Leonardo Blanco

Nature. Steel poles at a short distance from one another. One might think of a stylised wood – nature. An outline of a living creature – a dog. These are the elements apparently summoned by the installation by Leonardo Blanco. A horizontal outline which, through a weave of other vertical outlines, allows itself to be glimpsed by the man – the artist – who conceived it and by men – the public – who have the possibility to contemplate it. But that dog’s outline is not always visible – not from all points of view – so sometimes it is there and sometimes it isn’t. And so the real point of attention created by the artist appears. The perception and the form of a vision of reality are in fact – always – a condition of a point of view – observation – and so the dog is there – it exists, it has the form of reality -, when and because it is seen, and it is not there – it does not exist, it does not have the form of reality, when and because it is not seen. Blanco’s work therefore tackles the theme of Nature, though not Nature tout court, but rather the possibility that it has of being for man; of being an idea in a form. It is not so much the fact that it represents a natural scene, artificially stylised and generally symbolised, as the fact – an original fact – that in it there is the idea of looking – gazing – and of what this means for the human condition: the existence or inexistence of a specific reality. What the artist fixes in a form through his work is the very condition of the human being; that of being a cultural phenomenon. A fundamental condition which allows reality – which in itself cannot be known – to assume a specific connotation before the eyes of man. The steel poles and the dog therefore represent an idea of our reality, in its visible dimension. And this leads us to reflect on the human condition from which it originates; the possibility that man has of giving a form to reality through the sight, that is the vision, of what his gaze culturally translates into meaning: the tangible part of our mind. A possibility that is realised in a form – a contingent one – starting from the changing point of view; the physical and conceptual position of the gaze. Hence the possibility to reflect also on the relationship that is established between him who looks – who casts his gaze, through an idea, onto reality – and him who is looked at, but who does not know he is being observed and seen, although he may be fully conscious of himself. What directs this action and characterises the work is therefore the concept of abstraction which relies on that of semantics: a process which for man is mental, that is cultural, and natural at the same time; a process that has characterised the century that just ended in all its manifestations, from art and philosophy to science, and which incarnates this possibility of reducing reality to a synthetic and global vision, to a structure that combines constant elements which give rise to a model which represents, but which at the same time is conditioned by, the contingency of the point of view, by the gaze which attributes a meaning to it.

di Marco Vincenzi

Borgo Maggiore, 11 Aprile 2007