Angelo Bertani

"art approaches the aesthetic of nature"

Not only the economy, but even art now seeks sustainable progress as one of its aims. However, gripped as we are in the Promethian ambiguity of technology (now our saviour, now our destroyer), we must take a position and not stand on the sidelines.
So in opposition to the type of art which is increasingly tied to technology and logic, in the last ten years another type of art has taken shape in the form of an art which rejects that logic in defence of the spontaneity and authenticity of the creative act in harmony with what Nature itself presents. So today we have on one side a conceptualisation and dramatisation of the artistic product and on the other a reactionary tendency which aims to underline the values of intuition and sensitivity in the aesthetic act.
In fact this alternative tendency is not free from the dangers which stem from a certain theoretical vagueness, but nevertheless represents an important antidote to the excesses of rational programming which afflicts much of the art of our time.
The work of Gabriele Meneguzzi and Vincenzo Sponga can be considered part of such a tendency: intuitive, aesthetic and “natural” and more specifically falls into the category of Land Art which came out of the 60s and 70s.
However their objectives overturn and radically change those of the pioneers of Land Art especially those of the Americans.
It is true that the natural environment remains the central arena for their work, but it is also true that their art no longer imposes itself, god-like, but on the contrary in the majority of cases blends in, imitates and is totally integrated with what they find in nature.
Whereas the desert and other uninhabited areas became anthropocentric in American art, now the wood or the garden, places resonant of European mythical, poetic and narrative culture, become the places where the artist looks for empathy with nature and places where one can still reflect. Meneguzzi and Sponga's work banishes every attempt to impose the artist's handprint and thus avoid, so to speak, “colonising” the territory.
On the contrary every sign of intervention on their part is designed to integrate with the environment. To this end the materials chosen are often completely natural, even taken from the actual site, as in the case of the works in Grindelwald, where we are dealing with a creative and metaphorical reuse of living energy borrowed from Nature herself.
In the best tradition of the neo-avantguarde, the work of these two Pordenone artists is designed for a specific site, a predetermined location. However, the ultimate objective has never been to produce pieces which refer only to themselves but rather make work which invites one to look around and see the surroundings with new eyes. In this sense a work by Meneguzzi and Sponga does not pretend to be “nature” but proudly preserves the signs of the intervention of hand of Man without abuse, aggression or domination.
The irony of some works is in this sense very revealing and underlines the fact that when the piece appears to most closely imitate nature it then distances itself by an artistic side-step which in effect claims the right to Man's freedom, however precarious, in the face of his inevitable subjection to Nature.
So the choice of materials and techniques of construction, which are sometimes very refined, can also be seen from this point of view. Imitation of nature does not mean an annulment but on the contrary an artistic affermation by the artist who acknowledges himself to be part of a larger whole to be reconsidered, protected and jealously guarded. Gabriele Meneguzzi and Vincenzo Sponga point to not only a necessary involvement with life itself but also with the beauty which helps us to live.

< Back