I hope my friend Giorgio will not be offended, but I would call him a young artist, as Palù has all the fervour, strength, magmatic effervescence and the unsettled soul of a young artist.
Giorgio is not an explosive producer of works of art, but a constantly moving flow of matter. To understand what flows out from his soul, we have to forget his personal success, forget the talented architect and read the suffering that comes from a passion constantly frustrated by the limits dictated by solid state physics; forever dissatisfied, he looks within the primordial magma of his soul for inspiration, digs, moves and kneads. To understand its form he wants it to suggest its own composition in the work. The whole of Palù's artistic production would appear in this way to be turned towards introspection, but this is not the case. Giorgio, from the chromed surfaces of his steels, spies on himself, voyeuristially looks at himself to find and project himself, a thing of value, in the form of an installation. Palù's is a very refined form of narcissism hidden behind a quiet reserve which has led him until now to shape sculptures in which the aesthetic quantum is reflected and can be read discreetly between the lines and arises from the refractions of light that the treated material offers. Knowing that Giorgio can skilfully work with metals and wood and is an expert on antiques and chemistry should suggest to us that he gets what he wants from materials, but the truth is otherwise; materials give him the great privilege of constantly examining and admiring their beauty as they grow. Palù, the real father of the works, is a demanding, strict and fussy parent; periodically he would like to re-educate and improve them, retouch a reflection so that posterity may see it better. Like a father and master of times gone by, though proud of his dough, he does not enjoy the success of his creatures but the support they give to art. His creatures.. talking material! They are not essence but substance, part and unchangeable principle, an uneliminable element, forged and dissolved by fire or projected into light, like floating thoughts they express the perfection of nature.
In his works Palù reveals a representation of artistic creation highlighting the complex creative process that consists in an on-going parallel between forging matter and forming awareness. In his concrete installations depicting primordial magmas forged by fire is the matter that consists in, takes form, colours and expresses the suffering of creation. While the beauty and harmony of his works strike us immediately and profoundly from first sight, the genesis of the factors/events that stimulated their creation in rigorous, clean and essential forms is told to us through the lacerations of the material, the shaped canvas, the sutures. Suffering is represented in Giorgio’s works as in Greek tragedy, the passion for design within him, frustrated by the limits of matter physics, is real suffering, tragedy which underlies the generating process of his art work. As Aristotle stressed in his Poetics "tragedy is a catharsis which leads man «from non-awareness to awareness »”. The divisions, fragmentations, imbalances which confront the themes of evil, pain and fear, are testimony to the process of artistic creation – pain-awareness-beauty. Nietzche, too, in his work The Birth of Tragedy, reminds us that pain is the most important thing in life for man; suffering serves for the birth of true beauty. As I have already pointed out on the works presented in the “Substantia” exhibition, Palù’s is a highly refined narcissism with its roots in the humus of architectural culture, it is pure knowledge which has led him to form sculptures in which the aesthetic quantum asserts itself, to be read in the folds of the material treated and emerging from the refractions of its light.
Experimenting – interactions between architecture and art
Contemporary architecture admits as its rationale a marked propensity for research in the various fields in which design and construction are expressed. Research, therefore, is the testimony of the project’s substantially leading role, which investigates concrete living requirements and seeks out equally concrete solutions, showing the need to “prove” in the built architecture, where living becomes an element of debate between ideas and forms of living.
Architectural research seeks to be not just an evocative means, able to distill brilliant technical and formal solutions, but also a place of innovation and selective continuity. The focal point is set in a highly experimental component which may be read in the sense of a need to assess design solutions with regard to living requirements and problems, which cannot be considered as indifferent, crystallized, without a specific nature of their own. Experimenting means keeping a certain degree of control over a multifaceted evolution that can be appreciated in aspects of living.
The path of architectural experimentation identifies design as a means of expression which encourages the participation of all those who are prepared to imagine the quality of living through architecture, representing and arranging the key elements to make the profound substance of the innovative elements recognizable. Living in an architectural context, living in an urban condition which receives the pressure and potential from architecture for transformation. And living in the design, through a series of interactions, among specifically architectural dimensions and expressive values which can be assimilated in forms of artistic experimentation. Integration and reciprocity, in a coherence of dialogue and transfusion between highly expressive domains.
