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Cover series: #17 Dimitra Kondylatou


Admission: Free
Opening: 19.11.2022, 18:00

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Add to calendar 2022:11:19 18:00:00 2022:11:19 18:00:00 Europe/Athens A KNIFE WITH NO BLADE, MISSING ITS HANDLE A KNIFE WITH NO BLADE, MISSING ITS HANDLE - More informations on /events/event/4006-a-knife-with-no-blade-missing-its-handle Rodeo Gallery - Piraeus

Chronicle of a Methodical Meeting
by Milovan Farronato, Part 1

Composed, dignified even, Guglielmo Castelli likes to pose with his right eyebrow coyly arched while turning his body to the left and at the same time looking to the right. He makes frequent interjections in his fluent speech. Methodical, he doesn't stumble, doesn't falter, doesn't interrupt the continual flow of words. He is not playing a part, but you might think he has a script, at least a rough draft, to serve as an unconscious memory of his reasoning. Our first meeting was intentionally predestined: the prescribed visit to his studio towards the end of last summer. I waited for him at the Torino Porta Susa stop, climbed precariously on board his Vespa and, in a sorry state of mutual indulgence, arrived at his reassuring maison absolute in the Madonna di Campagna district of the Piedmontese capital. It is a city with two souls: an industrial one and an underground one; dazzled by light, but stalked by the shadows that slink along its porticos; animated by Carol Rama and Carlo Mollino, who lived next door to each other, but never knew it.

Castelli's studio consists of two spacious rooms on the ground floor facing onto a modest internal courtyard, over which looms a main block at the front that is oriented to the west and thus never prevents the daylight from entering through the two large skylights that are set like jewels in the ceilings of both parallelepipeds. Symmetrical, regular with two functional cubicles, each in the same specular position – the first to meet the needs of food, the second those of physiology – the rooms offer to the perceptive eye frugal information on the practice of painting, research and archiving carried out and contained in them; a practice on which it is, now, worth dwelling. On entering I am surrounded by a sloshing of paint, and by dirty but tidily arranged brushes; by canvases 'stacked' in progressive stages of definition. I see that they are innumerable, but can be distinguished into four distinct stages with no possibility of regression: uniform ground of a monochrome tint the first; abstract and chromatically variegated miscellany of blots and drips like a sadly deranged harlequin transformed into polymorphous shapes that I think his unconscious memory, again, knows how to handle so that they can be modelled in the phase that follows, when some of them are absorbed into figuration and others persist imperturbably in that primordial indistinct material, that nebulous cocktail firmly convinced of its inviolable ornamental value; while others, the last, give up almost completely and reluctantly allow themselves to be concealed. In conclusion, the fourth stage arrives with the blessing of elusive, inconstant shadows, awkward alter egos that duplicate, balance, support or plead with the origin from which they have sprung.

I let myself be persuaded by the possibility that the apparently uniform light pouring like rain from the skylights in reality seeps in fitfully, like a devious desire that attenuates and softens the presence of the shadows in the studio and consequently offers them the possibility of free will, of an independent and animated gesticulation. After all shadows are doomed to vanish at the zenith, when the demons of midday finally start to dance. Carl Gustav Jung argued that shadows are demons. 'I will stay by your side if you offer me the possibility to persist, but I cannot be a mere reflection, or a reluctant projection; I have to be able to bend, to kneel, to elongate out of all proportion. To be above, but below too. The first and the last,' they might whisper to us. In Castelli's paintings they are concupiscent, neurotic presences, ill-omened and benevolent bystanders at one and the same time. Perhaps these shadows too are a demonic presence in dispute or in mutual aid.

But let us go back to the studio: order encapsulates the chaos of action, enclosing it in a special decorative frame made of elements and ornaments that frequently turn up again in the canvases. A precise frame like the one traced in so many notebooks and on loose sheets for which the blank margin is a border if it is not framed by a line traced in pencil, even several times on the same regular piece of paper. With these presences as volatile as Caravaggio's clouds we have already passed into the other room, more domesticated, more furnished, more comfortable and more welcoming in keeping with a courteous and cordial, typically Turinese etiquette. The exhibition of the pictures is precise, less of a jumbled heap, and yet the space is still tyrannical. A flower offers a cameo from a vase in semi-darkness. A pair of pissoires turned into miniature theatres demand the attention of the public even though they choose to place themselves to one side. Equally harmonious in its reciprocated horror vacui, the room is characterised in its reading. There are two passages unobstructed by doors between one room and the other. Like an ouroboros biting its tail they are set regularly in the same wall, in continuous communication. We could go round and round in perpetual motion to find the curve in the straight line or the straight line in the curve. I, without being aware of it, have found the five paintings and two drawings in the process of gestation on which I have now been invited to speculate...


Guglielmo Castelli, Space more than time, detail, oil on canvas, 100 x 120 cm, 2022