Paola Simona Tesio
Art Critic, Journalist.
Salvatore Morgante and the Soul Emotions. The Emotional-Material Abstractionism
The impression and the emotions generate a sublime matter in Salvatore Morgante’s art. The “intangible trace” changes its shape, thanks to its ability and its pure sentiment, turning into pulsing and lively authenticity. Those who look are captured by the colourful textures of the canvas radiating pathos, and stop to listen to the music that comes out of the stratifications of thought.
Spontaneous aesthete, a lover of the volcanic matter, a wise blender of shapes, of lights and shadows, of memory and oblivion. He translates the intangible of the soul and then throws it on the canvas giving it life through earth and contrasts: uncertainty and certainty, depth and elevation, rationality and inspiration, quiet and movement. His bold interpenetrations of matter, the fast epiphanies, give light to the mind, as he explores the depths of the unconscious. In the meantime, they let in the emotional background of the viewer, who goes through those “soul paths” as in an existential path, dispersing in flowing settles, in the vital eternal never-ending strength of the emotionally vibrant colours.
Attractions and rejections, compulsions and needs, tension and quiet, explosions and implosions, order and chaos: opposite poles that chase each other and blend in, they merge and generate: finally, they come apart in aesthetic differences. The human condition through heartbreaking emotions: a paint rich in suspense, hopes, dreams, but also, and mostly, the ever-changing background that aspires to extend ever further beyond.
A vastness of unknown universes from which impetuous lines, harmonic froths, interpenetrations, symbolic convergences come out. Painting-sculpture created as life, like the universe creation: hidden, vast, lived by planets and galaxies in which the human genesis seems to have been casually generated.An infinite expansion, a primordial deflagration, similar to the idea of the Big Bang, characterizes Salvatore Morgante’s “emotional-material abstractionism”, which is an open universe in which the density of the matter compensates for the speed of the expansion of his incisive traits, thrown on the canvas, secret and apparently casual, but similar to the men genesis.
It is a vibration of tense and subtle strings, happening when the eyes of the viewer and the work’s meet. There is no rationality wondering about the truthful forming of the matter full of images, but it is unconscious, with no real further mediation. It trembles at such vision, it reacts, it suggests. The empathy is the immediate first reaction that does not need difficult translations. As each one follows their own change, sinuous mutations, they all reinterpret the matter as it turns into different and constant metamorphosis. A scenario that is never static, it is always changing, an unlimited suggestion of emotional modulations enriched and passed on when the eyes meet.
Just as sublime are the words with which the artist himself defines his bound to his own art: “I felt the impulse of creating to give life to feelings. My art is made of moments, feelings, emotions; sentiments that I translate to the canvas through the colour, the matter and the gesture. An unstoppable impulse that forces me to create. My life and my art are, today, one thing. Everything is a source of inspiration: a sentence, a thought, a sound, a smell, a colour. Places, time and space influence my creations, they become a full part of it. The creative moment is a sequence of thought and impulse. Thousands of different instants, discordant stimuli, immediacy, memories, impressions and colours. They all, in harmony, allow me to show what gives me life from within. Sometimes it is a shout, some others a whisper, some others contemplation. But, it is always life. I wish my art could speak to heart, to minds but, mostly, to souls. I think the soul lives in the work of art, in the depths I leave in the matter”.
The meanings in Salvatore Morgante’s works are always numerous. In “Explosion of pleasure”, the instinctive vision/perception shows the explosion of a volcano, whose lava impetuously springs out. That intimate fire represents the most audacious and intense emotion of the act of love as it happens in the coitus between the man and the woman. You can perceive such image only if you look at the white not as a mute background but in the sinuous shapes of the feminine virginal shapes. You can grasp a reminiscence of the work “L’origine du monde” by Gustave Courbet.
You can notice such impulses and attractions in works like “Distracted Attraction” that highlights how this “emotion between two poles” can happen even if the feeling is not perceived at the exact same time. In “Concentric Attraction”, we witness a global generation of emotions that involves multiple subjects around the same ardor. In “Beyond the soul”, the calm soothing blue, that reminds the vastness of water, primary element for the formation of life, leads to the complexities of the animus as the blow, wind and essence of the human life, sailed by spouts of white and black, almost as if they subtend the negative and positive elements that characterize it.
The work “The miracle of life” is just like a harmonic fluctuating dance between two entities that balance each other. For the author, the wide brushstrokes represent the “ecstatic amniotic”, as to say the muffled sensation of expectation and suspense the fetus feels in the mother’s womb as he lives such protective embrace full of hope. The red of the forming life is outstretched in the becoming, it lies in the unconscious memory of that deep and hidden indissoluble bond that, as a reminiscence, stays in the unconscious memory of that deep and hidden feeling of quiet. Heartbreaking the work, “You won’t have me”: in its realization, human faces keep coming out as the artist tries to hide them in the textures of the colour. He turns the canvas around, he paints them again layer after layer and, despite this, human figures keep emerging. An architecture seems to protect such path where such shapes merge to one another.
