Tactile vibrations: the energy of materials

Adriano Leverone’s works on show at the park of Roentgen-Museum Neuwied as part of a harmonic exhibit, structured as a concise, coherent dialogue between different plastic experiences, once more testify how his artistic work has maintained, over its ten-year development, constant reference to certain basic aesthetic and operational principles. Inspired by the results of an exhibition event he held in collaboration with the young composer Stefano Scala twenty years ago at the David Chiossone Institute in Genoa – an evocative and pioneering experience in the field of education and rehabilitation of the blind –, Leverone has since continued to persistently experiment with the tactile potentials of forms and material surfaces, activating original linguistic formulations during his creative process aimed at an unusual and involving perceptive dimension.
The creator of a personal glossary of plastic forms which, with the passing of time, have gradually refined his original expressive symbols, while maintaining his basic idiomatic structures intact, Leverone has followed a consistent path of research within his works. Each stage of formal development represents the addition of a new element to his overall artistic project. This exhibition is, in some way, a symbolic and ultimate summary of such project considering its original linguistic openings.
While Leverone’s plan is for the group of works presented at this exhibit to mark the closure of an expressive cycle – where the sculptor rather evidently projected the reflections of his parallel biographical sequence – such exhibition seems to stimulate a critical reasoning on the basic aesthetic dynamics of this decisive research stage. All the tensions of his previous experiences in the field of sculpture and ceramics merge in this phase, to then issue the future results of his subsequent work.
First and foremost, a radical transformation can be identified in the iconographic and structural designs of his plastic experience: after the recurring references to the theme of seeds, at times developed together with forms evoking the volumetric roundness of an apple or that of a sea sponge symbolised through complex layered configurations, in his most recent sculptures Leverone has begun to introduce the solemn, dramatic presence of warriors equipped with armour, tortoise formations protected by shells, with aggressive, deadly ferrules which project physical, energetic gestures into space embodying the violent penetration of nails, spears, and arrows.
Above and beyond their more or less evident symbolic inspiration, all of these works, in a gradual process of formal summary, have shown a constant tendency towards compositional abstraction, through which Leverone – as part of his creative journey – has eliminated every obstacle to his peculiar leaning towards the aesthetic sharing of an artistic act.
At the same time, in the processing stages of his entire plastic research the artist has developed with increasingly more awareness a self-reflecting analysis of autonomous linguistic tools and, specifically, the expressive potential of the materials. The contrast between the smoothness and roughness of the surfaces; the attraction of its evocative crevices and ridges, through which he invites people to test the tactile perception of its plastic forms; or, finally, the conflicting coexistence between the roughness of the brick-coloured earth and the splendour of the matt white enamel of the imposing sculptures called Vicari, Armigeri, contributed to establishing – over the course of his research – a definitive adhesion to certain strict operating principles. However, while the aggregation of the different material layers in his previous works generally appeared to have been caused by fortuitous processes that the artist merely managed through concise analytical comparison of his linguistic tools, the pulsating tension of his recent sculptures – in some cases exhibited here for the first time – is dealt with through organised operating control, imposing predetermined compositional schemes.
In the structural design of these works which evoke intensely dramatic forms and situations – see the disturbing aura of the two sombre, grave sarcophagi – the artist also tends to accentuate the brutal nature of the material. Indeed, the marked contrast emerges more and more between the various layers of the clay, partially covered on the surface by a black coating which leaves glimpses of the different tones underneath.
A crucial role in the development of such operating processes was played by the artist’s extraordinary technical culture and, particularly, his ability to proportion himself with large volumes in the field of stone pottery processing, as witnessed in some of his recent works created for the international symposia in Japan, China, South Korea, and France. His in-depth expertise of all the processing stages of his works is also fundamental – ranging from the fusion of bronze to the cooking times of ceramics – in his wide-ranging experimentation which has led him to tackle challenging performance pieces, such as, for example, his 1994 performance in front of a huge crowd in Genoa in the square facing the Church of Sant’Agostino, during which he created five imposing ceramic columns using the Raku technique.
This baggage of artistic experience – together with his unique sensibility for modelling, from which unusual plastic forms emerge projected into a space of emotional sharing – finds its expressive climax in this exhibition. The presentation of this complex, harmonious installation highlights, through close stylistic and iconographic references, the homogeneous aesthetic uniformity of the individual pieces selected, offering an evocative stage for the artist’s vibrating anxieties and his unique approach to creating experiences of shared participation.
Matteo Fochessati

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