This month we are delighted to show “KNOW YOURSELF (THE BLACK RABBIT)”, a work by the artist Gabriele Lamberti, b. 1957.
KNOW YOURSELF (THE BLACK RABBIT), 2019
by Gabriele Lamberti, b. 1957
Marble tile mosaic b/w,
150 x 150 x 3.5 cm.
By Federico Margelli
The White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland has a shadow: his restlessness, the neurosis of eternal delay, a race against time marked by a heavy watch on his waistcoat. This shadow wanders, mocking, pawing through the ages; it is a furtive presence, the double behind him, the uncontrollable emergence of the deepest ego, the epicurean who sows doubt about his own identity.
It is a game of mirrors, and in the reversal there is an infinite fractal repetition in which life and death turn upside down, like an hourglass, in the eternal return not of the equal, but of the similar in the verisimilitude of an anthropomorphic intruder.
The Black Rabbit is also a Charon ferryman of souls, an archaic presence, neither good nor bad as are the figures of myth, but necessitated by its archetypal nature, it must symbolically be one or the other of the two sides. It emerges from classical mythology, it is a psychopomp like the sirens sculpted on the portals of certain Mediterranean churches, whose gaping vulva opens the door to Paradise: a birth in reverse, otherworldly, a compulsory passage to other worlds.
Gabriele Lamberti is not only an artist, not a pure τεχνιτεσ (technites) but he has a philosophical education, he is one of Anceschi's last pupils, and he is one of the few painters in Italy whose art thinks, and reflects, within the canons of aesthetics, precisely of an existence that needs to overcome itself with a rabbit-like ontological leap. The limit of this leap, etymologically animal, is beyond the indeterminate in an idea of overcoming immanence. The Black Rabbit is an envoy of transcendence, ironic but not too much so. It admonishes man on the transience of his being and comforts him on the absoluteness of the permanence of his consciousness in a timeless hecceitas: "here is this man, the other you, your mirroring that does not perfectly resemble you, a thing that is itself because it is not another" the artist seems to say like the most orthodox of Scotists. This experimentation of profound theoretical value is backed up by the hand of a true artist who works with matter and form, who uses quotation as a surplus of topicality and authenticity. Gabriele Lamberti's true journey through history restores what Heidegger calls the "thinghood of the thing" to the artefact, which is first and foremost the material work, the man-artist capable of creating, of giving life, of bringing forth the form hidden in the being, of hermeneutically bringing it to light according to an unsurpassed Socratic method. And so the Black Rabbit takes on the physiognomy of a prompter, an inquisitor, a guide and, in the last station, becomes the true living metahuman in the world under the grave world (or beyond the grave) who invites man to know himself: γνοτισ εαυτον αντροπε! (gnotis eauton antrope!) "know yourself, man" in your fragility and in your eternity: the only finite being capable of transcendence that you are!
So the artist, who has accustomed us to the disturbing game with the emblems of humanity's infancy, chose the fundamental motto of philosophy, the one that towers over the temple of Delphi, to close the circle of the enquiry of his investigator of the collective unconscious, the BlackRabbit, and chose a Roman mosaic (also reproduced in some Anatomy manuals for artists). He went through the elaborate technique of the Roman mosaic and, with the help of the 'Gruppo Mosaicisti Ravenna' (Italy), reconstructed tile by tile this artwork: half fake, half authentic, unique in its transcendental truth. An entrance to the other side of life deferred by the eternity of the artwork.
Born in 1957, graduated in Philosophy, obtained a diploma in Painting at the Academy of Arts in Bologna, where he currently holds the Chair of Anatomy Art. He began to exhibit in 1986. Lamberti's involvement in Media Painting, "corollary of medialism", an artistic current theorized by critic Gabriele Perretta, took place in the circle of artists exhibiting in the early nineties in the gallery of Loretta Cristofori in Bologna. He has participated in several collective exhibitions in Italy - Milan, Bologna (Galleria d'Arte Moderna: 1991, Nuova Officina Bolognese exhibition; 1994, Icastica exhibition; 2002, Bologna Contemporanea), Turin, Trieste, and Alessandria - and abroad. Some of his works are in public collections (Gam di Bergamo) and others are in private collections. He worked with the gallery Ruggerini & Zonca in Milan and with the gallery of Paolo Tonin in Torino.
His technique is the painting on canvas, but the painting is 'only' the final result of a work that starts with the preparation of small sets made up of puppets, ceramic trinkets or other trifles , which are then photographed and digitally processed to obtain the image from which the painter draws the final result, which continues to be a painting of veils and superimpositions. The artist developed a style linked to popular imagination which is particularly inspired by childhood narrative, seen with irony and filtered with a hint of subtle surprise and cruelty. The last cycle of his work is dedicated to the Black Rabbit, the polymorphic figure derived from his imaginative and mocking style, which changes the narrative of ancient art history by replacing one of the important original characters thus modifying its meaning, and loading it with ambiguous and misleading content.