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'Dream is Reality' - Exhibition by Salvatore Montanucci   Print  E-mail 
Submitted by Artissa Administrator  

by E.V. Borg

Picture 021Picture 137The hedonism of Salvatore Montanucci is almost menacing in its fantasy, imagination, poetry and magic. He gazes sadly, with nostalgia at the landscape, at the panorama, at the horizon from a belvedere and is overwhelmed by its sensual beauty. Captivated by its gilded relief he tragically and dramatically contemplates its total destruction by pollution, indifference and concrete the effect of modern ‘progress’. No wonder Malcolm Borg sums up his art in one breath: ‘His melancholy is tangible, the Romantic in him escapes reality and seeks shelter in history’.

I much doubt that Salvatore is an escapist as he clings defiantly and determinately to the cliff edge. He is a dreamer, a poet, a philosopher and will never let go for an instant as the erotic sensuality and tangible beauty in nature never satiate him enough. His definition of reality is dream, fantasy and imagination. His vision is idyllic, primordial and absolute. His wide-open window on life is magical, mythical and mysterious. Perhaps he mitigates his fear of death, the tragic drama of existence and philosophically sings and swings in his gilded cage consciously ignoring the snake in the grass. The scene before him is so tantalizing 2-B2that he remains spellbound. But is he an outsider to nature’s beauty? Is he merely an observer or is he an actual participant eager to reproduce it permanently in his art?

He is a bard. He sings unrestrainedly of the beauty in nature, in man. His expression is a paean, a lyrical invocation or panegyric about the miracle in life – hence the hedonism, a prayer invoking the earth mother. It surfaces in his brilliant, prismatic and enamelled glazes, in the intense light, in meticulous detail and his love of urban design and architecture. As if his eye desires the ultimate in pleasure. For Montanucci is young at heart and like all youths is jealous of his environment and he wants to protect the human dimension of urban living if necessary with his life!

11-D1His historic cores of towns and cities in Italy and elsewhere (as Montanucci is a compulsive traveller) are almost surreal utopias in their silent spaces, so meticulously ordered and clean. It is the atmosphere of fable and legend, devoid of man but reassuringly therapeutic, tranquil, serene and quiet. He is a dreamer who eliminates man and all ugliness of modern cities to suggest a pregnant silence that is the space for music. His, is not orchestral music but of the heart, of the soul, of the spirit.

4-D1Montanucci is a sensitive poet and such sensibility fills his heart with fear. He is afraid to lose his equanimity, the equilibrium and ‘ben essere’ of things made to man’s measure. He implicitly applies constant pressure on society to protect the environment not by negatively depicting ugliness and drabness but by projecting beauty and its overwhelming splendour.

In essence he is a child at heart and through suggestion he recommends man to fable and legend for in such a chivalric and heroic world of dream humanity finds catharsis: a change or metamorphosis from physical, tangible beauty to a beauty within, a spiritual nirvana.

Picture 146Montanucci is most convincing in his simple, clear-cut and cubic structures of humble huts with red slanting roofs in pyramid constructions on top of a hill. The simplicity and purity of these works is mythical. They are ‘tesserae’ of pure colour. The joy expressed is child-like, innocent and the atmosphere so enchanting with clouds peopled by fairies and nature dominated by the sun or moon, by rounded, undulating hills, sprawling meadows covered with flowers and snaking paths towards infinity. Perhaps these works are the most popular of all his creations as they are elemental. Man’s ultimate desire is for an enclave of magic, mystery and enigma that fable and legend can provide as these dreamy huts seem abodes for elves, nymphs, drawfs and goblins.

Many critics have praised Montanucci among them Rosa Gangemi, Vittorio Sgarbi, Gino Spinelli De Sant’Elena, Giacomo Nicastro, Luciana Argentino and Thomas Blommer. Yet Montanucci knows full well that eventually it is his work that has to speak for him. And his work does speak eloquently rivers of wisdom, dream, poetry, music, silence, nature and man. Dream is reality and reality dream and myth which transform into history.

Salvatore Montanucci is organizing a retrospective exhibition at the Auberge d’Italie in Merchants Street Valletta. The Hon. Dolores Cristina will inaugurate the exhibition on Tuesday 22nd September at 19.30 while E. V. Borg will introduce his work. The exhibition will then open in Tripoli at the Al-Amane Heart Clinic (November) and in Sciacca at the Palazzo Communale in December. The 70 works celebrate life and culture in Malta, Tripoli and Sciacca Sicily. Mediterranean culture inspires Montanucci who has chosen Malta as a hub. The local exhibition will remain open to the general public for a month till the 22nd of October 2009.


 
 
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