Zattini - The enigma of vision - Onorio Bravi

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The enigma of vision
Marisa Zattini

«To know nothing about yourself is to live. To know yourself badly is to think. To know yourself in a flash [...] is to have a fleeting notion of the intimate monad, the soul’s magic word» (Fernando Pessoa, the Book of Disquiet)

For the painter, the space of the canvas is actually evidence of his “where”. It is an apparently objectified “elsewhere”. But it is not the “space” described by Merleau-Ponty, since this place that the Artist recreated – re-gained – is full of hiding places. Indeed, in the painting the image can never be absolute, as it represents the changing mirror of ourselves, “the watchers”. Therefore, the painting is actually metamorphic, containing thin and unstable projective bodies, although their concrete and objective substance – in fact, we photograph it, we “immortalise” it the way we think that everybody sees it. It is polymorphic, as if it were almost expanding metaphor and emblem.
Onorio Bravi’s painting is a deeply emotional adventure. It is not a «mystery of passivity» (M. Ponty). It activates an infinite chain of reactions, strokes an endless number of thin bodies. Like a stone thrown over the water surface, it “skips” creating a sequence of circles, it stimulates the space around it, like short waves, creates connections, eliminates any distance - for those who let themselves be involved in its projection - and causes us to change. Imaginative vision thus generates a whole universe. I who write this, who have chosen to be an “art critic”, am in fact always willing to attempt vision crossings. I live in enchantment for new enchanting. I am willing to deal with the wonders, with the “exceedance” and with the diversified sense depths that every artist is able to offer in a different way. And, as I write, I hope to offer in turn further occasions for emotional expansion.

Art is always an enigma. Cézanne wrote that «colour is the place where our brain and the universe meet». I believe that since painting is a melting pot of emotions, colours end up leading us to regions closer to the heart than to the brain, certainly in tune with the harmonies of the universe.
Art is an adventure of the mind, of the shape and the gaze. It is sacred. There are formidable backlashes in the disquiet of our languages which mark ages and seasons. They reveal themselves to our gaze in full. Chance does not exist. Everything needs to happen. Amazement is a clear manifestation - with the emotion that goes with it - of the authenticity of the work that generates it. The essence of an object - like all forms of beauty - does not lie in its appearance but rather in its “soul” potential and in the relations it creates, in the core which generates emotion.

Janus considered Onorio Bravi a «sower of emotions». It is a beautiful equivalence, an evoking metaphor. Anyone reading these words can actually picture Onorio, busy on the recently ploughed fields surrounding his house and his studio in San Zaccaria, spreading handfuls of fertile seeds in this humid and fresh earth in the light of dawn or at dusk... Yes: because, as Apollinaire said, there are works - he talked about poems and sentences - which seem not to have been created but rather to have “formed” of their own accord. We therefore witness how the artwork creates intervals, creative pauses of existence. As a matter of fact, we only perceive a very small fragment of its profound beauty, as happens with the rest of the world commonly known as “real”. With our eyes we create the beauty exhalations which the painting - as a multiplier of endless suggestions and emotions -offers us. Bergson talked about «individual windings». The artist in this respect creates a variety of conscious and unconscious “awakenings”, starting the dances of our kundalini. Of course this is only if we are willing to answer the call of that endless “rear-world” that art is able to offer us. Regression and time. Sometimes we deliberately omit some stories, figments of our imagination. Pieces of life and dream we do not wish to remember and witness. Repressions which thus remain caught up and are absorbed by the patterns of time. Our complexity may scare us. Perversely we force ourselves into the enclosures of reality, forgetting the extraordinary virtues of the dream that art opens up for our life. According to Uspenski, the future exists before the present and from it flows «the absolute river of cosmic time». If you think about it carefully, theologians define eternity as simultaneity, too. Also Dunne, with reference to dream premonitions, reaches the same conclusion when he says that dreams are the point of confluence between immediate past and immediate future. He extends the topic even further to cover death, which he sees as the moment of learning about the joyful use of eternity. Painting, in this way, rebalances indifferences. It creates a sort of nutritional contact. We magically realise that the work of art keeps the “creative instant” open, it reacts and counteracts the pressure of time which closed every passage, opening up a time escape. In this sense «the eye should be seen as “the window of the soul”» (M. Ponty).
Empathically, then, we can abandon ourselves to the vision of these imaginary projections which Onorio Bravi offers us, between mirroring and sliding, into subsidence of the soul. And possibly into emotional converging and diverging, thus finding a zero gradient which allows us to re-emerge in sense density and beauty fertility. Because the ontological formula for real painting, to my mind, is concentrated in the words which Klee had etched on his tombstone: «I am elusive in immanence».

Marisa Zattini

                                              translated by Cetra Congressi S.r.l. Flavia Corina Di Saverio

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