The world through words:
the paintings of Vincenzo Giugliano

"To look is an act of choice," wrote art critic John Berger in his seminal work Ways of Seeing. Amid headlines, scraps of poetry and bits of magazine articles in several languages-Italian, English, French, Russian, Spanish-at first, it is difficult to know exactly where to begin to look at the work of Vincenzo Giugliano. So many images and sounds and words call out.

The first painting that I saw was "Quelli che aspettono" ("Those for whom they are waiting") completed in 2002, an image of two soldiers with guns near a barbed wire fence. In some ways, it is a simple, common image-deceptively so. Because, upon examining closer, you see that underneath this image, around and behind and on top of the soldiers are layers of words, expressions and sounds that intercross, disperse and intermingle. Add to this coats of colors-limpid, clear-and then, surprisingly, fabric.

The observer is in front of a collage that expresses both the nonsensical absurdity of war and the weakness of human beings. A metaphor for life-both ephemeral and beautiful. Because what emerges is the lyricism of the whole; he is able to assimilate diverse fragments. Just as he mixes media, so he mixes his talents of set designer, painter and graphic artist.

This is a constant throughout Giugliano's work-this mixing and assimilation in both his individual paintings and in his process. Take, for example, a later painting from 2007, "Il fantasma delle cose da cambiare" ("The ghost of things that has to change"). But as the title suggests, there is something that has changed and that will continue to change. Giugliano, both as artist and researcher continues to search-challenging and experimenting with new colors, media and expressions.

Having seen his work in Paris, Milano, and Napoli in galleries, showrooms and private collections, I can say that he assimilates and integrates new elements without apprehension. He chooses action; he chooses to look. But more than that, he chooses to act and to illustrate what he sees and experiences around him-be it the inane, insane, fragile, or the beautiful. The choice to look at Giugliano's paintings is an act-one of action and engagement.

Heather Hartley

Paris Editor, Tin House Magazine

March 2008

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