Adriano Leverone: Shapes as Autobiography.
Carlo Pizzichini – Siena 2014
The old saying is really true: “…in artists, life and art coincide, art and life are the same thing”. In Adriano Leverone, this stands even more true. His biographical events, both good and bad, are reflected throughout this working career, in his existential journey that becomes a formal plan, an artistic journey that he confronts at every mile, with that bitter-sweet taste so typical of life; as if every shape was an arduous milestone for the hard times, or a sail boat basking in bright sunlight for the moments of joy and hope.
We met Adriano Leverone in the middle of a day in late January, in one of those days of continuous rain, with a courageous journey to Val Fontanabuona up to Lavagna, dangerously continuing along a raging river, deviating away from a collapsed bridge. Yet, moving forward with great difficulty, we, the most stubborn of the time, reached him on time, or should we say tracked him down, up there, north of that famous valley in Italy where slate is carved. The shy and almost closed nature of his Ligurian roots gradually opened out to free itself through stories of worldly experiences and existential work confessions, as one tells to old friends. All in a formal sincerity and, I would say, rare depth which is able to change the surrounding atmosphere that, from semi-wild, was becoming tamed, if not somewhat aristocratic. Shy but meticulous, practical but sensitive, Leverone understands and invents shapes as true presences in his life, or rather gives shape to these presences, be they moods, emotions, events or people. In short, his shapes are his autobiography, his studio is the holder that binds together his loose papers, his sculptures the pages and speeches, the roughness and shine of certain stoneware surfaces are the words, his colours are the tone, rhyme, intonation and accents, his seeds the fullstops and commas. Real emotions and reactions, presences that unconsciously became forms. Leverone is a real ceramic, or better, stoneware sculptor, simply because he conveys his life to the world through shapes. Forms later enriched by the shiny glazes, by a kind of weaving, weft, writing of small forms, sometimes lighter sometimes deeper, depending on whether it is a time when he works with clenched teeth, snarling at life, or with joy, looking upon life with a tender smile. Twenty years ago, this sensitivity, comforted by the operating principles of his own work, led him to become the protagonist of a pioneering experience in the field of education and rehabilitation for the blind, creating together with composer Stefano Scala, a journey of tactile “vision” with ceramic forms and surfaces. He continued decisively in this direction, based on the principle of shape and material, creating works oriented towards perception. …………From a very young age, he made shapes on a potter’s wheel, later moving on to solid lines, reliefs and modelled sculptures. As a Ligurian, he feels the attraction of the dim light of the sea and the gloomy melancholy of stones, rocks and nature. Plant forms, shells, sponges, and organic subjects were his early interests. Then perhaps, in the silence of his studio, the vision of an apple split in half is obsessively mirrored in his work in plastic that would soar to become a source of formal research and expression of vitality. This microcosm becomes a macrocosm of infinite potential; the seed that emerges from its bed provides the possibility of being extracted, of being able to intervene. Concave and convex forms, full and empty, containing and contained, opposed or permeating. He then creates columns with modules made of Raku. Later he moves on to blocks Earth and Sea, where the inner and outer vitality play on the chromatic contrasts between blue, light blues, water greens and earth colours. And so he takes on a series of works on the complexity of human beings and the ways – shells, shields, armoured warriors – they protect themselves from situations of aggression. Those who look at us and judge us – authorities, generals, vicars and squires – who, with the autobiographical incipit characterised by serious problems and bitterness, are soon transformed into nails in the head preventing it from living; Penetranti made using Raku, with spectacular firing in front of a live audience. Deformed and almost monstrous shapes made with an uneven material characterised by roughness and smoothness, the result of an inner existential reflection. Complex work, often in large dimensions, resolved with the simplicity of shapes invented by emotions. Jean Fautrier says, “the only thing that matters in art is the quality of the artist’s sensitivity. Art is only a means to externalise it, yet a crazy means with no rules or calculations…” I am convinced that Adriano Leverone possesses this quality of sensitivity and, to externalise it, he has chosen ceramics, stoneware, this great ancient tool, always being able to surprise us with crazy and unexpected shapes. This act of love for the man brings Leverone’s forms and shapes closer to idols, gods and sacred figures who solemnly watch us and recount the artistic experiences undertaken by the sculptor in Italy and in the East, which meant that Nobile Contrada del Nicchio’s Ancient Art of Vasai Prize 2014 went to Adriano Leverone, dedicated with merit and in line with the themes explored in this interesting edition.
Edoardo Di Mauro, October 2007
Adriano Leverone is an artist who, without any mediation, brings us towards a stylistic world, that of sculpture, which has been the object of a lively and exciting debate during the twentieth century and, consequently, is still in our time. Sculpture, accused of being static and seeking a rhetorical monumental achievement, will be able to regenerate itself, proposing itself as an installation seen as extension of physical and mental corporality, beyond the dialectics concerning the relationship between the object and space, or recalling itself to the supremacy of the archetype and searching for an unedited dialogue between artifice and nature.
The work of Adriano Leverone is placed amongst these considerations. A sculptor able to combine with a remarkable technical ability the traditional flavours by the production of agile and outstanding aniconic shapes, whether monolithic or based on dialectics between full and empty and concave-convex, Leverone is able to shape material and instil knowledge denied to nature itself.
Leverone is an undisputed master in using multiple techniques aimed at achieving a conformed final result from ceramics to gres, to stone with marble and granite, ending with an aristocratic and difficult material such as bronze.