The exhibition curated by Ilaria Schiaffini and Giulia Carfora Paolo Buggiani: Oltre la Street Art on show ending on 15th June at the MLAC has a take on the long and stratified artitic research of Paolo Buggiani, on a timeline that begins with the first informel paintings to the most recent ones, rebellious and poetic performances with fire, that took place until now, in museum like MAAM or festival as the last Outdoor. For these he is to be considered as one of the fathers of Street Art.
“Street Art, as a reaction to abuse of power of the artistic market, through graffiti has liberated visual art from the galleries, finding an ideal exhibiting place on the street for the enjoyment of all, to restore art’s real value. Art must provoke, transmit messages in order not to be merely decorative”. This is the provocation of Paolo Buggiani imposed on young Street Artists of today in the occasion of the inauguration of his retrospective at the MLAC and at the same time an invitation to keep alive the very initial proposition in the continuous dialogue with social values and past and presents politicians, urging an active mode of communication to obliterate the risk of forgetting the content, therefore making the act purely a work of an artisan.
The rebellion is a topic that connects his work to other artists, there were presented on an exhibition shown by the Wunderkammern di Roma in 2017, entitled Long Live The Revolution: without it, according to the artist, there can be no change, neither progress. It is since 1955 that Paolo Buggiani has emerged with his first canvases in a collective exhibition of arte informale (which showed beside others Gastone Novelli, Carla Accardi, Alberto Burri, Giuseppe Capogrossi), which have been followed by many on national and international scale.
In 1962 Buggiani had the occasion to be invited to do a one-man-show in New York, and he remained striken by the impact of the frenetic rhytms and the vivacity of the streets: Sbarramento NYC is the first outbreak into the urban reality in his work, reflection of the lights and street signalization, which infect the metropolis. In his successive work of 1963 (not unlike his american colleague Robert Rauschenberg), incorporates architectural residues to form a Baroque Bird, and a Wheel. He goes on to live the NY streets, by that time transformed by the rebells of the emerging experimental movement of Street Art, with their mind on the sole purpose of finding an expressive language of the Urban space. Between the protagonists he gets to meet Keith Haring and the Living Theathre scene.
He took and saved for himself Haring’s various “Subway Drawings”, black billposts on which Haring speedily sketched with a chalk like it was a school blackboard, that he soon afterthat exposed together with other works in Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence. The medium of passage to the art of the streets for Buggiani is th, an element capable of life and transformation, and he never uses it to destroy, but to subvert, in performative action: he spits fire in his “Attack on the Twin Towers” of 1979, draws in the air fleeting appartitions with burning outlines – for example, a group of figures of a family in front of United Nations. The
artist Jenny Holzer wrote: “ it is art that is for all to see, it is art that talks about serious problems and can show how great things could be.”
I wish to all street artists of today to succeed in these intentions. Art serves to open the spirals and to continue to dream and desire, because when a things is strongly desired, it can become reality.”
Photographies embed in plexiglass structures are a testimony and recreation of a work of art, where the artist, as the his final touch of the master, draws lines and sparks, with traces of brush and varnish. A relationship with painting which he never abandons. “Sun on Earth”, photography from 1983 captures the 4 elements, earth, water, air and fire, in an action where the fire connects with the sun – and again the artist intervenes in a painterly act in 2018: reunites in a stratificating synthesis of expression the concepts of time, the relationship with matter, the vitality of the elements and the mystery of life.”
On the linearity of time, if compared to the duration of one single day, man appears only for 2 seconds before midnight. When I work, I do think about the time, that passes. In the reality, parallel to Art, I can abstract myself for real time and reunite with the elements of the whole history of time, that precedes men – air, ater, earth and fire – in a new synthesis, to recreate the myster of life. There is no art without mystery! Fire is the essential element of life. As if to fix together diverse moments the follow each other in time, sculptures in vacuum, the “Vacuum Forming”, made in 1966 leave an impression on the plexiglass the gesture of a real body in its subtle entity in a single moment. And the shadows that are projected on the surroundings commemorate the evanescence of an instant.
Often sculptures are inserted in open space and photographed, as a memory of passing by. To the transparence of vacuum sculptures oppones the materiality of subtle metal sheet, that contruct tapisseries, that help to hide from the Minotaurus and escape from the labyrinth of the city, to equip a firegun to shoot peace on a real american battleship.
Steel armoured, little dragons fly and invade the spaces of the museum, till June 15th.
Buggiani says about the fire:
“It looks dangerous but it is very similar to Life: if you don’t treat it well, it burns you!”