Whoever thinks in concepts and not in images, treats language as cruelly as those who can only see social categories rather than men.
A constant vision illuminates Giorgio Bevignani’s work, and that is a philosophy of art originating from a solid module that is replicated, enlarged, expanded in space in pursuit of ever changing interactions and depths. Conceptually such module is stone, but rather than a found, gathered or moulded stone, it is an ideal stone, a milestone that is issued directly from and generated by man. Bevignani has found such regularity through the idea of a replicability that is as endless as its transformative possibility. He needed an atomic world in order to build his own de rerum natura. He found it in a medium that is matter, substance, but above all shape, outline, profile, something that does not necessarily need to be illuminated from the outside as it is perfectly illuminated from the inside. As a pure paradox, such extreme object and concept simplicity is self-sufficient as a pure and impenetrable monad.
In other words, it is stone, handmade from materials such as terracotta or cement, that becomes the concept confronting the poetic substance of works. The artist has really felt the need to purify and sublimate his typical intellectuality, or the cultural process with which he conceives every work, by using a simple physical, common element. As he makes such material himself, the artist becomes at the same time faber and sapiens sapiens, to use once again a primitivist metaphor. In this creative process there can be no devolution, the terms of the issue cannot be simply transferred to design, thus obscuring execution. This originates in the night of thought and at the edge of stone, on the borders of its shadow. There is no end, no before or after, only the thing made real, the thought that materializes in a specific, modular, netlike structure, yet always intentionally low-tech, or with technology confined to a barely noticeable role.
It is a game of meanings displaced and drifting away. In the end, Giorgio Bevignani has pursued his own proposal in a world of affirmations and quotations. Since his poetic world is firmly rooted in literature and philosophy, he has realized that the simplicity of how things are seen should remain attached to the solidity of colours, of pulsating matter, of fluorine and sulphur, and even to the changing and metamorphic value of the relation with light.
Time and changeability are the two main characters of his works that should be immediately highlighted. Time belongs to patience, to making things, to the made and unmade cloth, but also to the pleasure of looking at the minute hand ticking away while you manipulate clay, while you create the imperfect atoms of a new physics. Changeability entirely belongs to the spirit of time, but also to the Heraclitean philosophy that sees the world’s elementary forces that are bound to dance together, but certainly it is the transforming fire that produces the variety the world needs. On the other hand, fire is not just necessary to cook food, a crucial function that identifies a civilization – it is also a source of light, it keeps wild animals (fauves) away, it protects and perfectly mingles with air and gives it the movement that some philosophers have recognized as the quintessence of life.
Giorgio Bevignani is a Pre-Socratic. At least in terms of his own (as much as a universal) departure point or key to nature and the world. He is a researcher of shapes and thoughts, of relations between natural elements and man-made objects, between media visions and the substances produced by repeated and constant manual skills. But he is a Greek philosopher who is also aware of quantum physics or was told about it by some obscure god while he was asleep, one of those dreams when you are not sure whether you are in your own or in somebody else’s dream. In the end, one may say that his work is related to exempla, those instances of abstract thought that take the shape of visible and even tangible concretions. For this reason it should be clear that when we talk about exempla, it is certainly not at a level of memory, aphorism or apodixis. This is a real rebirth, a return albeit in an updated key so that time can breathe again over it in a new way. In order to define the terms of this particular and original poetic position in contemporary art, one should keep in mind how his work pursues an extended temporal dimension, a medietas between a resurgence of the past and the appearance of the absolute.
Thus, ”Peter Pan e l’Orizzonte dei Rossi”, a most recent work, proposes not just an all-engaging vision of an extraordinary suspension of elements, but combines the idea of eternal youth, of remaining a child no matter what, with the dream of representing every possible shade of red. An extraordinarily engaging work where the discovery of the world coincides with its creation. The symbolism of this colour offers endless hints – from Boniface VIII, the inventor of cardinal red, to (once again) fire, purification, and rubedo, or the reddening of alchemic transmutation: but in the case of Bevignani it is best to stop and consider the value of the epiphany of colour. Like in his 2007 work ”Perpiero”, the dedication to Piero Della Francesca hides the exemplum of three colours drawn from the legend of Arezzo’s True Cross, orange-red, cobalt blue and black, that become a new story, a new legend, an installation where colour is freed from shape and becomes the ruler of space and light.
