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2023 THE DESIO BIENNALE

II^ BIENNALE 2023 TRIBUTE TO MAESTRO SCALVINI


A spirituality that does not cancel life

edited by Cristiano Plicato

Critical text by Chiara Canali


For the second year, the Giuseppe Scalvini Museum, which celebrates the twentieth anniversary of its establishment, is dedicating a Biennial in Homage to Mestro Scalvini, whose Donation of an important nucleus of sculptural works that the Milanese author has decided to donate is preserved to the city municipality.


Trained in Milan, Giuseppe Scalvini was a figurative sculptor who since 1930 has devoted himself fully to the plastic activity in his historic workshop in via Mac Mahon. Subsequently, a prize grant awarded to him by the Society for Fine Arts and Permanent Exhibition of Milan allowed him to leave the city for France, where he also became acquainted with the work of Pablo Picasso. Returning to Milan after the war, he adhered to the artistic movement "15 Borgonovo" and then to the Existential Realism of the Fifties. In these years his fame was consolidated with the invitation to the Venice Biennials in 1948 and 1954. For Milan he created various decorations and bas-reliefs, including the eagles that decorate the Central Station, the statue of Justice for the Court and some sculptures for the Monumental and Major Cemetery.


Precisely in memory of the sculptor Scalvini, of his sculptural work and of the fundamental role played by the "prize bag" of the Permanente in the growth and development of his poetics, the Scalvini Museum has announced a Biennial that intends to reward, promote and encourage with personal exhibitions the expressive research of Italian or foreign artists who operate on the Italian territory.


This second edition of the Biennale, organized in collaboration with the MA-EC Gallery, was attended (by invitation) by 58 artists from various geographical areas including China, Japan, Germany, France and Italy.


The personal spectrum of the participants is also wide, bringing together young students who have just graduated together with emerging and "mid-career" artists, up to masters and professors of the Academy. The exhibition experiences are also diversified: those who are beginners, those who have already won awards and created personal and group exhibitions, those who have even participated in collateral events of the Venice and Genoa Biennales.


The techniques, languages and expressive forms deployed by these artists are also different to express different concepts and values related to the spheres of life and death, the body and the landscape, intimacy and the community, history and the present, and to the most crucial current issues, from war to social incommunicability, from environmental catastrophe to black holes.


It is difficult to draw up a repertoire of all the cases which are multiple and composite just as the human soul is variegated and multifaceted. Before attempting any cataloging, linked to the traditional genres of art history or to new contemporary categories, I would like to quote a sentence by the writer Davide Lajolo regarding Giuseppe Scalvini's modus operandi, which his sculptural groups often opted for a formal language of geometric and simplified mold to represent strong and basic feelings such as those of "Motherhood", "Family", "Prodigal Son", without this expressive choice demeaning the human and poetic value of as depicted:

The figure finds itself in geometries and elusive presences, in voids and leaps of a spirituality that does not cancel life, rather it gives life the inspiration, the inspiration, the idea" (Lajolo D. 1972 ).


I would therefore start from the investigation of the human figure, which is one of the themes dear to the artist. Within this category, the bronze sculpture Silence" by Emilia Persenico should be mentioned, which belongs to a series on the recovery of childhood memory; the “Apollo (Persona Solis Deus )” fusion by Alessandro Grimoldieu, a hollow mask sculpted by hand using a 3D modeling machine and subsequently fused, which is rooted in the conception of Transhumanism; the contemporary ceramic by Jiang Bo and Mengyu Liu, entitled “Yun-Children at play”, which recalls an ancient traditional Chinese costume.

It addresses the digital photography “In-side Overlays series” by Emanuele Scilleri that goes beyond the surface of what we see inside a magazine and “reveals and surprises” the fusion of the bodies of a man and a woman. Even painting has always turned to the discovery of the human figure which is investigated here by Cristina Sirizzoti through the Portrait of Sofia, with black and sharp profiles like those of an engraving , by Angela Margherita Leotta with Of the Human Series 2, which addresses a "Neo Figurative" language in which expressive and visionary elements converge, from Giuseppe Matrascia who in "Admirable Chaos" gives relevance to figures rich in symbolic and surreal details in a psychedelic chromatic vortex and, finally, by Chen Zhong who with his “Series of the Yungang Caves” depicts in a realistic style the cave system located near Datong, Shanxi Province, China, with its prototypes of Chinese Buddhist art.


