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98. SILVANO TESSAROLLO

NOTHING COMES FROM NOTHING

The exhibition at Michela Rizzo Gallery in Venice, with the participation of the great Dutch master Herman de Vries. Until the 16 of July.

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Silvano Tessarollo, Non sono il burattino del cielo, 2015, courtesy the artist and Galleria Michela Rizzo, Venezia.


On the religiosity of the earth
by Andrea Lerda

Fear, anxiousness, upsets and the difficulty of finding a purpose for the origin of things that are carried out on earth. Described by Lucretius in De Rerum Natura, these questions are the reason why the Greek poet began to compose the poem in the first century B.C. In the first part of the text Lucretius openly argues that things cannot be created from nothing, and that once born, cannot return to nothing since “nothing that seems to perish, destroys itself absolutely”(1).
The two fundamental items of the discourse are: at first the fact that already by the first century A.D. he recognized the existence of an opinion that would later be identified as anthropocentrism: that nothing is born from nothing. This is a clearly secular position that at the center of everything placed the active role and thus the responsibility of man in relation to nature and the evolutionary process of the earth. There is no divine intent or supernatural guide in the world, we are not given hope for a world beyond this one.
The second point is something that we can read between the lines, the capacity of nature to regenerate each time from itself, since “nothing returns to nothing”(2). The call to the role of the human is direct, that is both an act of kindness or of destruction regarding those that surround it.
Sustaining the lack of chance in natural phenomenon, Lucretius announces that they are directly connected with the manifestations of human existence, affirming their fragility and that their position is subject to rules of behavior of which, through a reading that takes place today, man has the power of action.

The fundamental principle described by Lucretius, according to which ‘nothing comes from nothing’, can be a point of departure for the analysis of the work of Silvano Tessarollo, which the Michela Rizzo Gallery presents for the second time in her gallery space in Venice. This is complemented by an intervention from the great Dutch master Herman de Vries (who returns to the lagoon after having represented Holland at the last Art Biennale).
Paralleling to Lucretius, the point of view of Tessarollo is likewise laical. His research is characterized by a definite cosmic spirituality but it remains anchored to the reality. Similar to the poet, the artist is moved by a strong desire to find responses to the “nature of things”.
Tessarollo has always been inspired by the need to reach the heart of the question, to understand the reasons for which something happens and the nature of the material that surrounds us, raising themes such as transience, life and death.
With the exhibition Nulla nasce dal Nulla, the artist executes something like a ‘return to order’, taking a step back, proceeding towards the origins, walking upon a path that has already been trod. The use of materials such as soil, grass, water and other natural materials has already been used by the artist in the past. These materials are now utilized to bring the artist towards new formal and aesthetic results that are evidently more refined, within a journey that will begin more delicate and spiritual, with the intention to reach the “religion of the earth”(3).

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Silvano Tessarollo herman de vries mostra nulla nasce dal nulla galleria michela rizzo andrea lerda a cura di venezia

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In order: Exhibition views at Galleria Michela Rizzo, 2016. In the foreground: Herman de Vries, Burned III, 2014-2015; Silvano Tessarollo, Ci sono giorni di vento, 2015. Courtesy the artist and Galleria Michela Rizzo, Venezia.


Silvano Tessarollo in this way completes an act of ‘auto consecration’, a true devotion with an approach that is similar to a monk concentrated on his prayer.
Lo specchio del cielo (2016) is probably the “Terminus a quo” of this project that shows in Venice an entire body of new works. It is an effort inspired by the work of Giuseppe Penone in 1970, with Rovesciare i propri occhi and is balanced by an extremely interesting aesthetic formalism, declaring the clear ties between man and nature, calling each of us to a sense of responsibility and reminding us of the importance of an authentic contact with the world we inhabit.
The materials that Silvano Tessarollo uses hold inside them the collective memory of the world, our memory, our culture, our traditions, our past and our future. The land is an occasion to think and to reflect; and give us the echoes from western and eastern spiritual traditions.

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The devotion in the approach of the artist with this element, so disinclined to assume defined and clear forms, recalls the fanatic care of the perfection of a Zen garden, typical of Japanese culture. As happens in these micro worlds, in the work of Tessarollo here exhibited, we can assist to the birth of utopian landscapes on minimal surfaces, that evoke the organic sinuosity of the Nature. The laical role of the artist who puts himself at the beginning of the genesys as a God able to shape the soil.
Tessarollo cultivates his desire for perfection as an “attempt to arrive at the spiritual in the admiration for mystery, beyond the confines of every kind of materialism or spiritualism”(4).

