MASSIMO GALIOTTA – 2019
The art taken in its traditional expression is recovering,in this last decade, its own primitive purpose, the fundamental ability to communicate with everyone. It’s as if we were experiencing a new renaissance together with a modern form of latent obscurantism masked by the incessant technological progress that we experience every day, but which is to the detriment of the true culture, education and effective intellectual evolution of contemporary society . Art, painting and poetry in the first place, is compensating for the socio-cultural gap generated by taking up themes that had become obsolete, but that have always told and told everyone’s life. The causes are to be found in past events, in the evolutionary process that the arts had especially during the twentieth century. From the historical point of view it is precisely in the last century, thanks also to the advent of the camera, that a gradual and inexorable work of deconstruction of the artistic matter was observed, the so-called “research”, of a new identity, marketable I suppose, and therefore of a new form of its own which, by means of decompositions and reinterpretations, in a babel of currents and movements, with a terminology that moved between conceptual and abstract, has modified Art by completely changing its vocabulary and making it almost “ungrammatical”. Expressionism, Futurism, Abstract Art, Metaphysics, Dadaism, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Action Painting, Color Filed, European Informal, Minimalism, Anti-Form, Poor Art, Primitivism, Pop Art, Conceptual and Poetypination are just some of the movements (for some scholars of art, the figure is roughly around 180 in the nineteenth century alone) which contributed to the gradual reformulation of artistic thought. Some have been objectively unique experiences, sometimes exceptional (especially for certain individual paths not classifiable with any historical current), many other mere moments of personal and questionable vision of an art that has nothing poetic and complete.
This attitude assumed by the ablatment, both with regard to figurative art and the independence of judgment on what is truly beautiful, raises an aura of mistrust towards an elusive phenomenon of contemporary society called “aesthetic populism”. In a condition of perennial cultural instability, wrapped in this demagogic framework of accepted aesthetic canons, I see in the artistic figure of Biagio Magliani that still able to embody the lost idea of Art, which we have lost, or rather, that over the years it has been slowly taken away from us, but today, thanks to some sensitive artists, we are slowly recovering. His canon of beauty is harmonious, takes up the world of figurative, adapting it to contemporary art, giving new life to the elements. Magliani’s works are a concentrate of Renaissance Mannerism, of Kantian Metaphysics and Color filed by Mark Rothko; influences that make his works unique and that take, in a logical and chronological order, the principles of form and perspective, noumenon and phenomenon, space and color. These concepts applied to his paintings make the observer participate in the creative process of the work of art; the individual who looks at a painting feels part of the narrative itself, in that ethereal space that evokes the dream. It is in these areas that the present iconographic study moves, we are trying to understand how phenomenal and “a priori” knowledge still today compete in redefining the concept of a work of art; of how silence is told by the artist and makes the painting alive, communicative, and never silent.
In “Criticism of Pure Reason Vol. II” Immanuel Kant introduces the concept of noumenon, also calling it Ding an sich (which in German its mother tongue means “thing in itself”), but in Kantian philosophy noumenon is a complex mental representation, with spiny features, which alludes to something unknowable and indescribable that in a certain way is placed at the end of observable manifestations, almost in the background, beyond the apparent reality, that is, of how we seem to see objects (ie how reality is perceived by our five senses). This concept had already been taken up in the II-III century AD according to the Greek thinker, Anassagora, first would have contrasted (noumena = νοούμενα) what is thought of with what appears, namely the phenomenon that Kant defines as “the indeterminate object of an empirical intuition” (fenomenos = φαινομένοις). Furthermore, for I. Kant the “mechanism of conditioning is indirect and occurs through an a priori determination that the intellect gives to the forms of intuition […] the transcendental form that receives the schemes is the space, as “realized space” or “hypothesized” also called ether “. Given these philosophical principles,we can said that the Metaphysics of the elements is dominant in the works of Biagio Magliani, the space around the subject is the object itself to be represented. What appears is not always what it really is. The space does not have a complete use that serves as a completion of the canvas, the space is the true work, wanted, thought by the artist but often troubled, profound, a place to get lost and find oneself, a pretext that becomes a mother work. Space and time, in his works become space-time, the fourth dimension in which “noumena” and “phenomenon” coexist in a region of the psyche that humanizes thought, making it concrete, thanks to the experiential use of simple but primordial elements, as can be precisely considered the symbolic representations of Food and Landscape. These elements are real and mental at the same time, they are memories of a distant existence, in which we were not yet the evolved beings that we are today, ancestral memories, signs of a past that is now remote, archaic, but still alive and active in us and in our dreams.
