mixed techniques on paper, 105x165cm - 2015

Babbo, facciamo che tu disegni e io coloro? 
Facciamo che tu tracci le linee con le penne, 
ed io coloro dentro gli spazi con le matite 
che voglio, senza che tu mi dica nulla? 

by Giusi Affronti

Angelo Sturiale worked hard for a year on his "great fresco of signs", between Sicily (at Zafferana Etnea, where he lives) and the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and New Mexico in the USA. Starting from the manual practice of writing on a pentagram, the artist composes, decomposes and recomposes geography, architecture and inner microcosms, wisely woven into tangles and forms that could potentially expand without borders: an "all-over" of graphemes, meanings and sounds that multiplies endlessly.
The suggestion comes from the Sicilian printer Angelo Buscema: a large format drawing on paper for engraving, where the use of pencils and ink pens is combined with acrylics. This is the first time that color has appeared in Angelo Sturiale's ten-year graphic production. Colors, sequences, and shapes are calculated in white paper space using procedures derived from dodecaphonic serialization techniques in music; this rational and mathematical procedure deprives the adult artist of the ability to discern and select them instinctively and at will, resulting in an anarchic, "natural," and thus childish variety.
Like a continuous flow, his drawings vibrate on paper, alternating empty and full spaces, backgrounds of darkness and polychrome morphologies. They are swirling staves of the soul, sophisticated organisms that branch out and dialogue incessantly. As only art can make art, as only in life does it happen.
The obsessive graphic crowding that characterizes the artist's drawing is propagated by the richness of words and the hypothetic overabundance of a text taken from his book "Tempeste di te" (2015, Algra Editore), that recounts the complexity of the parental relationship between father and son. As if it were a stream of consciousness noted at the margin between one interval and the next, with pencils still, he explains the "Horizontal Poem": this must be covered with the eye - and with the fingers, if possible - as you do with an atlas, a map, a tapestry, a code, a vocabulary. A passionate dialogue in two voices, a four-handed composition: pens, black ink, and the rational rigor of the adult-father meet and clash with the expressive universe of the child-son, made up of pencils, colors, and anarchic freedom.
Angelo Sturiale is a multifaceted artist: a composer with ink on his fingertips, an omnivorous researcher of harmonies. He graduated in classical piano at the Conservatory, but music entered his life as a child, thanks to his father.
Bach, Xenakis, Cage, Kagel, Stockhausen. His research is characterized by untiring experimentation on the relationship between sign and sound. Sturiale's aesthetics develop like a texture composed of rhythmic contrasts of full and empty, symbols of notations invented from scratch by the author, which sometimes even emancipate from the musical performance. The "seibutsu" and the graphic maps are born from the imaginary transcoding from the formal sequentiality of a musical composition to the multiplicity of observation times of a two-dimensional representation.
"It is not possible to explain in words or describe in a list of things or acts the sequence that leads to the recognition of the beginning and end of a drawing. A combination of factors, synergies, logical and irrational elements, inner and outer temperatures, moods, randomness, extreme calculation, and muscular mechanics ensures that a set of traits that appear very ordered to the naked eye take shape on a paper surface."It is a question of system, chemistry, physico-chemistry, a perfect combination of paper and pen, ink and color, curves and straight lines, meditation and mental chaos, precision and abandonment, instinct and rigor".
According to the Oriental lesson, there is no center in "Horizontal Poem." To be in front of a white surface with pens and pencils in our hands is a gesture of abandonment, a visceral action of mania: to design a universe that collects another, lying on a sheet of paper, the dense whirlwind of thoughts and desires, memories and dreams that shake awkwardly and lyrically within each of us. The "individual mythology" of an artist, paraphrasing Harald Szeemann, is a spiritual and exclusive place where the individual places those signs, symbols, and signals that mean the world to him: an attempt to oppose the great disorder of the world with his own imaginary order, which always arises from an obsession, from a compulsive need to create at the service of an inner journey.

"Horizontal Poem" is an open, non-linear, analog, and universal work. It brings the spectators together, without any hierarchical order, around a table: that of art, that of the family, that of life.

Dad, what about if you draw and I color?
What about if you trace the lines with the pens,
and I color inside the spaces with the pencils I want,
without you saying anything?

