Lyric-chromatic fragments in a shattered world

Giuseppe Mannino

There are signs, though admittedly weak, which indicate a radical change in art. A dark period, full of uncertainty and confusion lasting nearly half a century seems to be coming to an end. This is the first reflection that Alessandro Di Cola’s works bring to mind. Indeed, it is surprising that a young man, whose training could have led him down the comfortable and illusory path of installations, perhaps grafting the poetic word, should have preferred to undertake creative research founded on solid workshop experience (and later we shall see which tried and true workshop we are referring to). But in order to better understand this initial consideration, one can not but add that for most of the second half of last century and the first decade of the present, art has appeared disconnected from society as well as from ethics, demonstrating the lack of future planning. Everything has seemed to be built and designed with one goal in mind: to amaze exploiting the use of special effects until the raw material has run dry.
And yet the last century began with several movements which had an impact on the history of art, changing its course, heralding abstractionism and surrealism such as The Group Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Knight), founded in Germany by Kandinskij together with Marc and Macke exactly one century ago. It was the prelude to the renewal of art and Klee was among the first to understand this followed by many others, including Delaunay whose Orphic Cubism, that is to say - his mystical dreamlike vision – which, compared to the original cubism, focused its research on color, light, harmony and rhythm. Orpheus, in that sense, was considered the mystical musician-poet with magical powers. Delaunay moreover, had shared a brief experience with Marc and Macke, commemorated in an interesting exhibition held in 2009 at the Sprengel Museum in Hannover, with the very pregnant title “Beauty of a Fragile World (1910 - 1914) “.
Well…the world of art has been shattered for several decades now: the lack of meeting places where artists can talk and compare their work has made it difficult to spread new ideas while at the same time that vital financial resource of 2% for public works destined to finance arte has been removed. Alessandro Di Cola is both an interpreter and leading actor in this shattered world. I first met Alessandro Di Cola at the Anselmi Foundry, a historical Roman forge that, from Piazzale Clodio, moved to the outskirts of Casal Monastero near Via Tiburtina several years ago. The Fonderia Artistica Anselmi is perhaps the only laboratory, if not the most important used by leading artists, including Alessandro Di Cola who, despite his young age, is considered a master. In short, a place where artists meet and compare their work and ideas, exchanging advice and experiences, without envy or secrets. Gone were galleries that had sprung up after the post-war period that were these artists’ real abodes; gone were the critics, who followed not only the single exhibitions but also activities of single artists; gone were the spaces dedicated to art critics as was the ‘third page’ in newspapers and thus the figure of the seller disappeared.
Conversely, the few surviving critics have become promoters and sponsors' of art. In this framework, a workshop where we can just barely see a project for a future of art that takes ethics and feelings into account, is an event of great importance and artists like Alessandro Di Cola, with their ability to be sensitive to the role of art and who are capable of providing ethical and social messages, enhance its cultural value. This is the workshop where Alessandro Di Cola has completed a considerable number of works now fully entitled to be called a monograph and which give a convincingly ample picture of an artistic personality who is destined to grow. It is intriguing, this combination of sculpture and picto-poetic thought, which gives a sense of particular sensitivity to an incredible ability to use different forms of language: matter, color, word all work together within a tale of a shattered world made up of lyrical-chromatic fragments (see the works: Heartbreaking Scream, Clown dream, She). But even when there is no support of neither word nor color, the work’s setting contains a story that people can grasp simply from the set design, as in the work "Family Stories". Here, there are arms on the table that are in front of the chairs, leaving one to imagine the presence-absence the people bound together by affection and feelings, which evoke moments of life together, though now only a memory for those who came afterwards or who have yet to come: a kind of message for future reference with still present and vital elements .
The thing I find surprising about Alessandro Di Cola’s works is his ability to make the hands talk even more than the face or other parts of the body which is almost always portrayed in fragments; that which gives the appearance of masks, are actually fragments of faces. Fragments, as we said before. But like a century ago, they represent the beauty of a shattered world whose fragments can be put back together anyway one wishes. And this is true art.