Vittorio Sgarbi

Vittorio Sgarbi

This article is taken from: “Sgarbi’s judgements, 99 artists from modern art catalogues”
Published by Giorgio Mondadori, Milan

 “I giudizi di Sgarbi”

The work of the sculptor Gianfranco Meggiato reveals a refinement of taste and a sculptural line which seem to derive from a study of the goldsmith’s tradition.

Artist and alchemist in equal parts, he grew up with a conventional education, before striking out on his own creative path, which has led him to devise structures of intriguing complexity in the warm, golden medium of bronze.

The attraction of these compositions lies precisely in the fact that they are the result of a way of working which lives and operates within informal experience, where the artist makes play with references of technological flavor, which are then developed into formal results with a transparent configuration. Meggiato is thus able to bring together two diverse tendencies in harmonious coexistence within a very distinctive expressive framework.

He uses this combination of the concreteness of mechanical form and the allusiveness of non-form to maximum aesthetic effect, where the stylistic organization of form translates into a desire to confer on these pieces a purely imaginative character, and where the spatial structures clearly borrowed from the exact sciences are interlinked by logical connections, which are however organized according to suppositions drawn from the realms of poetry and fantasy.

In this sense his way of proceeding has an almost monumental feel to it, and as you get closer to these bronze sculptures, what is startling is the expressive treatment whereby ganglia of brain cells or curious vegetable growths are melded into organisms which seem like the products of a happy poetic intuition.

Gianfranco Meggiato is certainly a child of our time, given that he can make art precisely out of his perception of the socio-cultural situation we live in, out of alienation in other words, and the contradictions that arise from our dependence on technology.

Through all this, he still feels the need to adhere to a geometrical formation which is presented as categorical, almost as paradigmatic.

He builds architectures that are closed, linear, encrypted yet airy, with a powerful sense of movement in the shape, and curiously stable in their spatial incongruity. They appear in fact to declive the eye, which is drawn by the luminosity of the bronze surface and the disturbing depth of the twisting labyrinths, which seem to have no definable start or boundaries.

Meggiato’s imagination leads him to set up convoluted and macrocosmic situations, where layer upon mysterious layer masks a psychological interiority, creating a series of imaginary anatomies, or tangles of fibrous and vital organic material.

The continual interweaving of these structures suggests the theoretical formulations of an artist-scientist, who embarks on an exploratory adventure with reason as his guide, in a non-place which he reproduces in terms of pure rhythm, where the laws of nature appear to be subverted.

The decorative and volumetric skill which the artist brings to bear on this material reveals a brilliantly inventive imagination, able to exploit every detail of the sculpted form to create contrast between the smooth surfaces and the intricate irregularities, which have the look of solidified eruptions of primordial magma.

Within these structures the air itself becomes a protagonist, a structural element which defines the dynamic shape that the volatile bronze will assume. This script made up of ambiguous signs does not ask to be deciphered, but rather demands a visual and mental openness towards a message which is wholly anomalous, the product of a free and subversive spirit.

Vittorio Sgarbi