The architectural designs of Giorgio Palù (Studio Arkpabi) are determined through research and experimentation, clear factors denoting the progressive dynamics of the concepts of space and volumes, references moving in the brightness of the materials, towards a broader creative concept; a constant and mutual stimulant to innervate concentrated forms of sensitivity. Architecture becomes an effervescent container of creative solutions in which the dialogue between the expressive potential of the materials – between coordination and juxtaposition – and the constitution of living volumes and spaces forms a woven fabric, between architectural properties and the strains of purely artistic statements. The idea of a volume which becomes the interaction of component parts and grows through the dynamics of its definitions – the perimeter intersected by prospects, the overlapping of spaces and densities of light – inevitably urges a comparison with a magmatic material growing exponentially.
Architecture dilates and is produced in an itinerary which tends towards metamorphosis, the weaving of visible prospects becomes a language of colour and matter, the intersection of corridors of light becomes an element stimulating a level of expressive accumulation, as in a “theatre of forms” (the villa in Piadena). The concept of urban villa is iterated in a solemn combination of volumes (the residential complex in Via Balilla in Milan, the residential complex in Via Doberdò in Milan). The determination of the metallic (and experimental) material covering the façade frames an expressive force that tends to merge a latent spark into a defined unit (residential and service sector complexes in Viale Trento e Trieste in Cremona), exploding into the conceptual and rarified vision of the residential complex in Via della Dogana Vecchia (Cremona), where the terms of comparison assume the form of the portion of air and sky which intersect the various separate residences, single elements which are part of the same assumption, at the limit of immateriality: the residence in its component parts is composed of concrete architectural consistency (walls, windows, floors, internal corridors), suspended urban villas, and takes possession of a direct “pertinence” which is the urban landscape and its expansion into the substance of the sky and clouds.
At a level tending to conjugate sculptural and pictorial elements, the design for the reconfiguration of the Hotel Continental in Cremona, where in the innovative re-composition of the prospect – which inherently required the building to be recognizable as a hotel – a clear distinction was made within the body of the façade, with portions diversified by materials. The density of the materials and weaving of the elements, using stone, conglomerates and metal coatings are parts of a whole: to clearly distinguish and inter-relate the portions in an overall design, in which the various slight protuberances of the façade, the different consistency of the materials and the chromatic distinctions tell of a dynamic and combinatory synthesis, a picture changing with light and view. The theme of the combination of materials and expression of the façade can be found in the recent building substitution operation in the centre of Cremona, where an old cinema is replaced by a multi-floor residential complex; the building overlooks a narrow street, a side road of the town’s main street, and suggests a plurality of views. Glimpses, rather than an axial and perpendicular observation. The volume gathers and accentuates on one vibrated wing of the wall that opens outwards, a diaphragm of invitation; the prospects work with weaving marked on the surfaces, ridges and depressions that can be read like a map of contemporaneity, marks unifying the opposing light and dark colours of the façades.
A further progression is the Auditorium of the Violin Museum (Cremona): a place of refined acoustics and structural requirements for the execution of music (cultured music and expressive contaminations, a place for high-level recordings), the hall internally takes on a voluptuously sculptural turn, as if to bring together exponentially the multiple seductive artistic points, the sculpture of matter from the core in cement and the wooden facet, spreading out into the story of architecture growing from the bed of an internal volume.
Architecture which expresses an increasingly explicit and coherent direction of research: identifying living volumes and spaces is the task of architectural design, in which to sense an operation with many aspects, through the pressures of the states of the materials to “transform” and add unusual value. Tending also to show other aspects of oneself, proposing interactions and exchanges between art and architecture, defining pure areas for experimental research.
Giorgio Palu', a well-known name in contemporary architecture, awarded the Lombardy prize for excellence in 2016, designer of the Violin Museum in Cremona, has realised many architectural projects of recognized worth.
From a professional point of view his work is driven from the idea of a form rooted in progression: creating, designing, building the space we live in; knowledge perfectly integrated into the thinking ego.
Palù the artist: the first point for reflection could therefore be why a transgression.
