Mauro Corbani
Mauro Corbani is possessed by a naughty genius (the one he has portrayed in all his pictures) that urges him to travel all of the time. He compels him to fly with his mind, giving him the ability to plunge into the future to discover the essence of things; the hidden things, the cosmic, the animal-like and the haunted. Bewitching powers of the occult drag Corbani through his own dreams until he finds himself overwhelmed by a feeling of uneasiness and lost among ghosts. These enchanted rituals, sacred motions, are as beautiful as a beloved image forever lost. The genius who hides inside Corbani is a positive one, because he offers us a vision of what true art is. How dreadful it is to be possessed by the devil of creative solitude.

After having wondered among the dark meanders of a collective history, and confronting upsetting social aspects, now this genius wants to migrate towards a brighter sky: he is heading towards Africa, his Africa.

According to Corbani travelling opens new perspectives, both professional and mental. This is the ethos of the inner journey, a kind of pilgrimage which allows him to attain an understanding of life.

In his recent work the sky is no longer an enemy to man, on the contrary there is a kind of warm understanding between them. This change in the content does not imply a stylistic change. Now Corbani is under the influence of Debussy’s “water” music which has replaced the troubled Erleben by Mahler. The sensual and varied arabesques of the Parisian composer, the reverie and the charm of mystery take us into a world of fantastic creatures. There is an old French proverb which says: “you are nothing, unless you have a triton or a mermaid among your ancestors”.

In 1995 Corbani leaves the North, both geographically and metaphorically, to settle in Maremma, near the sea. From his home you can see the sea, and the sea has entered into the heart of his paintings. The fact of being close to the sea brings into his work a new element, water. Corbani is Pisces. Where his early figures were engraved on hard plates and bore the burden of this heavy material, now they fly off and became light, now they float.

There is a surprising expressive immediacy in his work. His exceptional technical ability allows him to express his initial idea in an instant, avoiding technical and intellectual influences. His engravings printed with the monotype system are simply wonderful, using the same matrix it is possible to obtain an incredible variety of colour, depth and meaning.

So let’s go to Africa, but more than going to Africa, once again, it is a matter of exploring Mauro Corbani’s dreams. His totems are ritual symbols, they represent the spell cast on us by art which allows an inner journey, self-contained. Corbani’s migration is this, it is his inner experience and it required this wondering through the world to be accomplished.

Totems are made of wood, and the same is true for his round shaped works often made on the bottom part of a barrel (see Mandala primo, mixed technique, 1994). The round shape reminds us of the sacred symbols, circularity is a symbol of infinity, of the sea as described by Freud as the symbol of the unconscious. On totems and wooden round shapes there are recycled materials such as sticks, wires, painting brushes, even a wonderful rudder, collected along the seashore, (see Vie, per nuove rotte, oil on various materials, 1997).

This poetics of recycled materials is connected with an idea of simplicity and the discovery of a truer anthropological world. The artist takes materials already processed by other human beings and reuses them in a different context, never forgetting their initial function. This is a kind of mythology of archaic objects, and its being based on essential elements, leads the artist to the rediscovery of his roots (see Origini, totem, oil, sand, cardboard, metal, 1992; see also Origini, monotype, 1993).

Gestures are like primitive symbols, “archetypes of the future” (this was the title of the exhibition set up in Certaldo in 1991), they have a musical origin as they spring from an ancestral obsessive inner melody which goes directly from the heart to the hand of the artist.

There is no chiaroscuro on Corbani’s canvases, there are bright yellows, greens, blues and reds, there are stripes of light and hints of black. They dwell into an oneiric space, they seem to be waiting for their god. In Corbani’s works there is brightness, movement, there is his own agile genius dancing as if he were on an ancient graffito (see Sprint, oil, sand, rope, cardboard, wood, 1996).

After the totems, the rites, the sacred symbols and mythology, in Corbani’s most recent works we find the angels. It does not really matter whether they are truly angels or devils, the important thing is that we pass from a negative to a positive symbol. The subject is the same: before we had red figures, now they are white, but they are still flying and floating on Corbani’s works and looking down on us. All we can really say is that they are dancers and minstrels and their ballet is life, and their time is the space they occupy (see Volilà, oil, sand, rope, cardboard, wood, 1996).

Corbani migrates from the land of shades towards the South, towards flowers and light, towards a positive future, going back in time and finding his roots (see Tracce, sculptured totem, 1991), he moulds his figures with joy. His message to us is the love for the most pure human nature, for the dark face of our African brother (see Orme, oil, sand, rope, wood, cardboard, 1995). In this enchanted space full of bright colours floating in air, his Genius invites us to dance with him.

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