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In order: Silvano Tessarollo, exhibition views at Galleria Michela Rizzo, 2016; Terra senz'acqua, 2015; Preghiera, 2015. Courtesy the artist and Galleria Michela Rizzo, Venezia.

The clumps of land that Tessarollo redesigns with devotion and patience, in imitation of Nature; strips of land modelled as undulating rapids, contain in themselves all the strength, power and glory of the cosmos upon which we walk (Il suono dei passi, 2015).
What can we say about works such as Se l’acqua non trova radici (2016) in which the artist applied mould and soil on paper, arranging it in a way that the rain would leave its patterns upon it? Or as Pocia (2015) in which the artist returned to the fertility of the earth with interventions that inserted the vegetable element inside them, perhaps as an action of redemption regarding the many wrongs that have been inflicted upon it. These are not casual references, the artist has used them from the beginning in the titles of his works: Terra senza rumori, Terra senza acqua, Raccogli quel che semini.
A warning? A prophesy? A premonition for a dimension pure and free from every dangerous interaction? Without making polemic references to an eco-critical dimension, Silvano Tessarollo seems to want to launch stronger messages, raising indispensable questions, opening doors to multiple solutions at the same time. The artist appears as a “method to make us meet ourselves, making us participants in the vital profundity, in order to provoke through this aesthetic experience that draws us directly to the primary reality, still not polarised or fragmented in the conscience, an experience that develops beyond time, finding in itself the beginning and its end in the present”(5).

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Silvano Tessarollo, Inizio del giorno, 2015 (left); Lo specchio del cielo, 2016 (right). Courtesy the artist and Galleria Michela Rizzo, Venezia.


The other protagonist in this exhibition is the great Dutch master Herman de Vries, an artist that knows the importance of the link with the earth, that from the end of the sixties, he has collected and archived with great care in his personal archive and museum.
All of us remember the work From Earth: Everywhere, presented at the Dutch Pavilion at the Venetian Biennale 2015.
As in Silvano Tessarollo, Herman de Vries’ work has also been concerned with existence, impermanence, transformation and the transience of things. He is also significantly influenced by Zen philosophy and we can affirm without fear that the Dutch artists’ approach to nature is as intimate, sacred and authentic as can be. In the exhibition Nulla nasce dal nulla, Herman de Vries exhibits the work burned III (2014-2015) consisting in three pieces of a carbonised Robinia tree trunk. It is an emblematic work of the approach that the artist has with an element so replete of symbolic meaning and references.
The tree and the forest are central figures for his artistic practice: sanctuaries, sacred dimensions that allow us to observe nature in its authentic form. Sites where Herman de Vries emerges himself each day, like a mantra that becomes a lifestyle to develop his religious respect. The desire is to underline the importance that we do not lose an intimate and attentive relationship with the natural world, something that the culture and civilisation of the west seems to have forgotten.
The carbonised tree trunk is shown as an altarpiece, where kneel. A figure that, despite everything is still alive, can trigger in our soul the same desire for reconciliation and gratitude that the artist feels each time he relates himself to nature.

The work of Silvano Tessarollo and Herman de Vries is the homage by the artists, without the intent to denounce, to make propaganda, to cause a fuss over the crisis of the environment, to shout a cry of desperation for a planet at the point of collapse, but rather to be still, to remain in silence, to observe and listen.
In both the central desire is to contribute to the process of awareness in respect to the comprehension of the world and of that which can happen inevitably through a constant dialogue between Man and Nature. In this sense the exhibition Nulla nasce dal nulla represents a moment of communion and respect for the cosmos, an act of reconciliation, a call to discover, with the aim of establishing a new harmony with the natural elements and with the Earth.


(1) Lucrezio, De Rerum Natura, italian translation, curated by Olimpio Cescatti, Garzanti editore, 1975
(2) Ibidem
(3) Duccio Demetrio, La religiosità della terra. Una fede civile per la cura del mondo, Raffaello Cortina Editore, 2013
(4) Ibidem
(5) Enzo Bargiacchi, Forma senza forma, text in the catalogue of the exhibition, Galleria Civica, Modena, 22 May – 11 July 1982, p.16.

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In order: Silvano Tessarollo, exhibition view at Galleria Michela Rizzo, 2016; La materia delle cose, 2016, detail; Non trovo le parole per esprimere il mio dolore, 2016. Courtesy the artist and Galleria Michela Rizzo, Venezia.


SILVANO TESSAROLLO / NOTHING COMES FROM NOTHING
With the participation of Herman de Vries
Curated by Andrea Lerda
Galleria Michela Rizzo, Venezia
Untile 16 July 2016