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Gian Marco Montesano
by Josefina Ayerza

A genuine bourgeois gaze recognizes transcendence through myth... but won't acknowledge the character of an irony which gazes contemptuously at the grotesque of the scene. A double gaze is unceasingly wracked by a between plurality and the autonomy of the self, between the social and individualism: myth dissolves into historicity while historicity, reducing to empty temporality, only irony can hope to give idiosyncrasy the slip. A romantic figure, for Gian Marco Montesano " . . the artist is the greatest political figure, the only truly political figure, the true hero and the true martyr" (Montesano, flash Art, May/June 1991).

"Se niente piu d'immortale" structures a discourse which continues to keep the revolution warm. Echoed, the torn passion of standard socialist-Marxist leaders divides as it is into an empathic self which exists in a state of incantation. The platform, the hero's position, his head, his arm, the open hand with the raised up thumb, the upstanding leg, the dark coat and tie, the enormous flag, the lettering . . . In remitting to the already done, the given, the lost, this framework will support the subject which exists only in the form of language. To assert the knowledge of this incantation?

On the upper left side of the painting a part clock beats passion-frequency. Passions age, and so they die. The open door leads to an other scene, the absent part of the clock adjoins an other time which may escape the deathly embrace of some terroristic meaning. The romantic self hopelessly believes it might do. The preservation of the Unmöglich Traum (Impossible Dream), an other political gibe, may well concern the young self at its best infantile condition. Combining a giddy sense of its own transgressive power to clear awareness of inexorable subjection, this Image seems to loom the shape of pragmatism.

The little girl in a profile is dressed to leave home; her only companion, a puppet, faces the viewer; her finger points to his heart he may be a liar since he has a big nose, he may not even have a heart, like Pinocchio... Calling on the mythical, one may in turn relate the puppet to the traditional mediating feminine entity. Eve's Serpent, Mary's dove, Woman, the feminine, is She an "impossible dream?"

One looks closer. . . is this girl too big in relation to the puppet or is the puppet too small? One continues to look, the girl's figure strangely unsticks in the foreground Now one wants to guess it's a matter of dreams, now one has to check into his previous work, now one sees that the matter of dreams reaches further.

In Montesano's work a kind of hardly perceptible disarray alters proportions, contrasts color, plays a subtle part. In the show at Annina Nosei {1991), this disarray concerned the big size of a girl who talks to a wee bird. Da piccoli siamo stati amici (When we were young we were friends), or the colored image of a Good Shepherd - a pastoral - against a gray urban context; these shepherd's sheep feed on the pavement: Malade en voyage par les champs desseches (Sickness in a trip through the dry countryside).

Images tell stories, polylogue titles confirm desire. Since immortality is not the case: Se niente piu dtimmortale, this particular myth regains historicity as it fails to provide transcendence. Empty temporality, the face of the political, is to incarnate "the true hero, the true martyr", in this romantic artist himself whose Unmöglich Traum or (Impossible Dream) reveals a delicate, feminine, infantile nature.

Montesano talks about a "micro-world" of his own, early in his life replacing toys. This is how he discovered the need to copy some of the pictures in books, as much as small-scale sacred images he found In churches. His very first work for others was a fresco of Saint Luigi Gonzaga. At the time he wanted to become a priest, later on he joined the army. Then in 1968, at the sight of teenagers beaten up by the police, as much as unarmed people attacked with billy clubs, he decided that, even though he did not know what these young people were up to, he would stand on the side of protest demonstrators. Very soon he became an artist, a protect artist?

Montesano's individual myth is a catholic one. He baptizes things on his own and then confirms them on his own. A kind of antagonism in the face of morality ". . . if they're lynching a murderer, I'd step in to try save him, the fact that he's a murderer doesn't interest me" (Ibid). The attempt understands that every individual, no matter how abject, contains a mystery and a terrible charge of pain.

Representation being the only place where he could rediscover his Catholic world and the world of his childhood, he will not proceed in terms of "logical intelligence" but on a "kind of irresponsibility" (Ibid). As simple as that, Montesano feels attracted to something, and this is what makes him want to appropriate it. When he paints, he reconstructs this.


Gian Marco Montesano: Il Piacere E Un Canto Di Liberta, Ma Non E La Liberta; oil on canvas.
Gian Marco Montesano: Ancora Bambina Lei Aveva Gia Tutto Quello Che Agli Altri Manca; oil on canvas.