Rich in pathos, Morgante’s portraits are unique for their peculiarity and presence: the metamorphosis of the traits become incisive and highlight the expressive feature of the soul. The monochrome “The thinker. Cogito, Dubito, Sum” is strongly penetrating, it is the eye peering the other eye, the one looking reflects in the one who is looked at, just like in a mirror. In the title itself, there is an explicit reference to Descartes, substituting the rational certainty with the ability to question: only by questioning themselves, men can preserve the virtue of humility and the consciousness of their limits.
“M.E.D.G.” is dedicated to a real person. It represents the human condition dictated by the passing of time. The painting depicts the past life as it relives in the becoming of the current life: the vital breath of youth, revised through experience. We are those who we used to be and every passing day does not really change us, but gives us more awareness.
“Nippy”, dedicated to Whitney Houston, is rich in inner testimonies. The artist had the chance to meet the singer and they shared a few moments during a concert. He could feel her sensitivity, which emerged from the clear deeply enlightened eyes. Whitney’s melodious voice, which had accompanied the moments of a whole generation, was to Morgante’s eyes the hope that goes beyond the frailty of existence and the redemption from the darkest moments. The colours of the painting are Nippy’s favourites, the incisiveness of the traits embodies the past tensions and sufferance. The eyes, intentionally marked and idealized, are nostalgically bright. The image he took inspiration from is a frame of the video “Miracle”, in which existential questions about abortion are present: “How could I throw a miracle away?”. In a wider metaphorical sense, the miracle of life is something that belongs to all of us, the gift that sometimes gets lost or overshadowed. The miracle of existence is present in every pulsing expression of the matter and colours of Morgante’s paintings.
In the “Fleurs” series, expressive colourful masses describe the flora: a personal hymn to the Nature that turns into the compelling “throwing” of the ontological human condition and of the knowledge in its caducity, its constant tension between frailty and possibility. Artists tried to react to the dramas of their time with the informal and came to realize figurative images could no longer give satisfactory answers, as the deep and inhuman lacerations could no longer allow the inner feelings to be fully expressed. So they felt the need to look deeper into the unconscious translating such depths with incisive signs. With Salvatore Morgante’s emotional-material abstractionism, we witness the flush of pure ever-changing emotions always longing for positivity.The paint is a sort of purification of the soul and, therefore, it must be free from any obscuring pain. In the intense strength of his brushstrokes, we can see the infinite emotion, rich in protection and expectation, heavy with the future: this does not mean he is not able to grasp the difficulty of the existential path or his own time. Such dimensions need to be an impulse to the action, to the passing of every negative condition and any inactivity. Art, sublime, grand and welcoming like the life womb, needs to stay uncontaminated.
Just like he translates the intangible of the soul and throws it on the canvas that live through contrasts, uncertainties and certainties, depths and elevation, rationality and inspiration, quiet and movement, with the very same emotional research he photographs the existence, the changing human conditions, making them the images of the eternity. His shutter clicks grasp the “forever” in the becoming of life, in the uproar of the contingencies that go from sadness to joy, residing in the contrasts of such intense and truthful image.
The series of works dedicated to the topic of migration represents an itinerary to the discovery of human faces. The photography becomes the result of an intense gaze intertwined with encounter and dialogue. The photographic instrument is no longer a mere mechanic instrument, but the extension of the eye, the chosen medium to reach the vibrations of the soul. In the Alcibiade I, Plato teaches us, using Socrates’ voice, the way to know the other through the exchange of looks and reciprocal reflections: “Have you observed that, by looking at someone in the eye, you can see your face in the eye of who is in front of you, just like a mirror, and we call it pupil, as it almost is the image of who looks at it?”. Looking at each other and being looked at, horon horonta, is a reciprocal relationship with the person who stands in front of us. We are memory and recollection, present and existent, being “thrown” in a world from which it is possible to redeem, but, also and mostly, other people live in us.
As Salvatore Morgante underlines, “This work walks us through the research of faces and stories that are apparently far from our culture. Far but close, as they happened to men and women like us, that fight to live every day, and that, to survive, had to face a long journey. For many, unfortunately, the last one”.
The closeness, the proximity, the presence of the other in us and how, in us, there are feelings that vividly emerge from these portraits. We meet Adama, who rediscovered the joy of life; Omar who wants to fight war with a smile; Asan who would want to know what Freedom is; George who prays for Peace; Sofia who will not be stopped in becoming a mother one day; Aihmed who thanks his mom for his existence; Awali who runs away as he was once persecuted because of his free thought; Jamila who, although being sad, still carries Hope in her heart; Mustapha who was condemned to death; Filimon who diserted war because he loved life.
