At first glance, it looks like a game. The sense of lightness of this work, S.T., 2013, come from the use of a lively palette, to represent a subject unconditioned by empirical reality. But deeper meanings can be found through a more attentive and patient analysis. Feminine figures linger with ease thanks to mechanical artifices. The fusion of sinuous, soft, delicate and almost ethereal shapes with ones more decisive, harsh and sharp ones reveals an intimate union between mechanics and nature. The metamorphosis is just pointed to: non yet extrinsic in the shapes, but ideally perceptible. Around the core, the surface of the canvass is covered by intertwining but open lines drawing special planes that extend beyond the pictorial surface, move through the frame but exceeding it, departing from the physical painting to embrace the entire reality outside it: these areas are functional to host those metamorphosis that will take place at a later time, in the most hidden thoughts of the observer.
Pietro Mancuso claims to be particularly linked to geometry – “it is embedded inside me” – , which in his production finds its expression in the fusion with those feminine shapes that intrigue him: he considers the work of art to be pure spontaneity. It’s about shaping the thoughts streaming through his mind, setting them free to occupy the surface needed by their development, which finds its apex in the deep harmony of shapes and colours.
The metamorphosis, in its continuous shifting from shape to shape, from movement to movement, leaves infinite possibilities of realization that do not need and identification. Here is the unveiling of the mystery of those faces so often absent in the subjects: they are not in need of an expression capable of identifying their roles, since they are purely the means of the everlasting metamorphosis that never comes through a stop, even in all its numerous phases.
Nonetheless, at times, a face peeps out: often a profile, as if it was drawing the first breath after making room in that bundle of stratified bodies, a three-dimensional space exceeding the borders of the pictorial surface in depth also.
The fascination for the theme of the metamorphosis has for Mancuso a profound origin: time. “I don’t have a peaceful relationship with time” he declares with a simple “I feel the need, in the moment I get ready to realize my work, of completing it as soon as possible”. The passing of time is demanding on him; in its continuous flowing, it carries new ideas and new horizons that need to be transposed and to take shape on the surface of a canvass or in the sculptural material – even if never in a definitive way – to externalize their previously hidden essence, in order to leave room for the ideas that will come. In this way, the subjects of Mancuso’s production change with the shifting of his thoughts, influenced in turn by the direct experience of the surrounding reality.
The inner life of the artist takes place in the artwork that calls on the spectator to enrich its meaning, whit their own impressions and emotions. In this way, the artistic production of the master does not wish to be a simple showcase of his soul, allowing the ones that are experiencing it to make it their personal expression as well.
In Mancuso’s work, the shape is the absolute protagonist: in fact, he expresses himself also with sculpture. Mimicking with his hands the act of shaping, he says “In the realisation of a statue, I let myself be guided by the raw material”: as if matter had its potentiality the form of its highest expression, and the artist was the agent leading it to its realisation.
In the bronze sculpture La Centaura the clay lends itself to take the curved and elegant shapes of the horse and those soft and ethereal of the feminine figure. The horse represents for Mancuso the symbol of freedom, independence, strength, beauty and nobility, all characteristics suitable enough to the description of the woman. Centaura is the expression of the metamorphosis between woman and animal, sensitivity and wildness, softness and violence: the metaphor of a strong and confident woman, depicted in a moment of disrupting passion.
The centaur is captured in its maximum physical tension. While the hind legs support the creature, the forelegs clatter strong and powerful in the vacuum of space; the physical strain of this moment is conveyed thanks to the artist’s ability of showing the tension in the abdominal area. Finally, the arms of the woman, raised to the sky, amplify the sense of momentum and power of the creature. The metamorphosis is completed, and it finds its maximum expression in this synthesis. It’s a new woman, that with the passing of time has become conscious of the strength of her femininity, a woman that becomes the symbol of freedom and independence.
The art of Mancuso is spontaneity in its purest aspects, it is harmony and balance, the willingness of shaping his imagination and his beliefs, that are sometimes hidden to himself as well, but that, nonetheless, in their externalization allow him to recognize them and make them his own. It’s his way of communicating, when words are not enough, because the essence of a man remains something unspeakable, even to the most talented orator.