In this regard, the iridescence of variation is fully expressed in a work like ”Diaphora”, made in 2008, with its terracotta modules painted with pigments and phosphorus that are light-sensitive and changed by the passing of time as well as by the physics of rays and particles. A work where colour is once again the thermometer of environment, the measure of the changeability of life, of its incredible as well as eternal childhood. Bevignani’s works measure the difference. And paradoxically, ”Le Visioni di Medusa”, made in 2009, tells the story of Poseidon falling in love with Medusa, one of the Gorgons who, having had her hair turned into snakes by the spiteful goddess Athena, turned into stone those who looked directly at her. A strange story, as, after Perseus killed her, this symbol of fixedness and death then generated Pegasus, the winged creature that symbolizes fantasy. Underwater and heavenly worlds coincide in a dimension where even sounds become a feeble moan, voices become music and the other way round, to show once again that meaning displacements are the basis of any other-worldly change.
The same aspects emerge in the 50 square meters of the huge installation “Cirri”, made in 2008, where the rule of the game is making and unmaking the world, as its untiring nature already knows all too well. Almost unknowable, ever changing and ever lighter than any thought resting on them, clouds are also a personal evocation of a grandmother, of a biography that is always voluntarily and discreetly hidden. Another hint of time going by, of a Joycian riverrun, is “Pharma”, made in 2007, a childhood stream in Tuscany as well as a place where spa water becomes a show, or a mix of fire and water, of air and flowing elements. ”The Jordan’s red Water” (2008), instead, associates the theme of the river, the Jordan river in this case, to a classic element of purification and memory of the first baptism, purifying water, the topicality of blood flowing in Palestine in an endless war with Israel. Once again, topicality continues the unbroken movement of time in a progressive displacement: the water in the bowl gives another shade of red to a life that ends and fails to begin.
And the presence of phosphorus, as a light-sensitive substance but also as an element of mineral power, is combined with sulphur in a work with a title that is a wonderful word play: “Soufresouffre”, 2008. Sulphur suffers but we suffer even more as we witness the continuous transmutation of matter that offers the usually ironical hints to the sulphurous and diabolical world (a metaphor of art), while it also expresses the awareness of living in a land that hovers between earth and sky. Once again, tout se tient in Giorgio Bevignani’s work as natural and cultural elements get close or separate and then always join again. It would be all too easy to refer to alchemy, but certainly the artist achieves a timeless linguistic syncretism that escapes any artistic categorization, as it was and still is the case with Anglo-Indian sculptor Anish Kapoor.
Let’s go back to the stones, then, to their meaning and uncertain shape, at the same time clear and undefined. In Giorgio Bevignani’s work it is modularity that makes the difference, although in an almost biological sense, towards a natural absolute that becomes shape and essence of the world. “”La danza delle Pietre”, which refers to Charles Malamoud’s latest book, aims at reviving the idea of the Vedic rite that “enacts” human sacrifice by using a plant that becomes soma. This is both a Hindu god and the plant juice that priests drink to get out of themselves and live in a divine dimension. But soma for us Westerners is also the body, the material part of the being that is closer to the earth and keeps us connected with the mother of all things. Thus “the dance of stones” is the metaphor of the chain of human beings, the dance of human beings travelling in the universe in search of what they have forgotten about themselves.
