Photos and text by Ruben Natal- San Miguel, November 2022
''You select Beauty of Life and Beauty Afterlife ''
- Emanuel Gargano
Italian artist and designer Emanuel Gargano was born in Assisi, Umbria. This area profoundly shaped his creative and emotional sensibilities, and he continues to live and work there in spite of several experiences that brought him to different parts of the globe. After graduating from the ISIA (Superior Institute of Arts and Industry) of Urbino, he moved to London and collaborated with architects and artists. While there, he successfully grasped the calling to blend the concepts of "void" and "nothingness" regarding space, color and time. This is his own unique expression and perspective towards art.
Currently Gargano's professional life is carried out between London and his laboratory in Assisi, where he studies and develops his art approach and material research. It would be impossible to confine his multifaceted activities to a single professional field, as his work ranges from architecture to design - the study of light and arts. His works reveal a deep fascination with natural and synthetic materials, and he forges any kind of physical matter in search of its innermost soul, a process that is likely parallel to what life itself continues to do with him day by day.
''Eschatology'' -Eternal Forms
Originally from Carrara, Italy, Gargano uses marble and sandpaper from the same region of Italy to create magnificent sculptural urns for ashes and wall works. To be precise, they originate from the same first cave of the late genius artist, Michelangelo Buonarroti. The marble was commissioned/ given to Gargano to create such works. Also, he works as an art director for the Buonarroti cave. The art sculptural ash urns produced by him are of different forms and sizes.
The way his pieces are designed and created ( Gargano is also a trained Architect ), there's a mystery to the forms, they look like refined sculpture works of art in a clever way where ''form meets function."
The circular/sphere urns represent the circle of life - the smaller ones are for animals. One of the urns is made for couples on which are two blocks from the same marble veins sculpted separately and they can be placed at unison as one. These sculptural urns can be displayed at home for those who like to keep their loved ones ''close to their heart'' and at home they will look and feel like an elegant, sleek, modern art sculpture. There is one that has a concave surface that allows water in it and references baptism as the beginning of life - and the ashes can be stored in the lower part of it. Some of the designs are mostly of pure marble but there are some who have wood included as part of the composition, making them look more warm, and more interesting.
Works made by sandpaper and the different shades of it... These artworks are created based on '' Scar '' & '' Time." Depending on how many times the sandpaper works on the material surfaces (from African wood, other type of woods, leather & metal) applied on, the layering and the ''scar'' effect on it is different and unique. Gargano's artworks are all machine made and different shades and color hues of sandpaper are used.
Production time can take from one day to a couple of weeks depending on the size and desired finish. These artworks are completely different bodies of work from ''Scartime'' but the industrial clean finishes, the design, hues and tonalities makes them co-exist together. Sandpaper is made of crushed glass so, the industrial quality and the way the light hits some of the works can look like street asphalt seen from a few stories above or even a starry night looking up to the sky. There is room for multiple interpretations...
All the color pigments are natural and transferred into the sandpaper surface. The framing of all the wall art pieces is extremely minimalist, made of steel making the art look very sleek, clean in design, elegant and the focus is all in the artwork that we are confronted with.
According to Gargano, the works are based and created with time, light and shadow.Vertical and horizontal compositions in the works are inspired by the layers in the actual landscape from his windows at home - the woods interplay of light and shadow has a very strong architectural reference.
Also, the abstraction and visual of vertical and horizontal blinds on windows looking out at different times of the day contemplating the woods and landscape outdoors plays into Gargano's vision. In some of the works the compositions and final effect suggest the illusion of flowing bodies of water.
There is also the notion (and question proposed to viewers) of where the light comes in? Is it is from the outside or the inside pending of the time of the day?
There is a piece in particular that has a very strong architectural feel. It was created by Gargano 20 years ago and it has the same feel as one by renowned photographer Todd Eberle of the United Nations Tower. The feel of a window grid and even the way it is contained by the framing gives the same mood.
As part of the exhibition, there are designed light sources, some made of charred wood and glass vessels . All the works possess a very celestial, architectural and minimalistic modern quality. WM
Ruben Natal-San Miguel is a New York based photogrpher published internationally.view all articles from this author