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Raphael is more “disturbing” than Bosch

· Omar Galliani and a tribute to Benedict XVI ·

At the exhibition of works of sixty artists to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Pope’s ordination to the priesthood, inaugurated last Monday in the Sala Nervi at the Vatican, Omar Galliani brought an immense eye of an angel. “Presenting my work,” he explained to the Osservatore Romano , “I told Benedict XVI that I will exhibit nine more in April in Rome at the Bilotti Museum. The Pope told me that he wanted to see the others.” In the most recent works of Galliani, who was “catalogued” in the 80’s as an exponent of the post-modern movements Anacronisti and Magico Primario , microcosm and macrocosm blend, infinity and detail dialogue and illuminate each other: an assortment of sweet faces of women are crossed with shapes of roots, leaves, and anatomic details which are deliberately out of context, chromatic counterpoints that stimulate with depth and drama the Apollonian beauty of a design like “ shivers of unease .” “I often think,” continued Galliani, “of a pencil drawing of a great rose garden which seen from above makes the roses seem like constellations.” His is a totally contemporary sensitivity but one capable of dialoging with the past. In 2005, at the State Archives of Torino, one of his drawings (5 x 6.3 meters), graphite on poplar, was placed alongside the face of an angel of Leonardo, a preparatory sketch for the Virgin of the Rocks, exhibited at the Biblioteca Reale . “In certain cases, the risk and the result is to create a old joke instead of a new work,” he says. Galliani is not soft on the stalled state of much contemporary art, “Familiarity with the work of Duchamp is important as part of the vertical-historical journey of contemporary art, but after Duchamp I think it is useless to force oneself to imitate a style of provocation which in his time made sense but today, in light of the Web and on-line communication and all that we are able to read in real time between true/false news, virtual games and real provocation, I think the work of many artists is behind the times. The public today is distant from contemporary art because it has lost the element of dialogue and confrontation and has dug itself increasingly into a golden ghetto for an elite few. Art today does not speak to the public expecting only to be heard or looked at. It is a form of narcissistic complacency which does not lead anywhere.”

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St. Peter’s Square

Dec. 11, 2019

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