The realistic and symbolic sculpture of Leonardo Lustig
Aware of analysing, from a historical and critical point of you the sculptural work of Leonardo Lustig – one of the few contemporary artists who reacted to the confusion with which nowadays some artists try to express themselves, at a time when Giulio Carlo Argan cited our age as the end of the artistic experience – the art critic Germano Beringheli recently wrote the text hereinafter reported.
‘Although inclined to the observation of the continuous and sensitive expansion of reality and, thus, careful to the progressive formal changes of sculpture – Leonardo Lustig through a language alien to codes and conventions grown with post-modernity – has never abandoned the quintessence of aesthetic creativity.
Consequently – mindful and able to seize beauty, the approach that Lustig asks the observer of his works – in order to better understand their meaning of his work, is to use the intellect more than mere sensitivity and to perceive, through the depths of the eye, more with the thought than the emotion, the vitality of sensations and feelings expressed by the iconographic representation. Therefore, the still young Ligurian sculptor – the only one, probably of his generation – who has meditated upon classical themes as well as the ancestors’ manners – has found,
in the European taste of classicism, the twentieth-century reasons of Libero Andreotti, suggested by the fifteenth-century Tuscan lesson, and those of the dramatic expressionism of the more modern Etruscan Marino Marini.
It’s not by chance that the realisation in bronze of his recent Pescatore ( Fisherboy )
is not only characterized by the relations between work of art, space and nature, that is to say the specific place of arrangement – but also by the different ways to face reality and by the lesson of the new realism both allegorical and uncommonly realistic of François August Rodin. The sculpture which takes shape from the real – without renouncing the force and vitality of an ideal model in full relief – has the cathartic ‘poiesis’ with which the matter (bronze) conveys the stylization of the object (or of the body) to Lustig’s skilled and sensitive hand.
As a matter of fact the artist (in this case the sculptor I am writing about) who started his activity, his own excursus, moving from the Greeks, has not forgotten any successive and progressive passage of realism and, once finished his studies at the Academy of Carrara, he started – through an enormous and constant work a search of the real, nearer to the visual datum and open, in the meantime, to the psycological and also of ‘character’ qualities typical of the selected models.
The sculptor aims to reach – through an extremely important task – concrete, objective data together with subjective ones giving rise to the visual sensation and to the entire consideration of the real, without disregarding or betraying the symbolic meaning of art and of its original sensitivity of luminism.’
Beringheli’s observations leave out here, on purpose, the cultural knowledge necessary to thoroughly understand the formal data ‘of making sculpture’ and, thus, he confines himself to inform the public that the plastic art of Lustig obeys the need to ensure the observer that the quality of the work of art corresponds, in a personal and original way, to his sensitive perceptions. As a matter of fact, if in Lustig’s works the precise plasticity of the Greeks is taken up, in their naturalistic rigour, for the Pescatore (Fisherboy) it is beauty in itself which stands out as art, the beauty of an object or of a body remade in the image and likeness and whose destiny is the future realistic placing amid the waves.
What’s more, it is in such a way above the absurd proposals of present-day sculpture, that by living a significant different life, while signifying another, he shows and will show the spirit of nature and of all those who would like to perpetuate its image.