Art work only looks still. In truth, it is born from change and prepares for a new change. Art is the product of those who belong to the world of the visionaries, who leak, as Henri Focillon said, what is more daring and free of the creative genius, the effects of a particular vision that profoundly alters the light, the proportions and even the density of the tangible world. Such effects would be uncomfortable within the limits of time and space. What they do is more an interpretation than it is imitation, and more of a transfiguration than of an interpretation. And this is when the faces of the new theatre of Antonio Murgia seem to obey this philosophy.
Faces reminiscent of a reportage of the reality that surrounds us, people and characters, faces with stern look, sometimes veiled by a cold sensuality, of ordinary women celebrated by his painting as if they were an emblem, disguised icons, but what is their soul? Marylin returns as well, the icon and muse of cinema, celebrated by the Pop Art, the movement to which all the experience of Murgia comes from. In his work, women are symbols, friends, companions and maybe even enemies? It is natural to come upon this question. "Yes, to all of this, but no veil of hostility or preconceptions, the canvas is like a mirror that shows those colours, those faces, those strange strokes, the ingredients of my work are elements that serve those who look to find out more about themselves."
The faces of the last cycle of an artist who named this project the Oros Project, a word composed with the prefix of order and the suffix of chaos. The order of the universe originates from chaos, "our existence develops among chaos and order, but in my work, chaos is in the eye of the beholder, my work does not generate psychological chaos, it shows a chromatic exasperation and the colours are aggressive in the way in which they are laid on the canvas, but it is the observer himself who wears my colour, who identifies himself or distances himself from what he sees, and someone lives all of this as a provocation". These are his words and Antonio appears to us as a kind of demiurge of art who reveals himself, a little, through art and words.
There is always a halo of inscrutability in a work of art, just as in the very heart of the phenomena, a famous thought suggests us, a zone in the shadows, an unreachable margin, impossible to penetrate. No investigation or thematic research can fully explain what is inexplicable in a work of art: its origin, its deep content, its essence.
The dialogue with the art of Antonio Murgia continues in front of a newer Marylin, the image of a face with scratched and exaggerated chromatic choices, the face of a woman with deep green eyes and a far off gaze reminiscent of glass, the overlapping strokes, Pollock-like blurs in green, pink, yellow, a red iris, and another one with shades of jade. Elsewhere, green eyes, as if of clear crystal, turn to stare at us. Colour checkers on faces lulled by youth surprise us, lips ajar, always of vermilion colour, all so rarely grazed by a cold colour, they capture us. A Gioconda imbued with colours, which makes her gaze all the more intriguing, on the side, "the true silence", words written in black as a title that feeds the enigma: These are the faces of the eternal femininity, they are women, but they could also be men, there is some ambiguity in the flurry of colours, and even though they are women of all times, there is no contemporary woman and there is no past woman, the woman is thought and character that transcends time".
It would be too easy to define Antonio Murgia as a representative of Pop Art, though it is true that this movement inspired his language, and it is true that throughout his experience he has never lacked a bond with the icons of the star system of cinema, cartoon characters, advertising, and fashion, the famous examples of art history. Fantastic characters that have both the characteristics of everyday life and those of dreams, of the (im)possible in a dichotomy between reality and fantasy, between good and evil, true and false, restlessness powered by intelligent irony. A satirical world that analyses the most different situations,
images out of context, placed in a new context: Murgia, ironical to start with, followed by PretaPorter, a figuration that uses iconographies of the Disney world in an expressive caricature that overlooks the glossy world of fashion, of models, of seduction.
Then again with Comics GM, a glance between irony and denunciation at the GMO production, the cycle that was the springboard that led to the latest Murgia, as the artist changes himself, by adding and modifying the accessories of his clothes, to interpret an extraordinary comedy of visual art. But there is something new today, compared to Pop Art, in his way of making art: a great vital energy, chromatics with a hint of aggressiveness, of anger perhaps, and it is exactly when colour is missing that we can feel the strongest interior gaze as the art of Antonio seems to deal with the awareness of a lived experience. Now, colour suddenly disappears and a face appears in black and white, shades of grey surmounted by rare patches of orange, now painted as nerve trails seemingly left by the hand of a miner, elsewhere this gesture becomes softer and words appear on the canvas as a verbal story that becomes the title of this piece of work: "our thoughts depend on the conditions of our body". Green leaks seem like screams of silence, as they graze the grey of a face resting on a red field, the image becomes more mysterious when scratches of white and blue mingle with black and it is as if we are in front of a mummy that gives us back the original beauty of a face.
The colours of the surface, the firm brush strokes, all seem to conceal the anxiety of a present that swallows us, and they all look almost like a challenge when compared to the original white of the canvas, not a provocation, as Murgia himself will say. A work that commits to explore new territories and something reminiscent of strength and will exudes from the faces slain by colour as a metaphor of the times we live in. As an answer or a question? A light turns on to illuminate the path "until an otherworldly flash destroys the immense waste we live in", giving voice to our spirit, in a day as any another. A world without art? It would be possible, but it never existed, independently from commercial value, art is, art exists. It would be like cutting the wings of a bird, without destroying his instinct and his desire to fly.
Entering the world of Antonio Murgia, enjoying his work, when "being a work of art means exposing a world. But what is a world? Not a mere collection of all numberless and countless things, according to Martin Heidegger, both known and unknown, and not even a representation added to things that are simply present." Where the essential decisions of our history are taken, collected or forgotten by us, disregarded and again sought, there is where the world comes to be. Then, the expression of Murgia becomes art that encloses a world, it incorporates a thought that governs its creation, and it is the essence of that world that will reach us, that world that we can make our own through readings and interpretations. And, using the words of the philosopher once more, "the world becomes a world and exists more than the graspable and perceptible world which we confidently live in, it is the constantly non-objective which we are subdued to.
Art is living existence to the top, Antonio tells us, art is a mystery, the inner world is a mystery, knowing all we know nothing, the poet suggests us. Life is a mystery, death is a mystery, but it is a great mystery, it is a marvel.
Once created, art walks alone, art is like life, we can revolutionize it, stop it, but we cannot make it our own completely.
As a child, at some point I decided that I wanted to become a painter when I grew up. I also decided that I wanted a wife and two children. I became a painter, that I did.
Antonio is someone who bites into life with joy, who believes in art, and believes in the incredible. And art and life go together.
by Cecilia Casadei