wording or the object.There's no doubt that neglecting the artist's words, at least at first glance, we can feel free to interpret the shapes of her works, yet possibly betraying her intensions; we would have a pure vision approach, demanding our sight to comprehend what (shape) we are looking at.Contrarily, if we let the artist's explanation, the wording, guide us, we can comprehend her art shapes with her conceptual support.Looking at Storino's work, I decided to start from some of her words, finding them intensely poetic.It's useful to start from two sentences, word sequences, that she uses as an introduction to her work, the first being: "Water and earth, the primary foundations for reflection, come from the research of an essential value to create with little. In these words, we can read the artist's desire to position and be positioned within an ambitious framework where art is seen as something cosmic; for, when she says she wants to create with little,using water and earth, she knows, like all artists, that she's looking for the truth with a lie, as Picasso taught us. What Storino suggests is that they are not that little after all, but rather everything or almost everything, as she doesn't mention air and fire. As we were saying, water and earth are not that little;in fact, they are the essentials without which life and therefore art would not exist. We know that, depending on our life stage, we are made of 50-75% of water. Among the first ancient men of wisdom, Thales of Miletus considered water as the origin principle. Water is already everything to him, since the unity of water is the unity of the world and it's not man but water the reality of things and therefore, we can add, of arts too. The same can be said about earth.According to Anaximenes and Empedocles, other two pre-Socratic philosophers, earth is a primordial matter and it subsequently and symbolically represents the dry result of the figurative fusion of the triangle of water and fire, creating a sort of star, similar to that of David. Another geometric symbolization comes from Plato: the earth is an hexahedron (cube), therefore called platonic solid, a shape we can find, not accidentally, in one of Storino's works.Hence, it's not a coincidence that sculpture was conceived by moulting earth, as in the universe creation according to biblical mythology: God created Adam by moulding earth. Also ancient Greek literature tells about the titan god Prometheus moulding man out of clay. While in mythology art starts with Words and Shapes sculpture, in the Greek legend it originates from drawing, as also recalled in Storino's words: "My work is an experimental research born from drawing as its origin language, with the contamination of painting, sculpture, video-making and photography".In the 35 th chapter of its Naturalis Historia, Pliny the Elder talks about drawing as the origin language and about the challenge to the last sign between the two major artists of ancient times: Apelles and Protogenes. According to Pliny, Apelles stopped at Protogenes' workshop in Rhodes but didn't find him there. So he drew a subtle sign on an untouched canvas and left. Soon after, Protogenes returned, he understood that Apelles had been there and he also drew a sign over the one his friend had made, leaving again.When Apelles came back and saw it, he drew another sign dividing Protogenes' sign into three and left. Back into his workshop, Protogenes realized Apelles had come back but he gave up, as he couldn't find the way to divide the sign further. Legend after legend, it's Pliny again to tell how sculpture was born from drawing. In the same chapter, he talks about Butades, the first and most important vase modeller of Sicyon: one night, his daughter drew the silhouette of her boyfriend's face shadow on a wall, as he was leaving for war;the morning after, her father modelled a face of the youth in clay, which he baked into a high-relief portrait. With her works and considerations, Storino also suggests other elements for reflections, starting from the title of her show, Arabesque over time, which we can break up into two parts: Arabesque and Time. So we understand that time is another fundamental element in the poetry that her works are meant to express.Unlike water and earth, time is impalpable and can have many meanings: it can recall eternity and infinity and therefore be unique as much as multiple, fragmented, multiplied and so arabesque. This means art uses time and times and when time becomes times it tells us it has undergone a process, a movement as it happens in the video artwork titledLeave the time it takes, 2015. This is an ironic and paradoxical reflection on eternity which means that, despite moving, time always goes back to being the same, in a never-ending repetition, as sea water reaching and leaving shores continuously, again water and earth connected and here simulating the movement of breathing. As Storino says "Arabesque and time: the meeting of two aspects that are indissoluble as they stem from a unique thought put into action. Like two communicating vessels, arabesque is the weft and time is its ward".Yet, her work is densely complex and has its roots not only in philosophy and mythology, but also - of course - in art, in the "Art going back to Art" as worded by Luciano Fabro, a significant artist and professor at Brera's Academy where Storino used to study. This means that art, in all its forms, still belongs to the art it comes from and goes back to. For this reason, in Storino's work, we can also find references to shapes by other artists of Arte Povera and similar styles, such as Pascali, Anselmo and De Domicis. References to Fabro's work are evident inIdentic Vision (2013) andRocking easel (2018). In these works, Storino deals with one of the main problems in sculpture: that of balance, of static nature and weight. For, turning an easel, a privileged painting tool, into a sculpture both means reflecting onto art tools, as with Paolini, and hinting at the impossibility of painting, because a moving easel does not allow painting. More precisely, it does not allow to paint in a classical way, but it opens up the possibility to paint in a modern style, as the rocking, the alternating and swinging of the easel become ways to produce casual and informal signs;an arabesque painting in the oscillation of time. "Photography" workThe vertabrates (2017, anatomy lesson) well fits into this framework where painting becomes the possibility to generate an image. The word photography is between inverted brackets because made by mixing digital and analogical processes, which means reflecting both on the new conquests of "technical reproducibility" - to paraphrase the words of German philosopher Water Benjamin - and again on painting, since