PRIVILEGED ANACHRONISM IN THE SCULPTURE OF GIANFRANCO MEGGIATO
Sphere…cylindre…pyramid…cube … figures in solid geometry, produced in polished bronze according to a magical scientific formula. Indeed they have the look of science fiction about them: the effect is not just to encourage you to examine the surface but to provoke you to an intriguing guessing-game as you make a thorough exploration of the complexities of the interior. And yet, this interior is itself a fictional place: you create it little by little because it cannot be formally perceived. You start from the surface, brilliantly lit and totally exposed to view, since it constitutes the enveloping «skin», and infiltrate deeper and deeper inside the image, along a tortuous path made up of a mass of «tubules» arranged to form a large network of irregular polygons, presumably interconnected, but often fragmented and tangled up together. It is as if a corrosive magic had operated on the configuration of all the layers of that labyrinth deep in the belly of the mother-shape, and that is how it came to contain all these subsidiary forms, created in the dark meanders by a mysterious skill. The occasional thin ray of light is allowed to pass through, and finally makes contact with another geometrical solid, usually a sphere of modest dimensions, set in the centre to act as nucleus, barely visible through the enchanted forest.
The artist who creates these fantastic objects is Gianfranco Meggiato, a young Venetian in his early forties, with a wealth of rich experience and enthusiasm, which he uses to fuel his futuristic projects. These have gradually developed over time towards more simple configurations, bowing to the necessity to obey the rule, which governs every valid work of sculpture: to strive towards a visible equilibrium between the voids and the solids in the three-dimensional image.
In all this, in my opinion, he reveals an amazing capacity for making innovative art: he has reached a space, which has rapidly become a place of contact with the future. And to avoid this seeming an exaggerated claim, I must add that it should be understood in the sense that his vivid imagination runs ahead of him, opening up broad horizons, and is amply supported by a lively erudition and a solid base of training in artistic studies.
The «show» which opens before our eyes as we delve into Meggiato’s work is a very interesting one. Our enquiry is stimulated by professional curiosity, certainly, but most of all by the desire to grasp the work’s profound significance. This desire is inspired by the talent which the artist lavishes on those mysterious cavities which we have explored – or perhaps simply guessed at, trusting to a few hints offered by the artist himself: «On a formal level, space and light do not delimit the work, glancing off the surface as they do in conventional sculpture in the round: rather, they penetrate to the inside, and wind their way round the tangled lattice, finally illuminating the centre (see Sfera con sfera) as a virtual point of arrival.
Or sometimes there is no sphere (see Cubo tensione), or it cannot be found, and then the eye loses itself in the organic networks in a diligent search for our most inward essence.» And it is here, with this helping hand given us by the artist, that we are able to break free from the dense labyrinth of the «organic networks», where our search was in danger of becoming ensnared:
this search for a clear and intimate sense of an art into which Meggiato pours all his erudition and enthusiasm, his entire consciousness even, in a place where Energy and his own nature join to reveal the true way, leading in the direction of the «honest relationship» of common study through which man «searches for himself». Ancient materials and technologies accompany the enterprise. Against the background of the uncertainties and the many aesthetic impostors rife in contemporary art, regrettably encouraged by today’s huge international commercialism (which pollutes the image and undermines the seriousness of art), Meggiato’s sculpture can appear out of its time and therefore anachronistic, but this is a privileged anachronism, tangibly poetic, where the Venetian sculptor uses his modern sensibility to overlay and imbue images from a remote period, such as the figures of solid geometry, displacing their significance and effects into times far distant from their origins and history, and it is this fantastical reading of these ancient images, which he displays in a compelling projection towards the future.