And the exact and precise black of the contours and borders between the forms and sections of this great fresco of sign, makes itself a metaphor to contain the abandonments of the infant-me-baby, the irrational gestures of the many colors-pleasures at will or random, that at home disclose and waste among distractions and sudden headfirst trips, among the imaginations and the fantasy delineating and consecrating spaces and paragraphs, at random geographies, immature maps, among the most anarchist and most ancient postcards and handwritings.
And the verbalism you read here is thus mature, with the writing and thoughts surrounding it resembling the actions and facts of old wise men, elderly philosophers, or flatterers.And the immature child that is mine through instinct and uncontrolled line, reveals himself to the eyes and hearts of those who listen, and to the ears and souls of those who observe or glimpse a sea of signs or rivers of sketches.
And yes, still the innocent myself as a little creature following with the fearless pencil and scratched by multiple uses and a few years of life -three or maybe four- before the unconscious perimeter of dreams and figures of rainbows and kites, of bowels and vipers among endless spaces and circumscribed areas of suspension and reason and calculation, between the precipices and the abysses of void and black, of nets and trapezes with which the circus of life feeds and slaps him of passion and anarchy. And it is made of gold, this precious portion of paper on which I reflect and color by myself as a baby.

And with your black mature ink, dad, you guide and contain me, you hold me, you channel me the uncontrollable joy of the lines and my only instinct that I can’t read or describe by myself yet, the incomplete curves or the incapable and distracted segments make for me automatic poetry that jokes alone and gets tired too fast. Colors as toys: once we've taken one of them, it immediately annoys us: another one, and still another one. Or as figurines to be stuck lopsided or inverted on the albums of the mythical heroes or on the shutters of the bicolored lockers!
And your straight-half straight lines relax me, dad. They protect me, they destroy me in just one second of dreads and fears and go crazy rudders. Because you are my ship, the lighthouse, you are my keeper, even if I have never known you or you have gone away, even if you have made fun of me or refused, even if you have disappeared or have already gone.
Because if I fall, if I bleach or slobber the contours, true or imagined dad, you bring me inside the boat of my life for ideal constitution, you fish out from the ocean of the chaos in which I grew up with no help or guide, because I remember that your only semen among the chaos of the oceans and maternal liquids has chosen me anyway…
And the circles-semicircles, the thin, smooth or curly lines split apart in the drawing as broken hair, torn by the boat of the danger from which I often risked falling, the shoelaces of the tiny boots that thanks to you I learned to knot, and the arabesques or transparent cobwebs that the drivels and humors between mouth and nose have dirtied with sweet, natural, and inevitable tenderness the space around us.

And I always play with the risk, dad, throwing the pencils and their points from the balcony of the gardens of my existence, indifferent, only when I want it, when I have a desire for it, when I laugh or cry for only one instant, during the equinox or the solstice of a transitory planet.
And what will be made of these little objects and hints of figures? Are these sketches and squirts everywhere? Are these splinters and sprays without rhyme? These little things looking like plants or flowers, these unpleasant signs and ugliness that seem to mop? Where will these irregular lines, these garish maps, this chaotic system in which there is everything and there is nothing, in which I undress and dress myself again, feeling so naked but also so awake? Where do the measures and the figures of these symbols get lost? And these psychedelic constellations of color? And these outlined tastes in which foods and childish ingredients are smeared between tables and serviettes, between bedspreads and forearms, a stain of color in the face dried with dirtied palms and backhanders?
The attempts at writing, the awkward symbols, the impossible figures, and the unlikely numbers confused between pride and exhibitionism, between the narcissism of the egotist, adult or child, it doesn’t matter right now. Because among these liquid layouts with the sweat of the time and these wound stones as secrets and diadems between so many signs and words, there is the baby that I believe to have been and the dad that I will never be, between myself as an infant of the memoirs transfigured by the time and the dreams-desires delineated by the verb of an ideal and decadent paternity.

A birth in continuous negation, dad, a death that affirms itself whenever nothing or nobody is not seen around me, every time that dies or a project-danger collapses, a challenge or a perverse symptom, that an idea makes it static or withers a form of life and thought still in genesis: that's why the thousand lines as thousand feet traced at random between the irrational fist and the hoard of colored pencils And the white and black forms that wind up, define, and underline them among the semen and polychrome segments, among the so many trips and autumn afternoons waiting that I fell asleep between the arms of forgetfulness and silence.
children's colors and light-dark adults', mad-colors and wise-black colors, psychotic colors and sidereal charcoals, colors without rules and inks between so much rigor and colors in disorder and invisible darkened cuttlefishes, by orders, by equilibriums, by mathematical universal symbiosis. That's why the drawing that you see here as a whole, makes itself all together like a baby with funny and twisted legs, with the yellow and strong square and the immature nursery rhyme, a proverb outlined between joke and sneer, the tired and loud repeated motto among the grey colors or the senile whites, between the breath and the sweat of an old man or grandfather, and of his affectionate embrace to the approach of a sunset.

