We stop living; do not deep turbo
to look for but veil the veins,
from four points of the world
life in figures comes to me.
Piccolo's memory came back to me, I do not know why now, thinking of Giuliani's work. Perhaps because Piccolo is so strongly endured to the earth, to its perfumes and resistances, to its sweet malaise: as is Giuliano; or as it has always seemed to me. Slow, stubborn, patient in his search, as the matter that he has chosen imposes on him. At the end of which, there is every time an unexpected discovery, a figure that was inside and slips out, which comes from who knows where. That flows without the ease that Piccolo has hoped for himself, but with similar certainty. Now, I think back to some work by Giuliani, in front of which I tried, in the long years that our solidarity has lasted, the emotion that is felt in the face of beauty. First, one of those works, of simple concept, of almost elementary design, which he called Mattezzine: perhaps adhering to a dialectal habit, almost to a family lexicon, which infamed, taming, the term of matteria, eccentricity.
They are sheets of stone, animated just by a brief swelling, as if they were welcoming a breath or a breath, on the light skin. Sometimes in pairs, they then fold one on top of the other, one next to the other, in a mutual close, as if they were hugging each other. Bowing, exchanging the role: I support you who support me in turn. They just rise up on the floor, those sheets that are full or paired, as if they were incredulous to exist. They are finally very certain, sailing in the wind, resisting him. Half smooth, half corrugated: so that the light makes a double play on them here slips away, fast; here it congeals, lingers, crackles.
Stones are, and yet they look like wind, whisper. Digged, as it is always in Giuliani, in travertine, of which they enclose the cavities, the holes, the sudden revelations; the amazements and memories. He once said that "travertine is the stone that God prefers, full of life, of pores, of souls"; and who looks for in his body a "suggestion, made of drawings and doughs of signs". And it is the possible surprise to find a void, to run into, while its stone makes thin, in a small chasm, to foment these elementary images with mystery, to make them like ghosts, shrouds of a presence that rises in the body of matter, and there it hides from the look, as if waiting to be unveiled.
And again: I look at the Untitled that Giuliani has left in a pertugio of a fortress of Cagli, commissioned by Francesco di Giorgio Martini to guard the country of the Marches, and today home to a rare civic collection of contemporary sculpture. It is a thin veil of travertine that extends into the deep cavity of the Tower's wall, 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 as sheltered from the look. The curve of stone is wedged in that hole; and it frees itself in the collected space that hosts it. Some of the essential gestures that Giuliani makes on the limestone block return in the work of Cagli: the thinning, imposed until the stone is reduced to a thin sheet, of which the gaps are accepted and exalted: here healed by the plaster or from the resin, with a repair gesture; there instead left in sight. While the light - tenuous, and like emerging from an amnion - flickers just through them. And again, that bend the slab in sinuous, almost dancing movements: subtracting them from the stentorean peremptoriness of the geometric figure (of which Giuliani is frightened, so much so that almost out of his plastic is the right angle), and giving them a rhythm, capable to give impetus to the form beyond the material boundaries of the work.
Cagli's work - extraordinary, like many of the most recent and previously unpublished sculptures he has proposed today - also testifies to Giuliani's twofold tension in creating two different "places" in his sculpture, and which, however, do not contradict each other. one another: 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 distant dwelling and sheltered from the clamor of the world. This is the place of concealment, "of emptiness and silence"; a place collected and closed in itself, until it becomes a nook, a shelter. A place where the shadow dwells, barely struck by the short blades of light that penetrate the wounds on the stone; and with it, perhaps, the mystery.
A third of his work, in part different (and compared to the Mattezzine and to the more recent Cagli without title), marks another important milestone in Giuliani's work: and it is the baptismal font of the church of San Pietro Martire in Ascoli Piceno. I believe it can be said to be one of the rare masterpieces of contemporary sacred sculpture. In it Giuliani demonstrates in the first instance the talent to bend his research to the nature of the place where the work will take place (but "in certain places it is easy for a God to appear", he once said to Carlo Lorenzetti) and the symbolic meaning that it will have to assume. A large tub rises in the environment: it is a warning, and at the same time it is welcoming: womb, once again. Its dimensions, imperfectly circular, unite it without apparent effort to the ancient, bare and strong lines of the architecture that surrounds it. And in the spatiality that the Source determines those lines seem to have repercussions, different and still amplified.
The highest level that the margina, endlessly wounded by the erosion to which the stone block has been subjected, in search of the lightness to which all Giuliani's sculpture aspires, is here and there integrated by the resin, designed to heal the most evident fractures ; and, swept up in continuous waves, that plane swings softly, as if it wanted to take flight. Over there, in the cavity of the eroded block, beyond that undulating surface where water will be collected, a shadow cave opens up, which the gaze can only imperfectly probe, but of which - mysteriously - knows how to listen to the echo: in a silent dialogue between "immanence" and "beyond" of which, as he once said, Giuliani intended to nourish his sculpture. Finally, everything in this source has the simplicity, purity, breath of absolute that has always belonged to Giuliani's best sculpture. Since, in a long time ago, he imagined his own Sail swollen with air and wind, when, ten years later, he was just bending one of his large sheets of stone with a slight curvature: almost like that sheet, the page of a book (Parabola, 2000). "Stop for a moment and look to the side ... I would like a timid and humble sculpture," he wrote. But then also, on the contrary, it was open to the dream: "To dig stone, to possess it, to dominate it is to seek and find God". In the long stroke of the pendulum between these ineffable distances lies the soul of Giuliani. On the one hand, marking with little, looking for the interior, pursuing the shadow in the heart of things: thinking back to the little that he granted to the adventurous dream, not far from his travertine quarry in Colle San Marco, a painter as loved by him as Osvaldo Licini (who warned: "signs, and not dreams"). On the other, with equal hope, the most difficult, the most boundless of dreams.