The thinking ego, according to Heidegger, began with Plato and consists in the awareness of reality as far as human faculties allow, with the centrality of man's lawmaking ego. Architecture is, moreover, the human activity which includes art and the techiques for designing and constructing buildings, an activity which requires a creator capable of controlling the form that arises, whether this is an object, house or city.
In "The Fundamental Questions of Philosphy” the German philosopher introduces a half-light arrangement of truth, produced from the amazement of how the disproportion of indecision between what in reality is, in so far as being, and what drives us on without stability, what eludes our control and breaches the habitual order of life.
In this sense we must remember that the experience of art, by its very nature, goes beyond what anyone is prepared to sacrifice, conquers to gain access to what is hidden, to what lives in mystery.
Naturally, with amazement it is as if the event cancelled our will. In effect, in straining towards what is hidden, Logos abdicates in favour of Pathos, and it is not an accident that 'Pathos' was the title of a sumptuous exhibition by Palù at the Ala Ponzone museum in Cremona on the occasion of the day dedicated to the Museums of Europe.
Giorgio set off on this road a long time ago, a road which sees in amazement a paradigm of awareness. Something elusive runs through his work, a need which drags him away to create in the free fields of art, where form is no longer definable by time and space by function. Here the horizon is internal, or rather a dimension of the interiority which tells of new contents, the pursuit and continuation of a road where place is no longer a prospect, but the pentagram of new perceptions produced by amazement.
I visited Giorgio's studio in the countryside near Cremona, a touch of Wagner giving music to the works on view, ready for the exhibition in Pietrsanta.
I thought that what in architecture has to be resolved through the art of arranging and decorating space, in art becomes the place for thinking things differently. The same building materials are shaped to say something else, to be no longer part of a building but to be in themselves “things”, subject and object of representation.
The essence of man's being in the world centres in his relationship with things; in a time when we are “harassed” by the speed of incessant changes, we discover a time that is suspended, generated by the passage of matter to light.
Giorgio leaves the destiny of viewing to fire, a catharsis which completely changes the place, transforms and interprets the existing with engagement with the new.
Fire generates amazement, an involvement solicited by aesthetic movements which the burst of flame creates. In art Palù is following a totally unique path and we hope he will not be struck down, because if you play with fire, you risk getting burnt. I want to say that his is not the usual approach of an architect to artistic work; a destructive fury drives him... but then he has no choice. He must risk if he wants to move on.
He either holds out in the town as he is, or he risks.
How much are you prepared to risk to see and create a new form?
"Four times the city of Dioce was destroyed:
once for vanity,
once for falsehoods,
once for greed,
once for discord."
but reborn Dioce will stay in our minds as forever industructible.
This idea of catastrophe and epistrophe, which Ezra Pound magically recounts in 'The Pisan Cantos', is well embodied in my friend Giogio Palù's work.
To build the city of Dioce, which has terraces the colour of the stars (Canto LXXIV), a crash is needed, not a lament.
Palù well understands that one must not hesitate. A crash is the bursting out of an aesthete which in fire shows us paradise.
Galleria Artetotale - Via Barsanti 34 - Pietrasanta (LU)
Vernissage Saturday 23rd April 2016 - 18.30h
Opening times: Saturdays and Sundays 10.00-13.00h and 16.30-20.00h
tel. 0584 70185 - 335 6129497
'Sostanza' from 23rd April to 31st May
Galleria Artetotale has added the exhibition 'Sostanza - Dalla materia alla luce' (Substance – From matter to light) to its programme aimed at art forms capable of totalising different languages within themselves so as to affirm a philosophy of art founded on interweaving and overlapping.
The author of the works presented is Giorgio Palù, an architect who has always been engaged in visual research dictated by his love for this subject and which has constantly led him to innovative experiences in the field of art.
On exhibition will be “Fire!”, the series of works made with a procedure which in itself, in the Kleinian action of “setting fire”, can be considered an act of art, the series “Citylight”, a composition in which a reference to Mondrianian rhythms and neoplastic syntax recurs and the series “Buildings” in travertine marble, works which derive from his youthful enthusiasm for John Ruskin's “The Stones of Venice”.