The Measure of splendor

Sculptures and paintings as Platonic essences; geometrical forms suspended between Earth and the hyperuranian realm; fragments of memory that trace classicism back to the heart of darkness of African art: Patrizia Castaldi’s works draw together varied materials and elements to give form to a Cosmic reverie, a parallel universe whose sidereal mechanisms and harmonic measures are founded on secret proportions.

Castaldi dialogues with the historical vanguards, with Bakota art, with Renaissance geometries and with the 1960’s experimentation of new materials. Yet the synthesis that she elaborates is always personal: every single element is carefully calibrated according to an original and highly refined compositional measure.

What is particularly striking in Castaldi’s work is, in fact, her discerning capacity to construct. Her compositional action, almost architectural in its design, assembles the fragments and totalities of her production in a highly organic way, through the all encompassing filter of a vision of things the logical structure of which is impeccable – its underlying mathematics and proportionshangsuspendedbetweenfrontalityandprofundity,betweenforegroundandthree dimensionality.

Thus spheres and cubes, straight lines and ovals undergo a transformation; they become hyperuranian archetypes that dictate the forms of the artist’s sculptures, the material expression of which is coherently situated on the borderline between geometry and poetry. Here wood is sublimated into its most delicate essence and describes forms that are constellations of vibrations and eurhythmic dissonances enlivening the initially static nature of the visual plane.

The wooden laths, fluted, modeled and recomposed thereby transcend their dimension of fragments; they orchestrate an ethereal relief, the abstract forms of which consciously dialogue with the chromaticism of the painted surfaces. The effect is heightened by the refined woodcut

work on these surfaces which, contrasting with the plain white or black of the support, give Castaldi’s works of sculpture a rhythmic, articulated and profoundly thought out frontal prospectus.

The chromatic elements, mingling with the geometric forms, constitute one of the characteristics traits of Castaldi’s production; this is a key feature, for example, of her outstanding works inspired by the powerful, essential use of copper in Bakota art.

She works copper in various (but complementary) ways, sometimes as metallic tiles, like those of ancient mosaics and which make the sculptures shine with an almost celestial light; sometimes as a splendid substratum akin to the golden backgrounds of Medieval art; sometimes again, as a framework which offers glimpses of the images it covers, the overall effect of which is heightened by the black grill-work of the support.

Copper thus becomes the metaphor of a nostalgia of the possible, of an aspiration to reunite with a superior dimension, of an allusion to a perfect Edenic Paradise, one that the artist per- haps is looking for by seeking out the origins of African and Egyptian art, the roots of which constitute our archaic, pre-classical past. A past that the artist, paradoxically, also seeks out by reworking the early avant-garde art of theTwentieth Century. Her overriding desire seems to be to find again and celebrate the purity of Humanity’s lost infancy.

Castaldi therefore appears to find her golden ratio in creating aniconic structures, in returning to an order that brings together the jagged pulsations of physical matter and the blinding oscillations of light. An order that unites, on the one hand, the parallel networks that rise above their splendid background support and, on the other hand, the obscure, primordial Oval – emblem of a perennial and demiurgic recreation of the world.

Patiently and steadily, Patrizia Castaldi thus remodels the orbits and the planetary system of her secret universe; she establishes the coordinates of a sidereal space that goes far beyond our imagination and takes form only in the material reality of a work of art. A work which is the visible intersection of a microcosm and a macrocosm made tangible through the experience of matter reconstructed and shaped by the hand and the eye of an artist.

Lorenzo Canova