Creativity and beauty
When I am asked to share my thoughts on the demanding work of sculptors I always think of how many extraordinary sensations they feel while carving wood, marble, in moulding clay and other materials. I can imagine what the emotion must be in seeing the work gradually grow between enthusiasm and eagerness while it is getting complete in the desired forms by dint of the ‘power of carving’ according to the purposes of Michelangelo and Vasari.
Leonardo Lustig has made me repeatedly able to share such a lasting sensation of wonder and also on this occasion the very first magic moment felt in front of the gorgeous sculptures in the garden next to the study of Villa Bozano Gandolfi has not blurred. They quietly live the dynamic time of modernity, accepted by Lustig without any effort, even in the act of enhancing the excellent classical tradition. ‘Modernity as an obligation does not leave any breath and closes many ways’, Arturo Martini wisely warned.
However, it is clear that Lustig is the holder of an excellent manual ability, of a brilliant clear sculptural identity that has a preference for the natural
aspect of the forms caressed by a light but palpable archaism. All that belongs to the gorgeous bronze Pescatore (fisherboy), born to add wonder to the splendid Bay of Silence in Sestri Levante.
The model sculpture, the result of a truly wonderful project, immediately reveals vigor and lightness, structural strength and compositional rigour, so as to open the mind to the complexity of the executive process and to the immense scenery of beauty, so extensively mythicized in the athletic figures of the Greek statues, representing well-known personalities of the classical age.
To this purpose, it is well known how the body was aimed to highlight
the virtues of the person and, particularly, his moral perfection.
As to the elaboration of the work, I always recall, with pleasure, some brilliant considerations of the skilled sculptor Fabrizio Mismas from La Spezia. The artist states that ‘as years go by, nothing has changed in the unfanthomable, irrational creative act. The initial purposes are soon betrayed: it is the matter that commands. It is its job to suggest, to impose changes. It disguises itself as a golden vein: at first it hides itself, then, mischievously, it makes itself desired and slowly discovered. In the end, when it reveals itself, it compromises you and forces you to follow its way and you find yourself where you did not want to be and where it had decided you to be. And it is the matter that is mostly right because the fact that one has let oneself governed, has produced a winged object while the original idea had its feet firmely set on the ground. And you understand that beyond the programmatic castles, the manifestos, the complex lucubrations rich in contents, sculpture is nothing but speaking of sculpture using plastic words as personal as possible, which are nothing but taking a picture through the keyhole of the endless intimacies hidden by ‘lady’ sculpture’.
I believe that also the genesis of the Pescatore (fisherboy) availed itself of an inner and silent dialogue, which in Mario De Michel’s words represents ‘a necessary element of the plastic process’ between the sculptor and the matter moulded in order to attain the nudity of a perfect figure, as concrete as, owing to the unquestionable charm which it releases, close to a divine dimension. It is a nudity deliberately devoid of Eros, which recalls virility, but not heroism, which attracts without necessarily wishing to seduce and just like in other admirable sculptures full of physical strength, Lustig exalts in it his recognizable style. In this way he describes, without any descriptive banalities, multi-emotional cross-sections. The Pescatore (fisherboy) exemplary in his form, induces the observer to catch in his nudity, displayed without any false decency, an extraordinary naturalness way which characterizes his laborious engagement in everyday work. The act of drawing in the nets is, in fact, not at all hurried, even though it is possible that several thoughts were in the young fisherman’s mind, while attending his job with perceptible serenity. This is a usual gesture that imposes neither rush nor worry. Therefore, his steady look is towards the net, almost as an addition to his very smooth body with a non-exasperated set of muscles, with a serious beardless face and curly, thick hair on his head. The interpretation of the fisherman offered by Lustig in fixing in a likely way a real situation, purposely enriched with psychological contributions rules the freedom
of expression of the sculptor, willing to recall classic solutions which always have a lot to suggest in a time of modernity.
Like other eminent artists, Lustig is able to make the matter alive, as a synthesis of truth and beauty, which is also spiritual. Moreover, he manages to make it quiver, to sublimate it, by scanning lights and shadows, getting rid of rigidity and harshness with the result of disclosing excellent technical refinements which are fruit of a patient work taken up with renewed passion which does not know any gap and which has encouraged an idea of an essentially homogeneous authentic sculpture.
From the place where the Pescatore is set it will draw visitors’ attentions, interested looks and inexpected stories. It will be able to propose itself as an excellent sign of urban fittings adding value to the territory, as an artistic evidence expressing aesthetic values and living experiences typical of the work of man. Futhermore, it will also announce a true love message for nature and for the sea which will pleasantly welcome it among its waves.
Valerio P. Cremolini