Bruno Lisi’s artistic path culminates in a series of large rectangular canvases and methacrylate sculptures: mysterious objects that spontaneously relate to architecture, breathing in synergy with the whole. Totem-like geometry of absolute light that surfaces from an original immersion in the primary depths of language, sensation and life, like enigmatic ghosts, natural and suspended epiphanies coming from a virtual world, from a space where time has stopped.
The results of a radical search for pure, zeroed beauty which responds to an ethic of one gaze, according to an intense, incisive, lyric and radical interrogation about the signifying void inside a lucid project. An operation of oxymoron and crossbreeding, yet at the same time of discipline and harmony oscillating between form and its negation, method and its disruption, reflecting on the present condition of the order of a world that rises in unbalance and instability, landing in the complex and mysterious atopy in the condensation of past memories projected into the future.
The artist’s capability to abstract himself from reality is similar, in certain aspects, to that of the Oriental calligrapher, including his way of intending his relationship with reality through a lifestyle that sees art and daily life as exercises in spirituality, and considers context as a continuous, fluid transformation of energetic processes, like an open system, in continual transformation. According to Lisi, the void is a multiplicity, a dialectic web that doesn’t exist in the pure state — unrelated according to the metaphysical theory —from which it takes and expresses aesthetic potential, as well as dynamic and energetic ones, sounding out from near the nexus between the relative forms and sources of the void, so that it changes from a simple concept into authentic productive energy that manifests itself in the work in a sensitive, unmistakable way. A process entrusted to a sign as subterranean intensity, made of vibrations, oscillations to which the artist entrusts with exemplary ability the fundamental passage of beyond the visible, and the appearance of things, overcoming the instinctive tendency to recognize, to search instead of to know. Complexity as such raises uncertainties and questions about the search because only in the margins of open doubt and suspension is it possible to look at the future and meditate freely on the past, moving the dimension of creative work from axioms to relationships. “If man didn’t vanish like Adashino, if he didn’t dissipate like the smoke over Toribeyama, but stayed forever in the world, at what point would things lose their power to touch us! The most precious thing in life is its uncertainty.” (Kenzo, “Moments of Leisure’).
Sign research in art, from the informal onwards, is characterized as the unhinging of linguistic and philosophic categories, as well as the outward extension of the author’s spiritual life since it is closely linked to the intensity of individual experience, in the involvement of various levels of experience. In the relationship that this latter establishes with the epoch, the need is stressed to restore reason and function of art: Lisi’s signs condense the saturation of meaning with minimal synthesis since they are lyrical traces and calligraphies of the soul that existence takes form in, they are exemplary, extolled, filtered through the conceptual sieve and at the same time faithful to their natural, phytomorphic nature, evocative of waters and skies. Traces of an incisive memory of nature and painting, a kind of ikebana that suggests the substantial transience of branches, atoms and thoughts, rocks and truth as a sole real condition through which to pluck the beauty of non-permanence, which is the real, intrinsic one of life in a broad sense.
Those signs that transmigrate from the crystallized canvases in metallic filaments blocked in a dimension of immutability and together open to a thousand vibrations, twisted, spectral stalks, immediately come to life lighting up for a ray of light that crosses through them in the transparent methacrylate structures, like fossil signs of an internalized nature that surfaces from deep layers ofbeing, brought to light and transposed in the void, in the immaterial as though to operate a kind of last, strenuous safeguard.
From the zero degree of a sensitive absence, with his ability to exalt intrinsic and metaphoric values of materials, Lisi points out through chilled, luminous presences, silent and enigmatic in a balance between being and nothing, that if life today more than ever is elsewhere, the artist’s duty is to bring it back here and now, illuminating it with tomorrow. Lisi’s fascinating, silent and unreachable works open a passage to the flight of imagination, to the deep sea of being in the empty space of infinite possibilities and desirable world to be reached through art as a legendary space for the imagination and, once again, the difference.
(translated by Helen Pringle)
(text written for the exhibition “Cristalli d’acqua”, Museo della via Ostiense, Roma, in collaboration with AAM, 1-23 October 2004)