"These are not times to stay upright now. My sculptures prefer the diagonal, the inclination and the support, stop for a moment and look to the side [...]. However, a sculpture in itself is flashy; I would like a timid and humble sculpture ". Timid and humble: are they really the works of Giuliano Giuliani, excavated in travertine, one of the great materials of the construction of every century, of the celebration, of the anxiety of the eternal? Maybe. Certainly, however, their nature deviates from every path of contemporary plastic: conscious deviance, for which - to make it come into being - it was necessary to elaborate a long and determined thought on it.
Nor is it merely formal: because Giuliani is not a chaste sculptor: having chosen not to limit his horizon to purely stylistic reasons for his work, but to open it, on the contrary, to suggestions, hypotheses, heteronomous risks: related to the life, existence, the human; and for what, for some, the human dominates: "God is of stone, the stone is God. To dig stone, to possess it, to dominate it is to seek and find God. Travertine is the stone that God prefers, full of life, of pores , of souls ". And sometimes, in this embrace of the world he feels he wants, in this "everything" that clutters his soul, he touches the rhetoric, once again knowingly and without fear: "Sculpture for living needs love"; or again: "We must invoke poetry to give life to the stone". The stone, then, and anything but for him: anything but flight to a dimension ennobled by the concept. It is effort and pride, daily; it is a clash and, finally, an image. He has worked for thirty years (he was just a teenager) in the paternal cavern (privilege? Damnation?), In a province of central Italy full of extraordinary secular memories and, like many, thanks to this ancient and illustrious heritage, tetragon to the present day . Only a deviant sign, it runs through it - from the top of a nearby hill - the memory of amalassunte and rebel angels, Licini. For a while, Giuliani's sculpture mimicked the forms of nature: Arturo Martini, perhaps Lorenzo Viani, his first masters. Then, from 1989, from 1990, maturity: found elsewhere, but without a caesura, a tear too much or only voluntaristic (I think back to Leoncillo's words, written when he opened his highest season, even the simple and dim ones: " Later I will do other - things - less natural, those that push me more: because we are not natural "). "Giuliani's first formal thought is that of distorting matter and depriving it of its encumbrance. Obsessive, patient is the process of dematerialization, of excavation, of emptying with which he transforms the compact and hard block into a thin sheet with modulated movements ", recently wrote Carlo Lorenzetti, referring to Giuliani's latest production, and sensing the trait salient.
Because if it is true that travertine (its peculiar nature and its secrets made of sudden cavities and internal chasms, as of lights, tones and shifting transparencies and, for their part, unexpected) constitutes the necessary and non-exchangeable incipit of the his work, it is equally true that only in the dialectical step further, in its negation as matter, consists the choice formed determinant of Giuliani. Negation of matter as encumbrance, as weight, as a self-referential demon; matter, however, that precisely in the erosion that is subjected by the patient and wise hand of its creator discovers the vocation to its own form. Some essential gestures that Giuliani performs on the block of limestone: the thinning, imposed until the stone is reduced to a thin sheet of paper, of which the gaps are accepted and exalted: here healed by plaster, with a reparative gesture; there, however, left in sight, so that the light - slow, and as emerging from an amnion - flickers just through them. And again: flexing the slab in sinuous, almost dancing movements: subtracting them from the stentorean peremptoriness of the geometrical figure (Giuliani has fright: so much so that the right angle is almost excluded from his plastic), and giving them a rhythm, capable of give impetus to the form beyond the material boundaries of the work. Each of these training acts is engaged, for example, in the work that Giuliani has recently performed for the collection of sculpture hosted by the City of Cagli in the Martiniana Tower of the small Marche town: a thin veil of travertine that extends into the deep cavity of the wall of the Tower, up to a narrow window.
From which the light proceeds slowly, reverberated in shadows fluctuating from the folds of limestone; while another, more hidden point of light generates, under the stretched mantle of travertine, a protected place, almost a womb of secret birth, moist and sheltered by the look, yet so clearly perceived by the mind. Cagli's work - as extraordinary as some of the more recent and previously unpublished sculptures he proposed to Ferrara - also testifies to Giuliani's twofold tension in creating two different "places" in his sculpture, and that even though he did not they contradict each other: the one expanded and intended to capture, in the rhythm that is given, a further space compared to the one concretely occupied by the flexible stroke of the marble; the other collected and in itself concluded, aimed at generating an interior space, almost a quiet dwelling and sheltered from the clamor of the world. And since all the "figures" of Giuliani have been, since his youthful passages, always denoted by a strong symbolic charge, even this singular duplicity we can recognize an analogous value: as if the two "places" put in the image of his sculpture they are a sign of Giuliani's vocation to commune with the open and distant world, and together with turning in on itself and remaining tied to its roots