There are John and Miriam who, despite everything, managed to create a family in happiness; they are portrayed in a heartbreaking and clear embrace as they lovingly look at the symbol of their love: the little Fabiola, born in Italy. This image seems to evocate the verses of Guido Gozzano’s poem “The Sacred Night”: “Console yourself, Mary, for your pilgrimage! We are here. Here is Bethlehem adorned with trophies. By that hostel, we could rest, as I am too tired and so are you. The bell tower slowly strikes six o’ clock – Is there any room, people of the Caval Grigio? – Gentlemen, we are sorry: it is the night of the Prodigy; there are too many strangers; the rooms are filled with people […] Host from Cesarea… – An old carpenter? Host him? His wife? Not at all? The hostel is all full with knights and ladies, I do not love the mixture between lower and upper class. The bell tower slowly strikes eleven o’ clock”. Even Joseph and Mary were migrants, worn out by the long journey they would knock on doors no one would open and they found refuge in a bare hut where Jesus came to life. In this Salvatore Morgante’s extraordinary shot, we find similarities with the tiring journey, with Mary’s labor, with a small life being born despite the starvation, almost to highlight the importance of the values of freedom and hope. Other people’s story is, deep down, our own.
Salvatore Morgante was born in Agrigento, 5 April 1976. His art, just like the spring breeze of the day of his birth, is a blossom of emotions. A talent that intangibly emerged in the contemporary art scenario. The roots of his research go back to his career as a graphic an art director, which allowed him to keep his curiosity and love towards the world alive. Ever since his start, he participated in numerous high-profile expositions, earning the third award of “Terra Furoris” first edition. Interesting his performance “Uno/A hundred”, where we realized a great canvas broken down in micro fragments donated to people who live all around the world, even New York; a work which seals the concept of individuality and multiplicity.
He is one of the “meta-dimensionism” artists: the three dimensions of space (length, width and depth) and the dimension of time are substantiated by the dimension of emotions. His “art of the soul” explodes almost unexpectedly as he gets involved in numerous events that represent the most concrete answer to the “heart wondering”. The emotions he throws on the canvas encountered the public and critic consent. He has recently taken part in the XI Biennal of Rome; he was a guest of the Victoria Gallery in China in “The West Lake Art Fair”, and of the Association “Ars Docet” in Dubai.
He was invited to take part in other projects in Paris and Dallas. Among the critics who wrote about him, Professor Nuccio Mulla stands out. Professor at the Fine Arts Academy “Michelangelo” in Agrigento and member of the International Association of Art Critics, who discovered the artist and was the first one to describe his art: “Arcane overlooks of natural and anthropomorphic evocations; blinding and darkening scenarios; compresence of supersigns of the excavation through the thousands of mazes and caves of the ego; multiplications and elevations to power in perceiving how symphonic balances are simultaneous; in unison eruptions of explosive stratigraphies in sparkling colours; seductions and spells of hyperhuman landsapes in the momentary pauses of composure, before any other eruption of the matter in new and diverse aggregations and dispersions; enigmas and supersigns prophecies; totems of spells and invocations; galactic conflicts between blinding glows and unexpected twilights; oases of solemn serenity, in silent expectation of every judgment of Fate; tsunami of quakes and storms; golden planetary bringing together the languages of lightning and meteors on staves of torment and ecstasy; this and so much more in Salvatore Morgante’s production, of yesterday and today (absolutely self-taught, but commendably Master). And all this in a congeniality of messages and objectives, and only apparently, a subsidiary diversification of techniques, styles, paces and creative outlets, also to prove that, if this means “Eclecticism”, “, the artist has done well so far, not to “pick out” just for the joy of the profane”. Professor Luisa Trenta Musso has instead focused on his felt critic research of expressive authenticity: “A prodigious artistic production, whose “secret workshop” must not be violated with analytics methodology, but only experienced and lived together with the artist. It must be heard. Because it is a wondrous interlocution of irresistible charm. Magnetic. It is impossible to walk past it without being captivated. Overwhelmed by the fascinating spectacle of the becoming forms; from the utopic sublime of a world that can become better; from the amusing antinomian symbolism that links light to darkness, black to white, top to bottom, in the great infinite history of creation.”
Undoubtedly Eclectic, Morgante realized a calendar “A good year for everybody”, linked to the topic of immigration, where he managed to describe, with the same poetry that characterizes his aesthetic transformation, the realities, the sufferance, the life but also the happiness behind a smile, despite the apparent sadness. Such images ended up in the expositions “Saved Life” (Chiaramonte Castle, Favara), accompanied by the words of the portrayed people who would talk about their dreams, hopes, dark lived moments.
The current project is to realize a book with the same shots in collaboration with other actors who will work on the text. In Morgante, the soul lives also through photography.
Dott. Paola Simona Tesio
Art Critic, Journalist.