Curated by: Elena Volpato
The second appointment in the cycle of exhibitions created by the VideotecaGAM in collaboration with the Historical Archives of the Venice Biennale is dedicated to Giuseppe Chiari (Florence 1926 - 2007) composer, artist and experimenter.
Two videos made by Chiari at Art / Tapes 22 are on display. Kunst ist einfach (Art is easy), from 1973, the first work shot in those studios in Florence, captures the words that make up the phrase on a fixed camera of the title, drawn by Chiari in china ink on large white sheets. The sentence is one of his best-known statements. The meaning of his entire work is summarized here. Short statements like "Art is easy", "Music is easy", "Art is a small thing" frequently come back to his work to mean that every gesture, every sign, every sound, every noise, no matter how much apparently insignificant and common, they can be art: they are art in that they are aspects of the totality of which life is made up. Our daily action in the complex sound and visual sphere of the world makes us actors and spectators of a continuous chaotic creation in which compositional rules do not exist and must not exist.
If the theory of music had crystallized over the centuries around the concept of harmony that allowed instrumental music to cultivate the dream of perfection and to be an earthly image of the inaudible music of the celestial spheres, Giuseppe Chiari, starting from the 1950s, invites us to consider an alternative vision to the cosmic one, a vision that rethinks music starting from the freedom of chaos, understood in its original Greek meaning of wide open chasm, resonant of the echoes and vibrations of the whole, without hierarchy, without architecture or order .
The centrality of the composition principle is replaced by improvisation and experimentation.
From traditional instruments, attention shifts to the innumerable possibilities of producing sounds with common objects, with materials and substances such as glass, paper, water. Chiari plays rooms, plays cities, imagines scores for car traffic. And when he plays his music with classical instruments such as the piano, as in the Spoleto Concert video, the piano technique opens up to every possible gesture. At times, the iconic theory of white and black keys is reduced to a simple visual background, while Chiari's hands move above, in the air. "Man does not know the existence of the keys - said Chiari - the keyboard is a long white strip for him. However, he understood that his hands, his arms, can leave a fingerprint on the keyboard as on the sand."
Next to the two video works, Music is easy, made in 1972 and presented by Chiari at the Galleria Martano in Turin in the personal exhibition of 1976. The work is made up of fifteen large sheets. On each the artist wrote one of the fifteen letters that make up the sentence. The characters, traced with a continuous gesture, seem to ideally combine the gestural flow of Japanese ink calligraphy with the awareness that the sound of the brush that slides on the paper is part of that total music that Chiari has available for listening, so that those sheets they are at the same time a space for speech, drawing and sound.