Staring at the Invisible by Antonio Cattaruzza 

Giovanni Pulze, painter of « Metropolitan Angels » and long established in Italy, has now become an international sensation thanks to his ability as a contemporary artist to express himself through an apparently simple, colorful, material and yet at once figurative style. His rapid brushstroke, after careful analysis, reveals itself not to be predictable, obsolete, repetitive or indeed simplistic.

To properly grasp the necessary references that will enlighten us about “Staring at the Invisible” we must look back at two historical movements of the 20th century, which were born almost simultaneously in Italy: Historical Futurism and Metaphysical Painting. Both movements were born in 1909 and both have expressive modalities, yet opposing contents. While Futurism is all about dynamism, intensity, speed and excess, Metaphysics is defined by the dominant atmosphere of stillness, which itself is created by a suspension of time and space. Not only is movement absent, everything seems congealed within the moment. Futurism wants to turn art into an irreverent and overabundant scream; Metaphysics is governed by a dimension of absolute silence.  Hence, masterpieces from the likes of Futurists Umberto Boccioni, Giacomo Balla or Luigi Russolo are pitched against Metaphysical works by Giorgio di Chirico, Alberto Savinio and Arturo Nathan.

Giovanni Pulze’s paintings are the combined expression of those two movements - his own message to the world, delivered through the fog of 21st century mass media in a new and original manner, with sensitivity and conviction. Pulze has become the representative of a new current: “Metaphysical Futurism” or “METAFUTURE”.

The photography in his work – always set within an inner-city context, a small or large worldly town, never a country scene – is composed with consistently vivid and rich colors and unusual in its visual shortcuts, depicting urban areas filled with the typical technology of our everyday lives like cars in the dense rush hour traffic and hordes of pedestrians in town centers, motorbikes, buses and subways; all the symbols of technological development and human progress.  The artist’s skill with color play is distinctive especially in the monochromes, where his use of “chiaroscuro” does nothing to diminish the pathos of the message conveyed. However, the colors and urban scenes alone aren’t enough to qualify these striking paintings as “Futurmetaforo”: there are further details, for instance the ever-present sleet, or the multiplied umbrellas… The sleet is not just offered here as mere decoration, but also as an incitement to verify, in the contents of the paintings, all the elements which are part of the work (places, colours, people, technological tools, moods etc.); meanwhile the umbrellas put the emphasis upon the notion of a “bubble of individualism” enclosing people and stopping them from interacting with the human environment around them.  Only those willing to lower their “umbrella bubble” prove themselves capable of perceiving the humans of society – and also of perceiving “him”, that presence with angelic wings that are so simple and ill-defined that they give him only a marginal and symbolic marker, compared to those around him.

This right here is the exhibition’s central idea, the dominant theme in Giovanni Pulze’s pictures of Metropolitan Angels: a commentary on the way individualism in our society thrives thanks to technological devices such as mobile phones, computers, social media etc.; – and also on the stress within an everyday life full of noise and frantic distractions, that limit relationships between individuals and reduces their communication skills, as though they were unwilling to stop and appreciate the positive energies that are present within all of us.

Bread – long since known as a symbol of life and consumed by Christians during Communion service – contains all the elements necessary for a new spirit to engage in nourishing relationships with others, even if these relationships are often forgotten. The easily-recognizable angel, donning his two wings as angelic symbols, becomes a messenger for availability and sharing, poised for a free and generous and emphatically positive contact, with the scene morphing into an unexpected reality.

This is how the artist’s message – that of a messenger-angel bringing to us the Father’s invisible love mentioned in the sacred texts – becomes visible. Each one of us can interpret this message of a loving angel, willing to extend his hand to anyone who needs it, to transform life’s sadness with a simple gesture. Young, old, feeble, excommunicated, non-Christians… all of us are required to express the divinity that lives among us. What a positive rallying call! It pushes us to go beyond chaos, indifference and solitude and forces us to not to yield to despair, because in any remote corner of the world and regardless of religion, we can all expect to find a stranger who will know how to change negative into positive, darkness into light, and bitterness into unexpected joy.

“Staring into the Invisible”, original text in Italian by art critic Antonio Cattaruzza, for Giovanni Pulze’s exhibition.