Esta tendencia acaba de cumplir su primera convocatoria en Bogotá, ‘Lugares Comunes’ (hasta el 8 de noviembre), adelantada por la Secretaría de Cultura y la Fundación Gilberto Alzate Avendaño. Un jurado de especialistas convocamos a creadores con ciertas cualidades que los conectase de modo íntimo con los hábitos, frustraciones e ideales de la inmensa y fraccionada Bogotá. Racimos de plátanos que colgaban de una ventana, en la avenida Jiménez con 4a., obra del mexicano Héctor Zamora, son insólitos. Pero tienen el gusto de traspasar un ambiente rural a otro urbano, dislocar la visión, pues la verdad es que este fruto madura en la misma ciudad que luego los ingiere. El italiano Giorgio Bevignani se vino a Bogotá siguiendo las huellas de Gaitán, al que en su adolescencia relacionaba erróneamente con Mussolini. Así nació su intervención con globos rosas en infinidad de matices en la fachada del Teatro Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, inspirado en un pasaje de la Divina Comedia, lluvia de piedras incandescentes, donde lo violento y lo lujurioso se entremezclan. La violencia y la esperanza de un mito fundador de la ciudad. El paisa Juan Peláez crea vallas sobre la avenida Caracas que, al titularlas ‘Nubes’, hace ver, más bien, la contaminación que las nutre en su recorrido amenazante. De la misma manera, otros artistas han instalado obras en Usaquén, Puente Aranda, Usme, Bosa, Los Mártires, la iglesia de San Francisco o sobre el lenguaje bogotano. Se consolida con esta iniciativa de instalación simultánea en Bogotá, si bien aún sin suficiente potencia, la tendencia del nuevo milenio, el paso de una cultura del arte a otra de carácter cultural o antropológico, en la que se destaca la importante función que cumplen hoy los artistas, uno de los grupos más activos y creativos en la vida urbana y más críticos frente a las distintas formas del poder.
Armando Da Silva
The project develops a logical fusion between location, sculptural installations and performing arts, redefining the exhibition space which becomes an artistic, poetic and theatrical platform.
Giorgio Bevignani’s artistic practice has always oscillated between painting and sculpture, creating – through an experimental approach to the use of colour and form joint to the re-elaboration of philosophical and scientific concepts filtered from history and the contemporary – works defined as “pictosculptural”
If the contemporary we are experiencing is destabilising, Giorgio Bevignani, through his artistic practice, investigates our “here and now”, rapid and changing as a spatiotemporal event included in the “all existing”. The very fast changes, the conditions of instability, the gradual loss of references, are as indices in an attempt to regain what remains of the eternal and they become suspended structures, preserved semantic fragments in deflagrated bodies, sculptural collage set-ups with modular elements according to an operative logic following a rythm of full and empty. The viewer, as in a sort of dance in an era of the disenchantment, is invited to inter-act with the call for clarification.
There are nine selected art works, the Grande muro blu, Muro rosso 1, Muro rosso 2, Le nove terre di Siena, the most recent Cirri, Pharma, Lampsaco, Perpiero and Lucandrea, made from 1989 to 2007.
At first glance the visual impact instils in the spectator feelings of charm and contemplation to appear soon after in all their semantic and aesthetic complexity and ambiguity, due to the discrepancy between the single element and the final composition. In Shapes sculptural installations, the appearances and the configuration of the “created objects” is in contrast with the meaning and with the content and the substance of which they are composed.
The walls series was made in connection to the fall of the Berlin Wall. If it is true that every time that a man loses his way, he goes back to copy from nature, Giorgio Bevignani, so receptive to epochal changes linked to the events of the 1989 turning point, simulates the stone, making the weft unfold again through the use of wax and a searing spatula.
Using the material connotation of Burri, the “theatral” action of Pollock and permeating them with significance through colour, Bevignani reproduces marble blocks as the constituent elements of sculptures, representing something which in reality they are not.
In the Grande muro blu, colour works as a visual concept and the blue, proposed in 42 nuances, represents freedom. Bevignani’s wall is a deflagrated barrier, almost transparent. The arc-composed structure, losing its stiffness and hardness, creates an internal fluid space interacting with the spectator and welcoming him into its centre.
Starting from the same setting, Muro rosso 1, Muro rosso 2 and Le nove Terre di Siena, get their true meaning through the endogenous analysis of final form of the installation, and through colour, where red stands for “truth”.
Created to be seen in the dark by ultraviolet light Cirri comes as a visionary apparition of “light severity”. The simplicity of the forms, the innocence of the composition and the grandiosity of the size evoke in the spectator contemplative abandonment. Composed of 144 modules of different sizes, forms and colours, the installation is based on Fibonacci’s numerical theory and set on the platform symbolic of the tilted square.