A second group of works refers to the classic landscape genre which shows us how the topos of the view has never been set aside but remains an inexhaustible source of inspiration and artistic creation. Anchored to the representation of a mimetic and life-like landscape are the works of Chialiang Lin with the nuanced mountain representation of “This Mountain Is Not A Mountain”; Zhang Chuang with his whirling and luminous work “Jingzhe”, which marks the beginning of the spring season of the Chinese lunar calendar when peach blossoms blossom, willows turn green , the water level of the rivers rises, spring thunder rumbles, and insects wake up; Zhaoping Xu with his Tao River, the right tributary of the Chinese Yellow River, of which he paints the bed of the river in a hyper-realistic way with its stones and debris. Always within the natural landscape genre we can ascribe the photography of Carlo MadoglioApproaching” where a group of people seems to get closer and closer to the light source of a sunrise (or of a sunset) while the photograph of Wenchuan Pu is part of the anthropic urban landscape, which shows us a typical shopping center with signs and, in the foreground, a Mickey Mouse hat it seems to have lost any relationship with its surroundings.


The work Life stage by Sabrina Aureli refers to the new category of digital (or virtual) landscape, which predicts a future in which Nature and Man can live in harmony, and the round rug “oNIRIC” designed by Alessandro Brunello (Loopo), available on Furnigible.com, which immerses the viewer in a serene and dreamlike dimension like the crystalline water in which the girl's legs are immersed.

Another imperishable genre in the history of art is that of the Still Life or of the object, which we find here in the “Book Study n°3”, from the cycle “Bread and Books by Oriella Montin, who reflects on the need for culture as a primary nourishment and a salvific element to ensure man's spiritual salvation. And yet the ceramic The broken of red by Maoshen Zeng, which represents the bas-relief of a strawberry attacked by a caterpillar.

Among the aniconic sculptures, which reason on the idea of structure, module or circular element, we find the ceramic on canvas Soil I by Rafoo Yang, a combination of conceptualism and minimalism that represent his idea of "ground", of earth, rendered with the roughness of ceramics. The two-dimensional works of Horst Beyer which use electric cables as raw material to create a meta-sculpture, or a meta-painting, made up of an interweaving of electric wires of different origins and thicknesses, which reveal the copper luster within them. The work-object "Scotch" by Agostino Tulumello which bears witness to how phenomenal vision, optical perception and inner contemplation question the represented object. The sculpture “Nido” by Grazia Gabbini which combines different materials, fragile and strong, such as paper and copper, full and empty, like empty and full earth cubes, light and heavy as the ramifications of a lifetime.

Finally, the work in stainless steel Circle 05 by Huawei Tang, defined by critics as a "hard but solitary" ascetic, whose tubular, sinuous composition harmonic and iridescent, it declines oriental calligraphy in a rational western-style structure.

Always with reference to the artistic dimension of Chinese calligraphy, the work of the master Xunmu Wu, already winner of the Fiorino d'argento at the 2022 Florence Prize, is linked. ink on paper to give life to a calligraphic sign of great skill, drawing poetic and surreal worlds of surprising power and at the same time disarming delicacy.

Always made in ink and paint the work Initialization by Wang Fei, a young artist who has already obtained recognition as a member of ASFEA (Association Sino Francaise d'échange d'art) and director of the "Hua Cheng Li Art Community".

It looks like ink, but it is a woodcut print Baby, don't hide away from me" by Changhuan Chen, currently an associate professor of the Department of Engraving of the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts School of Painting and Art.

Finally, the figurative watercolor Stop the War" by the young Haixiong Zhong is made on paper, which boasts some works published in the National Yearbook of Fine Art Students in China and the abstract and sign "Johann Strauss The Blue Danube Waltz Op.314" by Komada Yoshiyuk born in Japan and now living in Nanjing, painter with special mention from Jiangsu Collectors Association.

Another large section of the exhibition at the Biennale contemplates the abstract works of a large group of artists, who turn to different types of abstraction. On the one hand, the lyrical abstractionism which, through the signs and colors spread on the canvas, leaves ample space for the artist's imagination and personal universe and which includes Paul Klee, Vassily Kandinsky and Osvaldo Licini as masters: in this category the work Solitude, imbued with confused flashes, by Marzia Harshal Biancato, "Primavera" by Tiziana Santoli, “Illusion” by Zhang Rong, “Office Miracle 1” by Wantian Cui and the colorful “ Indoor garden” by Zhiding Gao. On the other hand, geometric abstraction, dominated by absolute rigor and rational control of expression where geometry, understood as the study of proportions and measurements between shapes and colours, are central and indispensable reference points for painters such as Piet Mondrian, Kazimir Malevic, Theo Von Doesburg: here we find “Broken shadow” by Shuwen Yang, “Rapid” by Lanfang Liu and the geometric installation "Vectoriality" by Francesco Cucci, an architectural structure in the making, in which all the compositional elements merge and develop synthetically, organizing a shape, space, light, colour.