To sum up living in this space is an experience that man can only meet in the Rem phase, in which the body is tied to the ground but the soul begins to hover freely in the dream and, looking beyond this dimension, he can see what is unknowable and indescribable, a space that is placed “at fund ”of the phenomena that can be observed. Against the background of a painting, beyond the appearance that is in a vase of cyclamens, in a basket of bread and in a still life of figs or lemons; this is where this fourth dimension, of clear metaphysical origin, is placed. Experiential phenomena, forms notes that in the artistic exploration of Biagio Magliani become a pretext for telling the unknown in a sort of “spatial Realism [ed]” that the artist makes his own without forcing, without resorting to subterfuges and set realities to fill the space left by the elements , that is the empty space that the greedy mind of images could not rationally conceive. Essence of matter, this is the work of B. Magliani, tangible and ephemeral, the object (pattern) and the space (the transcendental form that receives the patterns), Food for the body and for the spirit, a Landscape that has origin in his soul.
“And so precisely Plato abandoned the sensible world, because it places too narrow limits on the intellect, and he threw himself on the wings of ideas beyond it, into the empty space of the pure intellect” In art it often happens that the depth, of this metaphysical space to which Kant refers in his Criticism, is given by the specific chromatisms of color contrasts and in this case by the cold-warm one which is particularly suitable to confer an essential effect of “illusionism plastic”. When this illusory-plastic capacity, in a work of art, is able to make people experience new and closely correlated sensations to the “transcendental aesthetic” only then can one speak, with full knowledge of the facts, of a cosmic perspective capable of evoking that “space beyond the celestial spheres” the so-called “hyperuranium” in which just Plato placed, in his Phaedrus, the seat of absolute realities, and in which Biagio Magliani places his subjects. In this cold space the experiential element (the result of sensory perception and therefore of a posthumous reflection), represented by a basket of bread, a group of lemons or figs warmed by the Mediterranean sun, has the function of determining the finite dimension, but only on the canvas, of an infinite and indefinable space as such. This space which belongs to the so-called “a priori” knowledge, is the true center of interest of the work Art. It is a space that catalyzes the “speculative” attention towards the philosophical investigation; it is only later that the critical analysis shifts to the portrait object, which is indeed an “experiential” product but that due to the way in which it is dealt with by Magliani, it can also be included among those existing forms only in the unfathomable regions of “pure reason”. In this way we enter into an artistic proportion in which the object is to the “phenomenon” as the space is to the “Noumeno”, and in which the abstract space found in the area surrounding the object is at the same time the main subject and unknown whose value is to be found essentially in the meanders of the Kantian Metaphysics. The sensory experience optical that derives from the observation of Magliani’s works makes the viewer and the scholar attentive, immediately reactive to the spiritual perception of the message that the work of art brings in and with itself. This attitude of treating it space with a sensitive interpretation is observable in all his works, be they of landscape or of flowers, still lifes with fruit or with terracotta, olive trees or animals, they all seem to come from a world close to us, interior or perhaps even parallel. We can therefore affirm that not only the particular use of the color palette makes the works of Magliani recognizable, but also this “own way” of telling the indescribable is to be considered in the computation of the elements that constitute, as has already been written, that “hidden but never hidden signature of an unmistakable artist”.
