Reopen 911

“Facit indignatio versus” : it was indignation which motivated the painting of these works by Giovanni Crescimanni; a social duty not shouted out yet intransigent. There is indignation when we note that many of the most tragic events in recent decades, both in Italy and internationally, culminating in the catastrophic attack on the Twin Towers in New York, remain shrouded in mystery, in reticence, in the unlikeliness of the conclusions made public by the commission of enquiry. There is obscurity and suspicion were instead clarity and the transparent behaviour of state powers should have been imposed. One thinks instinctively of the controversial involvement of intelligence departments and of secret services; one thinks of the massacres in the turbulent seventies in Italy, beginning with piazza Fontana (however Crescimanni delves further back into the past and dedicates one of the works in this exhibition to the cruel slaying of Portella delle Ginestre). But one also thinks of the many obscure events which have taken place in the United States, beginning with the assassination of president Kennedy and leading up to the attack on Twin Towers. The fact is this: Crecimanni always stimulated by intellectual curiosities, is driven by the duty to take note of the considerable incongruences between the official versions and the more probable course of those terrible events. These incongruences are also repeatedly underlined by authoritative American commentators who are above suspicion. Furthermore, our artist is also an engineer, and he has had, based on his own professional competence, the possibility to examine and reject certain unlikely conclusions (such as that regarding the resistance of a steel structure to collapse). This drive has taken him afar, even along other paths, and induces him to reflect on the remote (chronologically) yet systematic inclination of power to adopt, and then to conceal through arrogance, wicked mechanisms. Crescimanni has individuated, among his readings, an exemplary episode which could almost be considered as a prototype. In his stories, Herodotus, a writer who never concealed his commitment to verifying his sources, so much so as to justify the title “Father of History”, enounced his ‘authentic’ version of the kidnapping of Helen (and the treasures of Menelao) by Paris, or maybe, overwhelmed by the weight of the habitual interpretation, and amplified by the force of the myth and the poetry, nobody afterwards diverged from the Greek historians version. A removal, father of many other removals, of many other successive ‘official’ vulgates. But, being a painter, the indignation of Crescimanni did not remain abstract, confined to the ambit of opinion and privately spoken words. It cast into mayhem the usual palette of the artist, attested to by the range of ochres and blues, these latter evocative of a certain oriental taste. He has introduced the shrill red of blood and of flames; the smoky black of combustion. And so this exhibition was born in which the artist proposes to us about twenty works, some of oils, others of gouaches , and a disquieting demonic polished ceramic figure, testimony to a more solitary operative side of manual and plastic creativity. And it is this indignation which has swept away the refined elegance, the measured tonal harmony which impresses outlines and the plots of Giovanni Crescimanni’s paintings which we once knew. And this indignation which has shattered the aniconic lexicon, and in an overbearing stimulus of adhesion to reality, he made presences emerge, passages of explicit figural adhesion: the shattered walls at the station in Bologna (and the stopped clock to signal forever the time of the explosion); the bloodied seats of, the deflagration of via D’Amelio, the twin towers in flames after the aircrafts impacted, the compacted debris at ground zero. Art marked with civil engagement would seem to have seen its day, hegemonic until the seventies, often invalidated by rhetorical compromises, and today in disgrace, avoided as an exhibition of bad manners. Conformity is always suspect. Crescimanni should be recognised for having freely expressed his own ideas, paying little heed (justly) of going against the tide.

Carlo Fabrizio Carli, “Presentazione a mostra “REOPEN911”