“Only then I feel at peace with my conscience: having ‘recounted’ something that regards everyone, and not having limited myself to my personal little pleasures or sorrows”, Giuliano Vangi.
“Lui e Lei” is a sculpture from 2015, made of bronze and nickel, which was donated by the artist to the Museo Omero following the “Frammenti d’umanità. Giuliano Vangi e i giovani artisti” exihibition (“Fragments of Humanity, Giuliano Vangi and young artists”), at the Sixth edition of the ArteInsieme (ArtTogether) Biennale.
This sculpture, which is 60cm tall, depicts a standing man and woman in a tight embrace. The man is slightly taller and holds the woman close with his large hands. One rests on her neck, the other on her back. The woman’s face cannot be seen as it is pressed against the man’s shoulder. Her arms are also hidden by the man’s englobing embrace. We can only see half the man’s face which has a suffering expression.
The legs of each are slightly apart and they both stand firmly on the ground. The woman is barefoot with her left heel raised. Her body is tapered and she wears a simple sweater and a smooth knee-length skirt. The man, with his thick straight uncombed hair, also wears simple clothes: a shirt and long trousers.
The general tone of the bronze is characterized by warm shades, but the artist has treated the man’s hands and the woman’s legs with nickel, in order to better highlight the naked parts. Attributing different shades to the material, by means of patinas or inserts of different materials, is a characteristic typical of Vangi’s style. The surfaces are polished, making the tactile experience pleasant. The strong plasticity the artist has given to the material conveys the meaning of the work more effectively and dramatically.
An embrace beyond love, that has something desperate in it: meeting again after a long misadventure? A last passionate goodbye before a farewell? An extreme display of affection between two lovers before a parting?
This is a new iconography in the work of Vangi, who had always explored the fragility of contemporary man. The artist studies Man’s relationship with the world, with the Other, his emotionality, his psyche. Then he shows these tensions through the bodies in his sculptures, in their dynamism or immobility, their facial expressions and their gestures.
Photo: Maurizio Bolognini. Museo Tattile Statale Omero Archive.