Palazzo Monti is pleased to present "No Art At All", Franco Cervi's solo show, curated by Giovanni Cavalleri. The exhibition celebrates unpublished works by the Milanese artist, partially realized during his residence in February 2018.
«Less art and more matter».This is Gertrude's caustic reply to Polonius, when he announced her the madness of her son Hamlet in Shakespeare's tragedy.
The same answer is found at the origin of the work of Franco Cervi, but more than an answer, an affirmation in his case: Franco's works are not the result of an investigation, they are not hypotheses or points of view. The object of his interest is not questionable, he is not subject to interpretation: it is the absolute, the fundamental.Less art then, or even better, No Art At All, as Shakespeare's Polonius tries to defend itself: «I swear I use no art at all».
The minimalism of Franco is not in fact the result of a formal research: it is the most natural and sincere way of concretizing its subjects. It is not the same Art opposed by Plato, depiction of shadows, derivative of a derivative. It is rather the symbol of the idea itself. In the renunciation of expressiveness -and in a certain way the resulting authorship - lies the disappearance of art from Franco's art. It is in adopting a deductive method which, more than the artist's, belongs to the scientist who reduces the complexity of a natural phenomenon to a formula; or of the mathematician who solves an equation whose result is already written in the equation itself and waits only to be reduced to its minimal form.
The renunciation of rhetoric, an art of persuasion, makes Franco's work frank but far from eloquent: a paradox of Nature itself. The more it is investigated in depth, the more it becomes reticent. The closer you get to its essence, the more hidden it is.
The elusive nature of the exhibited works requires a cognitive effort on the part of the observer. An effort without which they remain fascinating objects produced with great precision but without being able to reveal the depth and complexity that lies behind their enigmatic appearance, as well as an entire galaxy, seen sufficiently from a distance, appears as a simple bright spot.
The Arrays series, as well as Screen, represent both a manifesto of intent and a warning to the visitor: the intimate nature of Franco's works hidden in their appearance. Appearance that can be ambiguous, but never wants to be deceptive.Arrays are placement exercises that reveal an unexpected complexity behind apparently indistinguishable monotony. Screen introduces us to the proportions derived from the golden section that can be observed in other works on display.
Source 2 and Source 3 show another recurring aspect of Franco's practice: the interest in facing the same subject from different points of view, and the desire to portray it in different dimensions. The titles of these two works refer to the source of the emission we see represented: the point, which is also the subject of Untitled no. 2, Untitled no. 3, and of One no. 2.
At last, there are the two works produced by Franco during his period of residence at Palazzo Monti: PMR no. 1 and PMR no. 4. Similar in intention and method of realization in Source no. 3 (the only works on paper made by hand), these are two-dimensional transpositions of a three-dimensional work, in this case U11, monolith in Belgian black marble whose proportions correspond to the square of the numbers 1, 2 and 3.Part of the exhibition is dedicated to the process that anticipates the realization of Franco's works. It is a design process before being creative. Sketches, drafts and schemes are made of an idea whose solidity does not depend on the precision in the drawing as much as on the mathematical relationships on which they are based. These pamphlets contain the extreme synthesis of the process that led from the conception to the design of a series of works; they represent a reserve of works in power that are considered resolved here, even before their material realization.