digital photography allows for interventions with photoshop or similar techniques, enabling the artist to act as if painting an image, doing more than just taking a photo.In and by this procedure, Storino shows she is again reflecting on art tools and techniques of her digital era and, therefore, on the relation between man-woman and machine and intelligent machine. In doing so, she generates a body image and more specifically the image of a spinal column, reaffirming her intentions to keep all senses together in the perception or art, the spinal column being the main support of a human body. And again, a reference to gravity, static nature and balance.The spinal column also contains the bone marrow of the central nervous system which supports the thinking function and therefore the development of concepts. That's why this work by Storino was made by assembling hands, the prehensile organ distinguishing the human beings in their evolution. It seems clear that everything focuses on the possibility to make an image and a human being stand. In fact, since its beginning, standing has been the main crux of sculpture which is made of matter and has a weight and therefore is subject to gravity and to the attraction of earth.Every sculptor is aware of this problem and for this reason creates works trying to set free from weight and gravity, by resorting to ploys to bypass them. In the first case, Identic vision, lightness comes from the shape rather than the choice of the materials (brass and iron): a thread that becomes a metaphor of lightness. Unlike a kilo of metal in the shape of a cube, a kilo of metal wire gives us a lighter perception of weight.In fact, given the artist's attitude to the use of idiomatic phrases, this work could have also been titled: Is a kilo of iron cube heavier than a kilo of brass wire? Both works, Identic vision and Rocking easel, deal with the idea of weight loss and freedom from gravity, one turning into a scale and the other into a rocking chair. Both are subject to a movement ending into a stillness when balance is found.Moreover, in the first work, the metaphor is also enriched with two wisdom teeth, suggesting that art is also a judgement on life, a way to express and establish values, not only an esthetical formalization for its own sake, a container of esthetical and moral judgement as it was in Ancient Greece where beauty coincided with good.Another work uncovering Storino's philosophical intention is Clearing (2015), made with earth and water blow, which makes reference to the concept of Lichtung (German for clearing) already used by Heidegger, one of the most significant philosophers of the 20 th century. While philosophically always looking for the truth about human beings and time, Heidegger developed the concept of Lichtung as the idea of holy or mystical woods where light and shadow continuously chased each other without ever reaching a conclusion, or rather a truth.It's a continuous alternation of light and dark, a breath between darkness and lightness recalling the myth of cave with which Plato pioneered the relation between dark and light, barbarians and civilisation. It's a single work that can be formally ascribed to the seriesWater hole(2016) and inserted in the framework of Gino De Domincis's work, with the artist engaged in launching stones into the water in the attempt to form squares instead of circles. Both works, Storino's and De Dominicis's, are failing attempts, "useless" actions but useful in the creation of art, as they can turn failing from negative into positive, therefore changing destruction into creation. This type of approach is also used in the field with the least vocation for failure: science. Many scientific achievements were made when the least expected, thanks to research failures and accidents.This allows science to re-ally with philosophy and art in the attempt to necessarily reunify knowledge as it was in the past. So it's also in this light that we need to observe Urpflanze (2018), a work which refers to the poet, philosopher, scientist and artist Johann Wolfgang Goethe as a research of the origin plant (tree) in connection with mythical branche (arabesque) within the totality of time, words, space and shapes.
Giacinto Di Pietrantonio
Critical text by Olga Gambari
personal exhibition Free Fall 2015 Turin, for Autofocus Premium.
Giuliana Storino work focuses on dichotomies: earth and water, movement and immobility, fullness and emptiness, flight and fall, thought and materialism, lightness and weight. Her canvases are microcosms of pulverized earth that condense in pictorial and sculptural compositions. Giuliana takes dried earth and allows it to fall where water nebulizes in a sequence of layers created by her own artistic energy, just like the gravitational force of the material itself, as it falls onto water particles, determining the artistic outcome of the canvas.
Critical text by Claudio Cerritelli,
group exhibition Biennale giovani 2015, Monza.
The search for Giuliana Storino oscillates between painting and drawing combining different ways of transforming the tactile sensation of the Earth in the manifold becoming of its parvencies, matter suspended between surface and depth, veil of light and tangible density of the shape that sinks into itself.Attention to nature is total, it is an atemporal vision that expands from its primordial, measure interior that guides the imaginative trespass beyond the visible patterns of reality. The artist explores the evocative and elusive senses of the Earth's memory, captures the resonances of the origin, bases the values existential at the root of his operation. Sedimented soil and tin balls are substances persistent through which the manual Act creates material germinations, thinnings filtered by a state of abandonment that completely resolves itself in the immediacy of the pictorial event.Transmutations of geological breaths gravitate in the Cosmic Echoes of the surface, thinning with rhythms that derive from the dynamics of creation, thickening and disintegration in free fall between matter and support. Minimal use of geometry alludes to Circular trajectories, luminous holesthey swirl in the stellar depths, energy flows cross the threshold of the knowable, imagery involves not only Geological plots but also liquid bodies and vibrations air of Infinity. Drawing and painting converge in the installations that the artist designs as spacesopen from undefined boundaries, revealing atmospheres where sign and color are combined in the act of inventing arabesques, star fabrics, stratified features in the overall view. These are states.temporary caught in the instant of their revelation, energy flashes, icons of the invisible, footprint trembling and blurry that shed light on the secret forces of nature.