WRITING AT NIGHT
My story with Giulio Paolini dates back to 1976; it is a story in seven acts, some corollaries, many external adventures (Rocca di Angera, Triennale, etc) and then letters, books, trips, museum exhibitions.
We have lost count, but our relationship is all the stronger.
If I do not dare call it friendship it is only out of respect for the artist's right to privacy. And yet I would dare call it friendship, with the kind permission of a great man for whom the simplicity of a relationship is the acme of any connection.
Paolini's greatest works and writings have been through our gallery and have made a mark.
Many signs superimposed on the walls which, should we put them together as we do with the pictures in a puzzle, would certainly give life to our portraits, as Borges used to say.
One day, Giulio (I'll use his first name) gives me his work “Circo Massimo” as a gift both to the gallery that bears my name (initially dubbed BANCO), and to myself: the theatre of life, of a life populated by images that are now fading away, indistinct. (This is actually a quotation from "If on a Winter's Night...").
Italo was an important milestone in Giulio's life, just as he was in mine, relatively speaking: a close friend for G., a great writer for M.
However, as there's no two without three, Luciano Pistoi with his very first exhibitions of Giulio's works, takes his rightful place to complete the Holy Trinity of Italian Art, able to deal on an equal footing with modern and ancient, European and American art.
The importance of G.P.'s work lies in his capacity to totally remove any trace of sentimentality while still preserving the sentiment. A cool and poetic work (I daresay cool and, therefore, poetic), determined by the sense that should be at the base of any sensibility. His work recaps, resurrects and recalls the past bringing it back to life, essentially, mentally, accurately citing the ancients...
Citatis citandis, I gathered the courage to ask my friend for one more exhibition: our seventh (closing with the number seven would be extraordinary, at least for those who believe in the magic of numbers). Without reverence, but with respect and admiration, we are aware of the importance of this continuum, which is also the hallmark of our country: a land where the miracle of art thrives again with every spring and, once the Seven of Coins has been drawn, it seems to say:
“ITALIANS DO IT BETTER”.
— Massimo Minin
When he accepted Massimo Minini's invitation to present a solo show (the seventh!) at the gallery in Brescia, Giulio Paolini meant to respond “literally”, or better said, “tautologically” to the proposal: not an exhibition in Massimo's Gallery, but the exhibition of the Gallery: not a collection of works, but a single installation spanning all its four rooms, inviting us to think about the concept of exhibition.
The name of the show, Momenti della verità (Moments of Truth), evokes the different appearances of the work as the visitor moves from room to room within the gallery. Each room proposes an episode, consisting of a progressive number of elements that reflect the transition from one space into another. The progression of elements and episodes becomes evident during the course of the visit, in a crescendo that culminates in disappearance and absence.
The spacious entrance room welcomes the visitor with a plexiglass model of the space itself, placed in the centre of the room, while a life size profile of the author (or could it be the observer?) seen from behind is displayed on the back wall.
In the second room we can see the image of what we have just seen in the first: a drawing (70 x 70 cm) -a recurring module on display- hung on the front wall, traces a linear relief of the work on display in the previous room, while on the opposite wall we can see a second drawing depicting a partial profile of the silhouette.
The third room -in an increasingly rarefied and essential progression- presents three different drawings where the silhouette of the author-visitor is portrayed at different moments of the visit.
On the front wall of the fourth and last room, four drawings combine to form, at the centre, the profile of the original module, as a synthetic symbol of its coming together. This way, the surface of the original element is freed from the presence of the author-visitor figure, while on the opposite wall the figure retraces its steps and leaves the scene.
The exhibition Momenti della verità is both a tribute to the history of Massimo Minini's Gallery and a parable, dear to Paolini, of the relationship between the composite identity of the author-observer and the exhibition space.