If the thought of modern man can be expressed in the Cartesian expression, "Cogito ergo sum" (I think therefore I am), for an artist like Sandro Chia, a central figure in the Transavanguardia movement and among the greatest exponents of international contemporary painting, artistic thought cannot be separated from the gesture of painting. Do not be misled by the hasty distinction made between those who use canvas and brush, and those who prefer methodologies seemingly more intellectual and cold. All current pictorial productions, in fact, are founded in a conceptual revolution, and thus it is no longer possible to consider art without regard to the primacy of intelligence and cognitive logic.
Penso quindi dipingo (I Think Therefore I Paint) is the title of one of the most significant works created by Sandro Chia, part of a solo exhibition that signals his return to London after many decades and recommences his pictorial exploration of work in a grand format, created during the period between 2000 and today.
Chia’s monumental, evocative, and sensual paintings prove consistently faithful to an idea of pure, direct, substantial art that researches through images and figures the real inspirational essence of myth and history. He uses figures with massive bodies, titans, and giants, contrasted with suspended, thoughtful, and sometimes melancholy features. He uses men and women borrowed from a distant past, but Chia places them into a reality still in flux, suspended between heaven and earth, and between metaphor and paradox. His paintings celebrate the triumph of chromaticism; if on the one hand the gestures refer to classicism, and on the other the vibrancy of the colors and bright contrasts, they reveal the peculiarities of an increasingly original but equally recognizable vision.
Chia approaches painting in a direct and even manner, placing himself above all else at the center of his reflections. His iconographic images are now familiar to us: dancers, athletes, musicians, thinkers, angels, and Harlequin masks: with these figures/symbols the painter is not suspended in time, but accepts the challenge of presenting a contemporary sensibility that also reflects specific archetypes and references. The giant figures are enclosed in spaces which, though they appear large and colorful, are hardly able to support the majesty of these bodies and, perhaps even less, their spirit.
- Luca Beatrice