The embodied tree

Movement, the body, the trunks of certain trees, paint, canvas, paper, energy, matter, multiplicity and unity: it’s in a jumble that these things are intertwined.

The body wished to escape its condition as a living appendage and reclaim its wholeness, its unity, its capacity for complete attention, from the tips of its hair to the soles of its feet and in its every identifiable and untold layer. It was this body in search of experience that encountered the bodies of those old olive trees in Apulia, and that has since gravitated to and around the tree, even far from it and in front of a canvas.

The tree is the subject of a plastic exploration of bodies.

Painting quickly becomes the field of play for four tools: color, canvas, brush and then palette knife, and body—the latter manipulated by its contact with the tree.

A first series of painting, The Primary, is marked by the theatre of bodies and colors. Another theatre opens with D-Frag, in which paintings are simultaneously the arena for and interlocutors of musicians, actors, and dancers in a play written directly with the audience.

Gradually the paint molts, its theatrical stage empties, the colors quit the décor in order to hold the bodies tight, leaving the canvas underneath raw and resonant in its nudity. Each painting becomes the occasion for color and canvas pair to affirm each other as vitalizing sources. From these domestic quarrels emerge the paintings in The Raw series, in which the naked canvas repels the color into a corner, the vital structure of the form.

The tree is doubled.

The subject, the corporeal image of the tree, spits little bits of its own burnt matter before itself. Charcoaled comfort! The charcoal banishes oil and canvas to free the imprint of the corporeal image of the tree, black on white paper. These works with charcoal give rise to the Descending series, a dozen drawings on paper.

As with the canvas, the body is caught up in the relation between charcoal and paper, affirming the vitalizing source of each one with a formally different result. The tree’s corporeal image is no longer present except through its burnt matter. Craft opens a field whose subject is the encounter between the tools of body, charcoal/chalk/ink, and paper.

The presence of wood matter is not only manifested by charcoal. In the form of larger or smaller shavings, raw wood, along with metal and silk, gives rise to the Tree-Cycle installation.

The tree is multiplied.

It becomes the subject of and material for a dreamlike mobile installation, an oasis of nature arisen in the city, site of a reestablished link with the vitalizing sources of energy and tranquility, with the precious time, slow and enduring, of plant matter. The beloved tree becomes a lover, making something indispensable out of intimate contact with its material and immaterial being.

A small step on a path of understanding that lets a universe of incommensurable fertility make itself known.