Cirri’s space is infinite, deflagrated in fragments, “stones suspended” that move and swing, are interwoven, rotate, and change colour. The physical space of the installation vanishes as container and becomes the interior space.
Cirri speaks in the silence, stripping the spectator’s soul, moving him inside, questioning him on the “truth” of human existence.
The sculptural installation Pharma, composed of 55 modules made in 55 variants of the colour marine green, is designed to be suspended at a great height. Developing itself on a vertical plane diagonally tilted, Pharma appears in the dark like water from a waterfall or, in the daylight, an avalanche of boulders in free fall. Based on the logic of aesthetic ambiguity, the modules represent both the stones of the river bed and the water itself. The strength is returned from the random forms of stones, made by the artist in a logic of “Deriddadiana” deconstruction where the new, the fact and the hand of sculptor are erased. Liquidity is represented by phosphorus which touches every single form as luminous water.
If the characteristic scene of the contemporary world is the escape of nature from the landscape, Giorgio Bevignani with Pharma reconsiders the binomial humanity-nature, putting it outside its usual structuring and evoking in the spectator the lost sense of the sublime. The suspension of Pharma in the exhibition location deconstruct the space, time becomes the perception of the intangible.
Having no beginning or end, Lampsaco is a fragment of a wave of light that continues ad infinitum, a spiral polymer sequence that twists on itself, suspended in space without any reference to gravity, a constant curve. Sculptural installation, composed of 21 modules in terracotta, follows a register of reiterative alignment in a logic of infinite space. A metaphor of the present, with Lampsaco Bevignani interprets nihilistic fulfilment connected to the “post”, representing the eternal “here and now”, characteristic of our time composed of fragments and multiple points of view.
Lucandrea is a playful and spectacular representation of the new material theories. It is an agglomeration of 34 modules, a magnified fragment of energetic nebulous composed of imploded particles around a wave. If the artist is as a hunter in the dark that shoots and sometimes hits his mark, Giorgio Bevignani through his artistic research tends to play the role of the pre-modern or post-modern scientist who thinks with the senses and feels with the mind through the synthesis of science, philosophy and art.
Suspended triad spatial/chromatic composed according to a fascinating balance of colour, form and space, Perpiero is composed of three large spherical modules.
The installation is formally inspired by the backs of the three characters in Giotto’s Lamentation in the Arena chapel in Padova and coloured in the orange, black and blue cobalt sequence like the three characters in the frescoed scene Identification of the true cross by Piero della Francesca in the church of San Francesco in Arezzo. The key to reading the installation Perpiero is the importance of the scene, the creation of a space alien to a defined time dimension and the idea of elements generating life.
Fachada Teatro Jorge Eliecer Gaitán
Su trabajo suele situarse sobre fachadas de edificios públicos, para proponer una transformación de sus referencias culturales. Le interesan particularmente los edificios que parecen señalar cambios en el rumbo histórico de una determinada ciudad y que por lo tanto pueden presagiar nuevos desarrollos. En Bogotá llamó su interés la relación entre eventos históricos determinantes en la vida de la ciudad y algunos edificios modernos. Con su señalamiento de un elemento urbano concreto, y sus historias relacionadas, intenta situarse dentro de la respuesta emocional y sensitiva de los transeúntes.
La percepción de sus obras es diferente entre el día y la noche, como resultado de un cambio de coloración, que ocurre por una respuesta de las piezas a las condiciones lumínicas de su entorno. Las dimensiones y el número de elementos instalados varían según las dimensiones de la fachada que es intervenida, y su morfología hace alusión a las formas de distintos tipos y tamaños de rocas.
Stick out like a sore thumb
Giorgio Bevignani’s poetics has always been based on an inedited revision of scientific and philosophical concepts filtered through history and the contemporary. His art investigates our “here and now”, swift and mutable, treating it as a temporal-spacial event enclosed in “all existence”. The swift mutability, the unstable conditions, the progressive loss of reference, become suspended structures. They are semantic fragments wholly preserved in deflagrated bodies, sculptural collages formed from the rythmic alternation of modular and minimal elements composed according to a transparent logic made of solids and voids. Here, the spectator, as in a form of dance in a disenchanted era, is invited to intereact with the call for clarification.
