The Alberto Peola Gallery is pleased to present Sleep Well Childhood, the first solo exhibition of artist Giuseppe Mulas (Alghero, 1995).
Memories and fragments of life interweave in dense and layered paintings which, starting from childhood, tell a story of memories hidden between past and present. Like the indelible marks that children scribble on the wall, the gesture the artist impresses on the canvas does not allow for any changes and creates a symbol-ridden story. Recollections of an innocent puberty blend into dream and play, thus altering and extending the body in new projections. In the work Remember me when I die, a still life – a metaphor of a phallocentric domain – stands out towards infinity reflecting itself in the vastity of the universe. The room and the sky blur the boundaries between the inside and the outside, and, likewise, the gallery turns into a suspended space in which the past unfolds in a transition from dark to light.
This transition is highlighted in two distinct groups of works. In the first, works like I’m waiting from my bathroom for the flowing night or Bleak chambers (03) suggest physiological movements, intimate moments in which the body – a naked and harmless being – is moving freely.
That sweet fear of staining the sheets, that violent incapability of self-control and the waiting before getting caught – they all freeze in time as pure thought. The feelings of embarrassment and shame become rarefied and static, made immortal in the crevices of the mind. From an intense Prussian blue, the ghosts of these memories surface and colour the night stars, as in The moon is yellow like a banana. The first panel in a polyptich, together with the three canvasses, it introduces a lyrical dialogue between imagination and reality and conjures up the silence of a longed-for body that is still absent.
The taciturn moon follows the gaze and recalls an unattainable desire and a need for contact. Stolen as if it were a forbidden fruit, it loses its shape to become the allegory of an early erotic drive gently rocking its dreams. The bed and the chair are represented as pleasure places and as everyday objects employed in new, unfamiliar ways. The works testify to an impulsive type of painting which shuns nuances and tends to favour a dark even surface in which the artist plunges his gesture to reveal the colour underneath. The action of adding and subtracting results in full as well as empty areas of matter on the canvas, which, in turn, suggest that something that used to be there has gone missing.
In a different fashion, the second group of works which includes There are no banana trees in my garden and I like to wear your flips-flops, features a vibrant and luminous range of colours. They both display two corner views, of a room and of a swimming pool, conjoined by the natural element in one sole hybrid and metaphysical place. Pineapples, bananas, coconuts and palm trees are the fetishes that people the artist’s imaginary garden; they are used to ridicule the body’s erogenous zones which have been deprived of their erotic charge. Curiosities and impulses driven by needs and fancies are here reduced to ecstatic, vaguely exotic forms that make fun of themselves.
Finally, the series Chairs are crying while lonely people are dancing recalls the game of musical chairs, a playful moment in which children run and stop to the rhythm of music. The ring-around-the-rosy takes the form of a ritual constantly seeking itself, its own place as well as a skin to touch. Behind simple, dream-like titles are hidden figures lying around like clothes heaped up on furniture, reminiscent of a lost bond. Sharing the same secrets, the curious entities that people Giuseppe Mulas’s paintings are driven by desire and, anxious about the feeling of emptiness and abandonment, shun the alien gaze by hiding behind magical illusions. Stories blur into one another and reshape the memories of the places and the encounters which, without lapsing into regret or sorrow, become enlivened with sweetness and irony, just like a pineapple forgotten on a night table.