The bright and unquiet spirit of Giuseppe Livio, made up of a wealth of expressive modes that have always accompanied him and now more than ever represent him, defines a fertile zone of inspiration within whose subtle confines to bring together, out of interest and a predisposition to listen to the things of the world, a host of signs and mutable plots. The natural maturation of the things of time, obtained not only through intellectual deduction or love for work but also through unexpected breakthroughs and subsequent experimentations, strengthens his artistic spirit: it leads to a personal idiom that shapes his interior life, his poetic world.
Certainly, Livio is nurtured, and never satiated, by the teaching that comes to him from the great artists that have made and make the history of art, a heritage and richness of everyone’s history, but looking at his works one finds few formal echoes. He goes his way, goes forward all the time, and seeks beyond but, as one proceeds in a tunnel, he advances in a single direction inside himself, towards a possible exit, and from here in every direction. The mode of representation that derives from it is viscerally, mysteriously and obscurely his. In him there is introspection as scenario of desires, conflicts, thoughts, visions, conquered identity.
There thus arise in him, at times despite himself, the “invasions” from the world that seem, looking again and again, like mysterious structures that go beyond a simple or complex architecture of relations, in that they are able to suggest meanings and different and distant emotive functions for every element present in the story traced out. In a social context in which one assists at progressive fading of communication down to the confines of cold and sterile information and, on the individual plane, ineluctable impoverishment of human relations to mere abundance of knowledge, works like “Journey of desperation”, “The presence of the State” or “Lady War” are eloquent examples of Livio’s ability to testify to dramatic life able to arouse interest and emotional participation.
Hence, reading his works, it is possible to find once again the mute cry imprisoned in the suit of every sign, an authentic expression of an interior tension that knows no truce or respite, that denies all compromise with easy gratification of forms in order never to weaken the sense of the message, its original touch.
From these visions with varying narrative density, Livio is able to work out an inextricable weaving of signs, responsive to and comprehensive of the totality of the surface used; signs that mark out the rhythm of the composition and, through the choice of a particular spatial measure, establish the theme of time between memory and daily life. And looking at the artist’s works, one perceives a communicative progression that sometimes uses the symmetry of some scenes as a frame of representation and ethical container of reference and inspiration, inside which, however, there gravitate so many other motifs with a rhythm varying between the frantic and the colloquial. It is the world found by the artist and expressed for instance in “Remote passage”, “The original sin” or “Sea in storm.” Often in these works equilibriums and conclusions are rediscovered and substantiated in the anarchic and ungrammatical arrangement of the themes, sometimes by the surreal structure, or in the sudden deliberate variations in colour: a short-circuit of communication to recount, with realistic harshness, what we have become, what we are able or still willing to listen to outside us and around us.
The overflowing stories that are the protagonists of his canvases related to deliberately simple perspective planes, never banal or obvious, are instead the places where there is naturally concentrated and regularly emerges the strength of the detail with all the vigour conferred on it by the surrounding ampleness in pungent cadences or in scenes bearing witness to an inconvenient narration: “The fall of power”. There, the vision is further concentrated, it excludes every time-wasting relationship, allowing a more effective convergence of factors in a concluded image, suspended in the void of the observer’s judgment.
But in Livio it is also a time of “escapes” in relation to a world that attacks, rapes, transfigures, insults us all and itself; it almost seems that the “invasions” and the “evasions” come in and go out freely in his head through the windows that he often draws, interpreters but not protagonists of his pictures, border and conjunction between complementary terms: suffering-joy, noise-silence, absence-presence.
The steep and compact perspectives of his stories framed in virtual “little theatres” strengthen the content of a space anxious to recount itself, whereas it is only at first sight that the virtuous colour dissolves and smoothes the bitter vision imprisoned in the work, immediately afterwards causing the visitor’s gaze to clash with the harshness and glassiness of the formal message forcefully expressed down to the outskirts of the limits of his canvases. Every painterly surface done by Livio is like a springboard towards something greater, his personal divine comedy, a detailed story of hell and heaven that investigates every least detail to testify to everyday life played out amid rushes and abysses.
Livio is a primitive of the sign, in the sense that he keeps it motionless and dry in the gesture that determines it and still all turned to the idea that has conceived it; every sign bent to his personal meaning is saved from the logic of reconstituted alphabets, always distracted by any conciliatory formula towards an idea of docile subjugation of form to a drift of enjoyable decorativeness. His work is an unwitting representation of innocence, seen not as a scenario of a destiny never blemished by errors, but rather as an attitude of refusal of compromises, which tend to damp the full light that emanates from an experience projected towards truth, to come to share the words of William Blake when he writes “If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”
In the recent works belonging to the cycle “Lightness” we assist at plentiful use of the square form as the confine of his frames, as if he wanted to establish through the equal dimensions of the canvas an equidistance between vision and concreteness in an atmosphere furrowed by light but incisive signs, which seems to toy with the idea of the sandy surfaces in the works of Massimo Campigli. There is still, in the use of raw flax as a support, a desire to update memory, to make it transparent to time and for this reason present once and for all, yet never fully disclosed; to make his host of “subjects” speak in a low voice, each of them subtending a history, a meeting, a gaze.
Everything speaks to us of the way in which the artist sees things, of his vision, which is always possible, debatable, sometimes shareable. As the drawing is the writing of images or in another form the voice of the imaginary, in Livio we see clarity and contradiction facing one another. We clearly perceive the noise of the invasions of a world that wounds and suggests, and with ravishment we seek the silence of the necessary escapes so as to see beyond, to find, beyond folded bars, a place interpreting the dreams: the pencil mark of two distant islands immersed in a sunken perennial sunset.
Everywhere, a choir of solo voices, of human islands, witnesses to stories that mostly have existed, or perhaps only in his or our imagination.