In line with the new expositive typology , performative and celebrative, from which the artistic message comes through the creation of a “semiological landscape” realized by the union of various disciplines, Giorgio Bevignani’s STICK OUT LIKE A SORE THUMB  distinguishes itself as an “integrated installation”, unifying sculpture and video art.
In STICK OUT LIKE A SORE THUMB, the inedited sculptural video installation in Bologna, Via San Felice 3, 155 suspended modular elements emerge from darkness, arranged on a diagonal inclination and reiterated to infinity through the play of mirrors. A video, projecting images in a loop on the installation, represents a sort of contemporary “world soul”, deflagrating on each element. This is accompanied by a soundtrack created by the musicologist Piero Santi.
The effect is excessive, kaleidoscopic and disorientating.
Through this technique of the three dimensional fragmentation of images, repetitively reduced and expanding in space, Giorgio Bevignani brings the vision onto a new perceptual plain. The aesthetic experience involves the psyche of the viewer who, through the play of projection, finds himself “dressed” in another self and open to a new experience from that of the everyday worldly input. Fragmentation, a dominating contemporary issue, is the “leitmotiv” of STICK OUT LIKE A SORE THUMB.
The reiterated fragmentation of the sculptural installation and of the projected images, metaphorically represents the fragmentation of the contemporary world and of individual identity. Impoverished by a lack of values, our present sense of identity, fleeting and elusive, seems to be composed of many readily modifiable elements like the pieces of a “rubik’s cube”.
If our society is slipping out of control and our contemporary lives appear as illusionist tricks, in STICK OUT LIKE A SORE THUMB the ‘I’ of the spectator leaves the scene and, enveloped in the shades of other possible selves, lives, and identities, it exorcises its own mental projection of itself through its deflagration. As the true nature of the installation is its global perception through the assemblage of many elements, Bevignani’s deflagration remains a positive activity, apt at subsequently reforming a unity which has feeling, life, individual, exciting and exceptionally beautiful.
 For example Pierre Huyghe’s Celebration Park or the events of United Visual Artists  Stick out like a sore thumb: an anglosaxon idiom which means “being easily recognizable as different’, here interpreted as the exception in which diversity refers to something individual, exciting and exceptionally beautiful.
Nella Galleria Diners di Bogotà si trova la mostra artistica di Giorgio Bevignani. Per lui la sua opera è il risultato di un processo, dove l’eredità genetica si esprime tramite il subconscio e lo porta alla ragione. E’ un viaggiare da sempre e verso l’infinito; della materia all’energia, cercando l’armonia, il silenzio e la calma della natura.
Non è straneo che un italiano si esprima così, Italia conserva congelata la storia,custodendo,con sigillo i suoi segreti e permettendo che i suoi abitanti li progettino con i loro sguardi , nuovi, del uomo attuale.
L’opera di Giorgio esprime la capacità di sorprendersi davanti a piccoli dettagli della pietra, dove l’energia, si comprime, come un urlo nel silenzio. Dettagli che limita geometricamente l’occhio scultore dell’artista. Dettagli che si convertono in aria, acqua, movimento e forza, dove la natura fluisce liberamente, alla ricerca della calma.
La ragione esige il materiale adatto per esprimere quello sentito, ed è cosi come Giorgio scegli la cera; materiale che fluisce con il caldo e permette modellarsi dal subconscio, limitarsi e solidificarsi, dalla ragione. L’oleo e il colore fluiscono sopra carta, ottenendo la sensazione della libertà e dell’infinita continuità del cosmo.
Soltanto un uomo la cui sensibilità e analisi trascende il quotidiano, può esprimere la natura attraverso una sintesi che la divinizza. S’impara, con rispetto, il miracoloso processo di questa, al fermarsi di fronte all’opera di Giorgio Bevignani.