This is how Biagio Magliani moves, between styles and very personal interpretations of the unknown universe, frees art, that which speaks of human nature, from the confines of traditional composition, makes enormous turns between empirical and historical knowledge, delicately touches just touching it hyperrealism, and then turning free diving into the inspiration that comes from Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt van Rijn, Michelangelo Merisi from Caravaggio, Jacopo Carrucci (known as Pontormo) and Giovanni Bellini; but be careful to accuse him or to point the finger at, this attitude of looking far is not an artistic “debt” to be ascribed to the leveranese painter, because every artist who later became “Grande” tried to put himself to the test by confronting himself, with aestheticized gestures and historicized individualisms, with the greatest exponents of the history of the art of forever. But that’s not all, he also looks carefully at the formal experience of Mark Rothko, but then continues, goes further, in his constant and incessant search for depth in a limited space that wants to be infinite; this specific attitude can be seen not only in the empty space surrounding the object, as in still life with ripe figs, but also in the holes (holes) of the crumb of a broken loaf, placed in a basket of bread, or in the branches of a pomegranate filled with fruits or a cherry tree in bloom, which will perhaps be Vangogh-inspired, but which allows endless journeys of pink arabesques with an exquisite nineteenth-century flavor, Rembrandt van Rijn, Self-portrait 1661/65 ca. that both remember the ability of hand that the Salentine master Giuseppe Casciaro had. The act can therefore be considered complete, the painter has fulfilled his principal obligation towards the Art. Because the task of art, and therefore of artistic thought represented in a given historical moment, is to “Evoke” and “Simulate”: to evoke sensations, emotions and states of mind, through the personal and individual representation of the artist, who is able to Simulate in his works poetic realities (therefore close and assimilable to poetry), visions of the unconscious that establish a link, understood as a perpetual connection, between artist, work of art and user of the portrayed image, then of a shared symbolic thought and accepted as a tangible truth; and in this order of magnitudes, it is no longer just the pictorial technique that counts but what the imago is capable of reproduce, or how much the reality simulated by the artist is able to evoke in the spectator.
LUDOVICO MAGGIORE – 2013
Interpreter of a daily world, investigated with bashful fervor, Biagio Magliani introduces a secret vein of silent poetry even in the most banal and modest aspects of reality. Attention to things, supported by a precise and vibrant brushstroke of light and by a masterly management of the composition, always presents, in Magliani’s work, the value of a hidden meditation on the elusiveness of reality, an enigmatic violence that redeems and transcends the pure objectivity of data. Combined with the impeccable rigor of the most gratuitous randomness, isolated in a soft and rarefied space, wrapped in the remote magic of silence, food and furnishings thus take on an almost “metaphysical” configuration, absorbed and suspended evidence that invades like a mystical illumination the observer’s sensitivity. This note of intimate, thoughtful and sentimental adhesion gives Magliani a leading role in the contemporary artistic team.
RAFFAELE POLO – 2007
Born in Leverano, Biagio Magliani is a poet of his own land. It can be easily understood from the themes of his works, constantly aimed at highlighting and appreciating a particular “salentinity” that goes beyond simply contemplating olive trees and prickly pears. His is poetry of homemade bread, of the days spent in the countryside, of the smell of the must that turns into wine. It is the poetry of small things, the important ones that have remained inside us and remind us that, despite everything, our world is not expressed only by the Internet and mobile phones. But he still has time to dwell on the smells, flavors and colors that our Salento has offered, unchanged, for years. Outright figurative, sensitive and capable interpreter of the Nature that surrounds us, Magliani does not hide a pinch of sincere and appreciable hedonism, the taste of surprising and amaze, with the intelligent simplicity of his scenographic choices. Which are not those of Sciltian, to be clear: but they have, if possible, an evident composition rich in humus and flavor, which highlights the liveliness and the original workmanship of still lifes and landscapes always rich in meaning and color. More than the search for perfection in reproduction, it is important for the artist from Leverano to be able to communicate a benevolent and reassuring feeling. A real implicit sharing is established between the author and the viewer. There is no shadow of negativity in this wonderful Imaginary. And we are called to taste, once again, the simple bread and fruit of our fields. Simple, tasty witnesses of a world that perhaps no longer exists, but that revives, as if by magic, thanks to the brush of this good painter, of this great poet.
