‘Alternative Dimensions’ NFT Collection - Whisper

Oct 7, 2022 11:13AM

Breezy is curating the ‘Alternative Dimensions’ NFT-Collection for the ArtTech platform V-Art and the Andrey Sheptytsky National MuseumEach week we will present one of the museum's masterpieces involved in the project through articles dedicated to deepening the theme of the preservation of memory and its historical-artistic testimonies.

In this life, we are just passing through. Brief, shining glimmers destined to fade, bodies exposed to the inevitable corrosive action of time. In the cyclical alternation of the seasons, we are footprints on Earth: more or less visible traces in the memory of those who shared part of their journey with us. In rare cases, a virtuous life is remembered for generations, its story handed down, and its legacy becomes the heritage of humanity. In even more exceptional cases, souls of indescribable sensitivity and complexity, the artists, capture the fragilities of their own time or step into the depths of an uncertain future. The artists challenge the present time to reach into the future, often relying on material media and artistic techniques that are less persistent than their ideas. Yet our need to feel part of a larger design and not lonely, accidental souls makes a strong case for preserving memory, in all its manifestations, by seeking confrontation and dialogue with the past.

Do we still recognize ourselves in art history? Can we sustain a gaze and allow ourselves to look without shame? And to reach out to almost forgotten memories? Are we still able to embrace and allow ourselves to be embraced? Do we have sufficient respect for the earth we tread and all its invisible footprints?

Study for Left Hand by School of Ludovico Gallina, 18th century, Sheptytsky National Museum

Where eyes cannot see and words are not enough, there is an "ancestral memory" that belongs to us from birth: touch. As soon as they are born, babies seek the mother's breast without needing to rely on sight. They seek it with their hands, with their mouth. They already know. Hands are our most primal way of knowing, and it is through tactile memory that we connect sensations and feelings. In art, there has been no shortage of examples of virtuosity such that the boundary between canvas and reality has been challenged, that is, sculptural surfaces so polished that we can feel their warmth. Not surprisingly, Canova, like a modern Pygmalion, had come to apply a patina to epidermal surfaces that simulated the color of the complexion.

We are around the middle of the 18th century, when the grandiose play of shadows and the spectacularization of emotions give way to a feeling of rediscovered classical flavor, majestic and composed, the "noble simplicity and quiet grandeur" of which Winkelmann tells us.

In a context, then, purged of the excesses and pomp of the previous art-historical chapter, feelings are harnessed in posed and composed representations, while the eyes and gestures betray passion, and communicate a message.

There is an incredible vocabulary hidden behind the gestures, inaccessible and mysterious speeches destined to remain so over time. In this preparatory drawing that can be ascribed to the school of Ludovico Gallina (1779), we see one hand facing the dimension outside the sheet, so much so that it comes almost instinctively to reach out to the other one to touch the drawing. The image that brings back memories is that of the "hug room" where, only a few months ago, separating us from each other was a transparent plastic diaphragm. But the gesture depicted here, which also pulls in the viewer, is probably rather the iconographic synthesis of an inspired discourse. A warning? Perhaps it is right for each of us to read into it "that speech" that we would need, a recommendation, reassurance, or confirmation for a choice we are unable to accept. Unable to choose, we sometimes rely on chance or fate, like a fortune teller questioned to read the palm and reveal the future. Yet at the exact moment we ask our question, we already have a clear answer.

And in this light sketch our voice is a faint whisper, a light touch that meets the strings of the soul. No disturbance, no fear, just an invitation to inner dialogue.

Serena Nardoni, Art Historian and Editor