And the blackened underground paths, among the life roads and the social worms as perennial garbage, between lotus flowers and delicate buds, between the admired orchids and the rare birch trees, between the luxuriant peonies and the ritual chrysanthemums, the blackened paths by confinements and florid grounds, by an absolute, shiny, compact black. 
And the lateral volcano, with its leaves and flames, colors thrown by eruptions and lavas, shakes and paroxysms, egoisms, sirens and snakes, fire languages and wild mouths; the mountain, dad, your rage and anger, uncontrollable vigor and hormones, the libido that never withdraws from anything, not even your rigor. 
And also myself, dad, with my incorrigible volcano of amazement and disorder, between notebooks and pencils, little soldiers and dolls, combs and guns, syntagms and constructions, poems and distractions. All of that gold, all of that money, all of your time spent giving me and paying me life, the school, the hot dogs, the robots, and the construction! Gold covered by black, gold covered by mud, gold and tears, gold and smiles, projects, utopias. And me, as a small child, to dirty, stain, or tear the thin veil of your breath, or be concerned about me, dad. And you watch over -even if without strength anymore-, that nothing upset my sleep and my background mentioned the life and the inevitable loneliness of our existences. This is the drawing of a whole life as a cycle that determines the exact dimension of a comet. This is a talk between us in a secret code, a nonexistent language to the others and invisible to everybody, because we understand each other only in the impossibility of openly communicating our eternal conflicts and precious discords, beloved dad.

And it doesn't matter whether you've been a hero, a hated or beloved father, whether you've been able to protect or sustain me with legs or money: these lines and isosceles, these quadrilaterals of the soul, these pentagons of love and pain that we've provoked in each other, you as a father and me as a child, will no longer belong to our union when you stop existing on this transitory and precarious earth.
The cries that I will pour on you will be worth nothing among the winds and the void of your death or trip to the other world. They are the same cries that you used to address me instead, when I worried you. You were disobedient and fearless, and you became deeply rabid without delay. And these colors, dad, that can be seen and glimpsed among the sharp net of deformations and chromatic lacerations, are not merely metaphors for the errors and horrors of a war that, whether in a real field or within the confines of a house, has forged my inner reality, has given form to my obsessions and pleasures, has given a perimeter to traumas and dreams, to violence and needs.
And the wheels of life, their bicycles, the pedals. And for so many meters or tiles to be wrong, to fall, to revert, to rise again, to appear strong in front of you, not to surrender for an instant to the void of life, you who used to take my anxieties in your hands, me upsetting my desires on you. And competing even if it was not needed, because our fights of adults, of equals, of males, of men, were always games anyway, projections of those struggles-plays that as a child I used to watch on TV and wanted to imitate together with you, dad. And therefore, you were only a model to follow, an exercise, a puppet or manikin with whom to train for the many and necessary fists and kicks that life would have afterwards reserved for me. But I didn't know yet, dad, I was still a kid.

And the forms or contours of kids, of adults, of animals, of colored objects of experience, among the letters of a universal alphabet and the rough figures between the chromatic contrasts and the pearls. And the lines and the curves among the tunnels, that stamp on levels and overlap senses with concepts, meanings with contradictions, reflections with chaotic and unfathomable astronomies in which meeting and clash happen, in which we can embrace or reject us, chained dad. It's difficult to tell how much of this wild plot of ink is true, thickened over time by words and disputes, quarrels and dilemmas, struggles and claims.
It is even more difficult to ignore the pushes toward the heart, the affections and the tenderness, the moments spent touching us between the silences and the breaks, the mouthfuls of air and the voids, the emotions and the multiple whys. Everything has a white and a black side to it, dad. A yin and yang of the soul, an open notebook, a jumbled and disorganized diary, an anthology of our and others' doubts and perplexity.
But us, still here, tying us and being wrong, cancelling the portions of the sign and the inevitable discomforts, the perimeters of the many creative spaces among the embarrassing uneasiness, between the distances and the words, the drawings and the intentions. And therefore, dad, let's open and close within ourselves, right now: there is no other way, no other time. The night has already fallen upon us.