EGIDIO DE LUCA – 2007
Biagio Magliani takes his philosophy from rigor. He paints with a respectful sparing of places and things, and with a basic, clear creativity, that crossing space and time limits, goes each time into suspended suggestions, accumulations of emotions and memories, to create in the end an imaginary world, close and at the same time away from the reality, faithful but invented, a space where the metaphysical expansion of the time collects and reassembles.
STEFANO SERRA – 2005
Biagio Magliani is an intimist, a conscious romantic. His story usually plays on a single essential figural element and exalts it in a poignant melancholy, where the details are described in minute detail. Magliani proves to be the heir of the second Italian nineteenth century, his research as a contemporary artist, however, eliminates any rhetorical element, bringing to light only the supporting ring of the story. This is for example the case of “bread” and “olive”. He is the master of the palette, as the sense of color is part of his soul. Magliani manages to play with tones and controtones, the chromatic agreements live in balance, the ultramarine blue with an intense red, a violet with a reddish Naples yellow. It is a warm and sensual painting. The reduction to the essential, the relationship between light, space, shape and color, allows Magliani to create an even neo-metaphysical atmosphere.
AUGUSTO CAVALIERA – 2005
Class, technique, elegance and eloquence of the pictorial gesture, three-dimensionality of the spirit and the wind shaking the boughs of the soul, attributes and meanings that you can carve with your eyes flicking the works of Biagio Magliani. A great artist who hides a rare and valuable humanity of relationship with the world.
MARIA ANTONIETTA MIGLIETTA – 1996
Figures with decisive outlines erupt from the canvas, impose themselves on the observer’s attentive gaze with refined vitality and mocking irony canceling the break between reality and imagination, between affirmation and negation, with the intent to reveal and resolve the painter’s evil of life modern, gripped by the awareness of the crisis and the nullification of traditional artistic values which are replaced, without interruption, by very exciting but still indicative experimentalisms of the solitude of which art has been confined by the conflict with contemporary social structures. Biagio Magliani in his paintings attributes to art a liberating function which is, at the same time, a manifestation of human creativity and contradiction, a synthesis of instinct and restless tragic conscience but, above all, a magical revelation of a nomadic spiritual dimension in continuous transmigration between the various spheres of expression in perennial, dazzling cathartic process that highlights the complexity and absurdity of its shining and naive beauty. A frantic search for an illusory perfection of the academic approach and at the same time the negation of it, through recurrent tears in the canvases, which, although they seem real, are masterfully and effectively painted, indicate the implacable paradox between the coexistence of the explicit will affirmation and unconscious desire for radical change and destruction. Through the analysis of a wide range of paintings by Magliani the most obvious conclusion reached is the acquisition of a disintegrating awareness in which the absurd takes on meanings not only of metaphysical flavor taking on the aspect of anguish, of fiction, non-existence, but also of inconsistency of our condition in which the stretch is the only refuge.
SEN. GIOVANNI SPADOLINI – 1991
The living substance of a nature loved with intense sentiment is the core of this painting. Dense with an aggression albeit contained, far from unrealistic dreams or other magniloquences, which it could give rise to, it takes place with a remarkable balance of inner maturity. Biagio Magliani lives his art with the simplicity of a recognized vocation, drawing his forces and passions from an extraordinary vitality, fixing his world of emotions and love in his works. The dear world of the Salento land, generous and faithful, always waiting, on its past of glory, towards a future of hope
GIOVANNA PELLEGRINO – 1990
Themes of his works and expressive ways are those that represent the conservative and stable element of painting: flowers, figures, still lifes that impose themselves on the observer’s attention for the ownership of the means and the mastery of the anatomical model. The execution of the different compositions is always very accurate; Magliani extends the color in small touches, defines images and colors down to the last detail with an analytical rendering of the natural data that refers to the realism of the classic tradition. The color, enhanced by the contrast of bright tones and delicate ranges up to transparency, is at the same time sign and line, volume and light. We wish this young painter a happy continuation of his activity on the path of research and discovery