Spes contra spem. Works by Renato Guttuso


‘This exhibition follows the steps of another exhibition held in Castle Sant’Angelo in ’83, and is centred around a single work and a series of preparatory drawings, showing the creative path of the main work itself. The work is entitled “Spes contra Spem”: it is about verse 18 in the fourth chapter of the “Letter to the Romans ” by St Paul. The theme discussed by Paul is the salvation of Abraham, who was made just by faith and not by obeying the law. The work by Guttuso is inspired by the words of St Paul to the Romans. The cry, the desperation, the shout, the invocation, the denigration of Luther are all themes contained in this remarkable work by Guttuso. Protestant religion laid its roots on these words, but Catholic theology then managed to draw the focus back on Paul’s message. The work by Guttuso goes beyond all this and tries to search inside history for the unexpected encounter of the event, which is still not visible to man. The theme of the work is the awaiting and each subject is full of the tension of this awaiting and of the desire that everything be fulfilled. The work by Guttuso is all centred around a tragic, violent, upsetting colour; the need to protect his heart from the tragic events of the world, the need to reveal a heartbeat which is in harmony with all creation. In Guttuso, the I is never contented with allegory, but seeks above all concreteness and the way to guide the visitor through the melancholy meditation on a chair, a window, a view of the sea, of a roof; the tragic aspect of everyday life, with no return and no stops. Since the time of St Gerolamus (who, in one of his paintings, kneels down in an emptiness caused by death and meditates on the skull and on the slow and dark coming of the night, which becomes an element of the consciousness of a bitter day – the ultimate symbol of which is a tiger that does not know where to stop) and of Mary Magdalen, by Matteo Grunewald, who approaches this picture and the hard woods near the cross, Guttuso has always been narrating himself only and his way of dealing with this world, which he desperately loves, so much so that he dreams that he dreams that it was different from what it is. The reason why the work of Guttuso may sometimes seem baroque, triumphalistic and theatrical (for example for the funeral of Togliatti) is that he wants to exalt the highest power of the world, that is to exalt the idea of death. He struggles against the obsession of the shortness of human life and looks for the illusion of dreams, which never contain the impossible power of illusion. Guttuso likes to see how the game develops and plays with the players, who are always and nevertheless present. Guttuso is aware that Eros is just denial and blindness to heal the wound of life, to console the work of man, which is ruin and dissolves on a hard wall (signifying also the cry of life when it is useless contemplation of what there is). Carmine Benincasa’


21 Agosto 1983 - 28 Agosto 1983


Exhibitions Meeting Exhibitions