Matteo Pugliese -Infinite Battaglie (Endless Battle)

July 24 - August 9, 2015

White Room
Via Dei Mulini, 26
84017 - Positano (SA) - Italy
+39 089 8123440

Opening with the artist: Friday, July 24, at 18.30

In Matteo Pugliese's work, the concept of limit plays a crucial role. This topic is fundamental not only as regards the series of those figures who struggle to emerge from walls - the "Extra Moenia" series Fuori dalle mura (Out of the walls) - but also as regards the "Custodi" (Guardians) series and, to a lesser extent, the Scarabei (Beetles) one.

At a first glance, the three series do not only seem to differ but they also seem to be in contrast with each other: the "Extra Moenia" anguished and driven by sacred fervour; the "Custodi" hieratic and focused; the "Scarabei" playful and cheerful...

Nevertheless, if we look more carefully, it is not difficult to find out the fil rouge that connects them: the limit, precisely.

In Extra Moenia, the limit is the presence of the wall itself.
Is there anything better than a wall to represent the block, the conditioning that traps us and forces us?

The intolerance towards this constraint translates into a struggle and an extreme effort only aiming at demolishing this prison and restore a - physical or mental - condition that the subject believes worthy and necessary.

Tackling and going beyond this limit is the starting point and the opportunity for rebirth, for a new life, far from those compromises and frustrations that one had decided to accept for such a long time.

We can quote several iconographic references for this series of sculptures, classical references like the Laocoonte group, the Renaissance ones like Michelangelo's Prigioni, or the mannerist ones like the Appennino by Gianbologna, but they would not diminish the complexity and the interest raised by the Extra Moenia; on the contrary, they highlight the universality of a topic that never ceased to appeal artists.

In Custodi, the concept of limit is as important but - only seemingly - less evident.

These figures need not to fight any longer because they have already won their struggle. The urge to break loose from the block translates into the awareness of being through it. Battles, wars and frustrations have been left behind and only the features necessary to win those battles are shown: a strong balance, a great awareness and determination. These concepts are expressed by overturning the traditional proportions (and this is in contrast with Extra Moenia): very large and steady feet, powerful and focused bodies, determined faces and aware gazes, often with half-closed eyes like someone who fears no threats. But, above all, there is a brand new element: irony, a feature that is clearly essential to finally accept and understand oneself and, subsequently, the whole world.

Power and dynamism are still present, but they are not expressed by physical action and muscle tension but by expressing an announced - but not shown - strength. The lines of force do not outburst but they implode, chase each other among their own vortexes.

Lastly, the Scarabei... in the ancient Egyptian culture they represented the cycle of endless rebirth and transformation of the human beings, and their magical-propitiatory function is clear. The beetle perpetuates the concept of solidity and strength of the two previous series.

The mere comparison with the man (own weight, moved weight, distance) make them heroic. Here too, the contrast makes the concept of limit clear.

Also Pugliese's Scarabei find their ideal place on the wall but, unlike the Extra Moenia, the wall is not a limit or a threat but an opportunity to show and talk about themselves... therefore showing not only their appearance but also their most intimate and peculiar side.

Pugliese's Scarabei keep those dreams literally arisen for fun, during childhood. The artist decided to put his heroes in the hands of these works: the things or the toys of his - true or imagined, nonetheless real - childhood adventures, through which he used to imagine and build his own future... a limitless future, where fantasy and imagination can do anything.

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