Eduardo Pla

REFLECTIONS AND TRANSPARENCIES OF ART. Edoardo Pla’s project for the tenth edition of OPEN, the International Exhibition of Sculptures and Installations, is inspired by a permanent sculpture, installed this January in the city of Punta del Este to mark the centenary of its foundation. The sculpture is made of parallel metal planes into which bursts a sphere that looms over the permanent imminence of the plane.The idea of the work that is to be installed at Lido reproposes this rupture of space, but in this case the material used and a few changes made to the surface of the sphere aim to represent the importance of transparency and luminosity that goes beyond the spherical concept. In choosing glass as the basic material and light as the support that represents the work, the implied idea is to redeem earthly poetry from its obscure contemporary status. Pla’s work is typically convoluted, in the mannerist sense of the term which, through the elegance of the image, presents the artist’s melancholy universe, always veined with the sense of increasing mental doubt and with existential attention. Pla’s open-air sculpture follows a thread of intentional lightness that aims to pass through feelings and establish the precariousness of a moving significance in the awareness of the spectator. While art traditionally disconcerts and frightens the beholder by altering present meanings, the art of Edoardo Pla tries to drive out such easy, apocalyptic ghosts, which produce only a shock to the emotions, and to open a door in knowledge. “The outrage to things” is not frontal but the attack comes quite rightly from the side, according to the dictates of contemporary culture pervaded by elements of human knowledge, which has created both in the artist and in the intellectual of our century a healthy sense of perplexity mixed with the awareness of the impossible frontal use of language, which is not suited for frontal denominations. For this reason Pla presents fragments of images related to one another by unprecedented links which produce an evident complication, a conflict of relationships, all played on the superficialism of a space understood as a place for outward projection and reversal, towards a vision that flows in all directions except towards the depth of perspective. Pla’s neo-enlightenment lies in the modern awareness of not being able to perform acts of iconographic orthopaedics, not being able to enclose in an impossible static order the mobility of the fragments that make up the pieces of the final image. All this is achieved outside any apocalyptic mentality, without the nostalgia of a central viewpoint, but making use of an intentional lightness of style, offered by a cultural attitude that tries not to remove complexity but rather to present it in the essentiality of the image. Because art is not “the friend of reality and reflection", it is not an accomplice of external reality, but rather the tool that enhances its conflicts and highlights its perplexities.The acceptance of all this requires linguistic tools that emphasise consent, that valorise the definition, establishing it in the paradoxical direction of a clarity filled with perplexities. Perplexity is not a symptom of a pessimism of thought, but rather the confirmation of the impossibility of choosing between the clarity of the intellect and the obscurity of the deep. Only art can dwell in the ubiquitous realm of dual possibility, indeed it is the only possibility dictated by the web woven between imagination and intellect, between analytic and synthetic drive. The absurd is distinguished from the obscure not simply because it does not allow itself to be completely illuminated. Its peculiarity lies in the fact that it closes the door to all rationalisation: it can be interpreted, but not explained. In this sense every authentic work of art is absurd. Each one remains insolubly mysterious. Shakespeare knew just as little whether the extraordinary relationship between Hamlet and his mother originated in something like an Oedipus complex, as Becket knew who Godot was.” (A. Hauser, The Sociology of Art .)The modern “absurd” of Edoardo Pla lies in the acceptance of a constituent absurdity of things which leads him not to force the image with material impetus, but rather to organise it, backing up that residue of inexplicability of art which corresponds to that of life. But whereas life sometimes places man in a state of siege to attempt rationalisation, artistic creation replaces this attempt with the possibility of an interpretation that always respects the unexplainable rest. To keep up this duality, Pla shifts the clarity of this concept into the gleam of the image, he adopts objects in a design without flesh where visual naming does not replace things but reproduces a suspicion of them.In this way art is not a dogmatic and assertive practice, it relinquishes the role of a strong refoundation of reality to assume the one that reminds us of the transient sense of appearance and, at the same time, the definitive role of the conceptual grid that supports it. A kind of disillusionment and irony supports Edoardo Pla’s compositions, illuminated by an internal gleam that denotes a path of augmentative processing, as it not only shifts the location of reality from its initial static position, but also valorises its ability to relate, a suspicion that can only be arrived at through the artist’s creative and uninhibited imagination.

The “… inherent mystery of art expresses its ability to be appropriated, that which, despite all attempts at interpretation, remains inexplicable and incomprehensible… The mystery is imposed on art by the non artistic natural of reality and the artist, as someone estranged from society, imposes hermeticism on himself…” (A. Hauser, The Sociology of Art .)The respectful sense of perplexity corresponds to the awareness that not only the mystery of art cannot be appropriated, but also the mystery of life itself. The only path open to the artist is to start off from the clarity of all this, from the apparent clarity of things, to arrive at the gleam of the sculpture which, in the half-light of its own evidence, represents the enactment of the feeling of perplexity. Pla’s secular perplexity produces an iconographic universe of painting, sculpture and drawing which betrays uncertainties, if anything a “passion that is liberated in detachment” as indicated by Goethe to define irony. An effective weapon for delicately controlling the deep drives involved in every creation and, at the same time, for protecting without dogmatism the conceptual grid that is indispensable for every operation concerning the intellect and the hand. Including sculpture.

Achille Bonito Oliva