Marcello SestitoUrban Interiors


Works by Guido De Zan emit a kind of archaism, as if the time which willed them into being were exploring time past. The graffito marks on fluctuating, coarse-grained surfaces are the light signs transcribed by a skilled engraver on the primitive clay, signs that still waver between being called to and/or going beyond a pre-linguistic ambit.

The word is replaced by the mute, silent sign that invades the surfaces with the steadiness of the tide. Rightly so, these domestic micro-architectures, slender as towers in the wind. Strong as cathedrals, they would be well suited to be housed in the home of the philosopher Kuki Shuzo. They, too, are part of iki thinking, to which they are linked not only by the interest in tea culture, but also by a certain way of conceiving graffiti work: “When the lines”, writes Shuzo, “appear partially erased and the gap is only slight, there is a motif in which line and erasure are mixed; if on the other hand the gap is fairly extensive, this will be a so-called kasuri, or graffito motif. The presence of iki in this kind of line will depend on the ability of what remains of the line itself to suggest the infinite quality of parallel straight lines”.

Although nurtured on Orientalism filtered through European culture, the artist’s practice betrays a hidden interest in the fixed, ecstatic fascination of Morandi’s objects. With subtle tenacity De Zan constructs a micro-urbanistics in which the object goes beyond everyday domesticity to conquer an external space made of reflected shadows, slight cracks, fissures and connections. The potter’s wheel is partly replaced with modelling by hand, which however allows ample scope for the implicit behaviour of the material and indeed bows to it, reacting and altering shape beneath the gentle pressure of the hand.

Guido De Zan’s forms are nothing other than the search for an imaginary city, where the size of an object is of only relative importance, because there is no scale to the image-producing thought. This is a city that, abandoned by the rigidity of the Cartesian dimension, lets itself be guided by the forma fluens, presaging the imminent necessity of a change of course.

1993