Critic review of:

Paolo Rizzi

Art critic, journalist and columnist for artbook and publications
"When painting is free from representation, we can begin to understand, what is underneath and inside the nature unveiling operation, conducted by the artist Gianni Piva..."

It is curious, from the first impression, in front of Gianni Piva’s paintings, is that nature invites us to dive into it. This is the tingling of vegetation, the voluptuous history of flowers, the incredibly flowery trees, the fascinatingly prehensile landscape, which one would like to enter into symbiosis with this rediscovered Eden.

It attracts us, that is, the sensual and dynamic aspect of a nature that appears luxuriant and vital, full of moods, encompassing and enveloping the gaze and the feelings. Everything stands before us with the freshness of a tumultuous improvisation. We are involved. Then, looking and looking, one realizes that the explosion of a flowering nature arises from something more profound: organic, then assimilable with reason. It is not just a joyful and extemporaneous post impressionism descending from Monet: the motivations lie in our psychic-physical structure, in the nerve ganglia, in the cerebral filaments. Every painting, and therefore also every detail of painting, refers to our way of finding ourselves in the environment that surrounds us: us as constitutive elements of nature, therefore biologically comparable to vegetation, trees and landscape. Gianni Piva, from this point of view, did nothing but throw ourselves into those fields of sunflowers or poppies to ascertain our innermost identity. Here is the fundamental point: for the painting of the young artist from Treviso as, in general, for all the creations of our time.

Essential is the testimony of a “truth” that I would call a biological structure. The parameters with which the beauty was or it was not (or appear to be) consumed. We do not know if the so-called classical harmony (fidiaca or renaissancental) retains its value as neurotic and convulsive as ours, where the artist is a nomad looking for something that continually chase’s it and escape’s him. We are looking for new approaches to our thirst for knowledge. One of these is precisely the comparison -which can even become dramatic- between our fragile “I” and the environment that envelops us. Gianni Piva has tried, in fact, to introduce himself into the nature he paints. He has grafted his sentimental look, but also his primary organic strength, his feelings, his thoughts, his DNA, his chromosomes. We perceive it immediately: and this is already a sign of value. Nature sometimes appears in its well-recognizable connotations: trees and flowers, fields and clouds, lands and waters. It rebounds in a vegetation that opens upwhich overwhelmingly to the greedy look. “The reality of things” is considered to be the case and consider the tangle of forms. Abstraction of a tangle that inevitably becomes psychic. Here is the charm of this painting. In the same time, it reflects the external aspect of life, which is the medium of a deep journey into the subconscious. In a closer inspection there is no distinction; only of view and seeing.

When is the painting that is taken from; and we can begin to understand what is under and inside nature: under and inside us. It is a operation of unveiling , conducted by the artist with absolute ease, without intellectualism or sophistication. It can not be complex. We see precisely this subtle passage. In front of us stand out the turgid, warm, even grandiose sunflowers. In contrast, in other paintings, an iridescent dust, the flowering trees of Mauritius, are softened; or it is a field of wheat in which it seems to be caressed by the wind. Here are the ones that Gianni Piva calls “My Flowers”: tulips, poppies or violets (and “Curiosando tra i fiori”). But here, too, the landscape widens, until it is incorporated, on the bottom, the lagoon and far to glimpse the profile of an enchanted Venice. Otherwise the journey in nature leads us to the Sile, where, in the thick vegetation, the transparency of the water appears. It is a continuous journey: from the flowers of the Argentario (coast of Tuscany), from the sugar canes of the distant lands, up to a “valley” made of a glare of an iridescent light. Almost without we realizing it, the naturalistic element melts, dissolves: or at any rate escapes its recognizability to our eyes. “Cascata” can also be an impression of glacial blue. “Reflections and dazzles” confus us, opening up new horizons for our fantasy.