Another important section brings together poetics of an informal, abstract, non-geometric type, according to the term coined in the 1950s by the French critic Tapié. The characteristic of the informal is to be opposed to any "form" and here we identify the current of the gestural informal, with the works Slave without seed by Chen Fang , “Life in Wine Glass,” by Kai Rui, “Saury's ranch” by Kang Ke, “< em>Why is the body” by Zhang Li; and the informal material that brings together the works "Read in the clouds" by Maria Patrizia Epifania, "Neve a Terra" by Novella Bellora, Untitled by Lavinia Rotocol, “Breathing Rose Red” by Xiaohua Cai and “ Keyuan 02” by Zhu Lei.

The material framework The Black Hole series" by

Wang Yun, Chinese artist and founder of the Aimless Art movement, whose works range from architecture to sculpture, from oil paintings to spatial installations. p>

The work “Astèria looks to the future. Moonlight series” by Luca Ballestra whose artistic material research is dedicated to the Moon and was created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Subsequently he continues to experiment with mortar, enamels and acrylics, creating a series of material Moons on circular and rectangular canvases, giving life to his project I Want the Moon, in which everyone can reflect and touch the moon with a finger.

Chiara Canali


Artists participating in the II^ Biennale pay tribute to Maestro Giuseppe Scalvini


SABRINA AURELI

LUCA BALLESTRA

LUCIO BARLASSINA

NOVELLA BELLORA

HORST BEYER

JIANG BO / MENGYU LIU

LUCKY BOFFI

ALESSANDRO BOTTI

ALESSANDRO BRUNELLO

VITTORIO BRUNELLO

XIAOHUA CAI

CHANGHUAN CHEN

ZHANG CHUANG

GIORGIO COTTINI

FRANCESCO CUCCI

WANT TO CUI

LUCA CURONE

MARIA PATRIZIA EPIPHANY

CHEN FANG

WANG FEI

GRACE GABBINI

ZHIDING GAO

IGOR GRIGOLETTO

ALEXANDER GRIMOLDIEU

MARZIA HARSHAL BIANCATO

KANG KE

ZHU LEI

ANGELA MARGHERITA LEOTTA

ZHANG LI

CHIALIANG LIN

LANFANG LIU

CHARLES MADOGLIO

GIUSEPPE MATRASCIA

ORIELLA MONTIN

SIMONA MORONI

EMILIA PERSENIC

EDDY PETTENÒ

OLGA POLICHTCHOUK

WENCHUAN PU

ZHANG RONG

CAMELLIA ROSTOM

LAVINIA ROTOCOL

KAI RUI

GIUSEPPE SALMOIRAGHI

TIZIANA SANTOLI

EMANUELE SCILLERI

CRISTINA SIRIZZOTTI

HUAWEI TANG

AGOSTINO TULUMELLO

XUNMU WU

ZHAOPINGXU

RAFOO YANG

SHUWEN YANG

KOMADA YOSHIYUKWANGYUNMAOSHEN ZENGCHEN ZHONGHAIXIONG ZHONG


THE JURY


CRISTIANO PLICATO (Art Director, Curator, and Artist)

YISHI DENG (Artist)


CHIARA CANALI (Art Curator)


YIZHU GONG (Artist)


CAMILLA BERTONI (Art Press and Reporter)


JUNYING LIU (Artist)


Judging Criteria:


1. Creativity and Originality

Novelty of the idea or concept

· Uniqueness of the artist's approach

· Innovation in the use of materials or techniques

2. Technical Skill and Execution

· Mastery of the chosen medium

· Attention to detail and craftsmanship

· Consistency and cohesiveness in style and presentation

3. Conceptual Depth and Artistic Vision

· Clarity and strength of the underlying concept or message

Integration of the concept with the visual elements

· Ability to provoke thought or challenge conventional ideas

4. Impact and Emotional Resonance

· Emotional connection with the viewer

· Evocation of strong feelings or reactions

· Lasting impression or memorable quality

5. Aesthetic Appeal and Visual Harmony

· Effective use of color, composition, and lighting

· Balance of form, space, and texture

· Pleasing or engaging visual experience



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