Ivan Cangelosi


Painting with the colors of words



MUSEUM OF THE WRITING AND OF THE SIGN – Strada da Bertolla all’Abbadia di Stura, 200, 10156 – Turin

PALERMO F.C. MUSEUM – “Renzo Barbera” Stadium. Viale del Fante 11, 90146 Palermo

GALERIE IMMOBILIEN – Landstraßer Haupstraße 74, 1030 – Vienna. 

ATELIER – Heiligenstädter Straße 5/10 – 1190 Vienna

It is ancestral the relationship between art and Writing – intended as the materiality of writing and not only its content -, moreover in the way in which this relationship is traditionally considered as the noblest, that is literature.

Let us consider the depicted nature, at first pictographic in order to seek the correspondence between thing and sign, then ideographic when it is the notion that must be expressed, that characterizes the beginnings of writing, according to a line of continuity that in the history of the universal civilization put together the Ancient Egypt to the present China, where people still communicate by ideograms. The turning point in the evolution of writing, it is when the focus moves from sight to sound, freeing it from the need that it shared at most with art: the representation of the world.

 Hence, a gap of intents, protracted until art, or at least that one recognizing itself in the so called “Avant-gard”, placed itself on the same level of the writing, even denying its depicting purpose. After Cy Twombly, for whom the manual writing, often asemantic (that is bereft of verbal meanings), becomes a reason for specific informal reflection, Joseph Kosuth pushes his Conceptualism to go beyond art, searching in the “Writing” the negation of all its aesthetic ambitions.

 Which is the position, with respect to these ineluctable precedents, of the “neo-amanuens” art of Ivan Cangelosi, amazing in his contriving images, perfectly figured through manual transcription of entire literary works, as it would be the case of a tapestry? In a way not only manually, but also intellectually fine: the writing cannot be merely form, as Twombly would say, not merely content, as Kosuth would state, because the Writing has a form, and every form, as it has been shown by the Avant-gard, can be “aestheticized”. Therefore, the conciliation Cangelosi proposes submits the prerogatives of literary textuality to compliance with other textuality to live with, those of figurative art. The work of Ivan Cangelosi is therefore innovative, essential in its complex language. In fact, he seems to be able to grasp the essential core that lies behind a thought. An operation of a great linguistic ability, opened moreover to infinite developments.

Prof. Vittorio Sgarbi – Historian and Art Critic

Handwriting as an artistic medium and a way to perceive the flowing of time. by Ivan Cangelosi

 When we write by hand, what we leave on the paper is not simply a graphic sign, but a sign of ourselves.

Making art with words is something that has its roots in the history of art. Miniaturists and scribes in the Middle Ages knew well that words, being images, were also made to be seen, a theme taken up by various currents in the 1960s, a period in which it began, thanks to artists such as Mario Merz, Alighiero Boetti and Emilio Isgrò in Italy, a reflection on the visual and expressive power of language as a new medium to make art.

Writing by hand, it is known, represents a form of self-education of thought, it leaves room for imagination, learning, reflection. And leave room for your own time.

Time is perhaps the only thing we really own; it is the intangible substance of which we are made. Our body is temporal: by changing and aging it shows us the flowing of time, as well as “made of time” is our mind which, through memory, reminds us who we are and who we were. Try to imagine losing your memory completely: you will understand that, together with your memory and the time contained in it, you would lose yourself. We and our time are then the same thing. We are not the ones who own it: it is the time that owns us, and takes us where it wants, back and forth in the past and in the future, and sometimes above, far above, in that world of ours above where everything is wonderful, fantastic, perhaps improbable but still possible. Wasting one’s time, therefore, basically means wasting oneself. It means getting lost and throwing oneself away.

Making art through the medium of handwriting therefore has a meaning that goes beyond the creative process tout court; in my opinion it means to graphically accompanying the flowing of time, because the tip of the pen tracing the minute geometric ups and downs of handwriting on the paper, constitutes a soft gesture that ideally detects the flow of time. And thanks to this gesture, I can fully enjoy my time, be the absolute master of it, because I seem to feel it flowing in my veins.