There is a “wall” that can only appear as a “mold’s effect”; and an “Improvisation” made of circles of light that intersect almost in a cosmic key. Suddenly a head comes out of a tangle of signs and colors, a painted wooden head that reaches out towards us, almost to weld two moments (those that trivially refer to the abstract and the figurative) that instead interpenetrate also in different subjects and aspects. Even in an “historical memory of old film”, the coils unwound blend with the pictorial magma in a sort of Dionysian dance. As long as two middle arches (two gondolas?) explode in thousands of fragments that recomposing, in a new image, where you can almost feel the movement of atoms in frantic flight. So we do not see flowers or fields of wheat: we see what’s in fact, there’s it inside or below or beyond. Imagination drives us far. What is evident first of all is that the painting always responds, tightly, to the organic conformation of those who move it. The frenzy, the excitement, the impulsiveness of the gesture: everything comes from a very precise personality. Gianni Piva refuses any stylistic compliance, every mannerisms, every solution imposed. Of course: look back in time, in history: Monet as to Pollock. But he inserted every echo, every memory, in his way of being: I would like to say in his genome. Hence the sensation of a crystalline painting, fresh, pure, even ingenuous to the limit (correctly understood) of the naÏf. A art’s painting that we can say free, it is moved by the freedom of a man who intends to express his feelings, his movements of soul, and his emotions.

Whats it means, in today’s culture, is soon said. a century that has been called a vanguarde sense of a continuous renewal of language. Until yesterday (we mean: up to ten or twenty years ago) it seemed that value, in artistic creation, had to identify itself with the novelty of the proposed solutions. Thus, for example, the Pop Art has swept away the Informal, which in turn had got rid of the so-called Figurative. Today we have arrived at an exasperated nomadism, that is to forms of eclectic reckless linguistic mutation. But more and more emerges a necessity: that of a return to nature, understood as a symbiosis of man in the environment. Here’s how nature despised by futurists or Dadaists or Surrealists or Cubists, has taken a rematch: is not only in painting, but in all modes. The other perspective is, as we have mentioned, that of the authenticity of the expression. It is enough then with the banal imitations, with the conformism, with the “cunning manipulations”: the new “spirit of the time” demands that it comes out of the artist is the result of an organic truth. If the concept of “beauty” is broken, the “true” concept is always stronger. Painting must be “true”: which means it was almost a prolongation of the human lymph, of the blood, of the organic structure. According to these parameters the painting of Gianni Piva is perfectly in order, armonious. It is instinctive and frenetic as full of vitality: it interprets nature and re-transmits its juices and moods; he becomes overbearing like of blood that comes out of a wound; reflects the signs and colors with the violence of natural phenomena: it interprets nature and re-transmits its juices and moods; he becomes overbearing like a stream of blood reflects the signs with colors of the natural phenomena. So we see the plastic drink glass burned, left to to slide in the middle of the color; or the white strands of an enigmatic writing that pay out of the cerebral ganglia flash before our eyes. Everything becomes incandescent; everything seems magmatic. Then, perhaps, the “climate” calms down: and the painting becomes a delicate trick of spring fronds, with green, yellow and lilac looking for a hide-and-seek expanding from the flowering tree.

It becomes, in reality, a mental state. Sometimes, in front of certain oblong and dense paintings by Gianni Piva, it seems that chaos prevails. It can be: the gesture is excited, the diapason, and the color falls on the canvas. But this chaos, on closer inspection, hides an order: which is the same as the organic structure of man. We immerse ourselves in the electron microscope to examine closely the molecules in constant motion. Obviously, this tool does not exist for painting: we have to work intuitively. It is possible to discern that sense of internal order, that is, of congruence, which lies beneath the so animated court of painting. The frantic vibrations of the pictorial gesture and which leads to the biological truth of man. For the rest, it will be emphasized that the technique used by Gianni Piva, the result of a continuous experimentation, perfectly obeys the expressive intentions: on the contrary, it becomes one with the “Kunstwollen”, the will of an artist. We see it in the different, but complementary, effects of painting: where there is an Edenic tension towards the transfiguration of nature (trees, flowers, vegetation, waters, skies) as the elegiac turmoil of the senses prevails, the force of the spring of world that turns into feeling. These are different times: that match to a different technical approach. They range from the solar apparition of the flowers to their maceration in the informal tangle: hence from day to night, from apollonia to limpidity to Dionysian turgidity. At the end Gianni Piva remains, in the oscillation of sensations, always faithful to himself. We can trust with him: for what he does today and above all for what he will do tomorrow. Has received a year ago has multiplied, in alls throb’s.