Gianni Caravaggio “The Sun filtering through the leaves”
Il tempo mi scorre tra le dita [time runs through my fingers], 2021 (detail).


Kaufmann Repetto
Via di Porta Tenaglia, 7, 20121 Milano MI


03 Mar 2022 - 09 Apr 2022



Gianni Caravaggio “The Sun filtering through the leaves”

Although the courtyard is located in the middle of the city, at a certain time of day the trees are illuminated by beams of sunlight shining through the leaves, creating a moment of pure nature, the sign of a dimension greater than us and of which we are fleeting spectators. All of a sudden the trees in this courtyard with their various shapes, leaves and their different shades make me think that at their origin there was a matrix that destined them to take on the appearance they have now. Dazed by this thought, I feel as if I have been creating and designing this matrix, this mold, as if it were the beginning of time: at that moment I have the sensation of kneading green dough, like when you’re making cookies, and in a playful way experimenting with and discovering the colors and forms of the leaves, cutting them up and pressing them into the mixture and in the end leaving the print of my hand on it; a hand which is not mine because it looks like a leaf. Nature is young. Every so often it astonishes me and the leaves seem to take on form and life from a mineral matrix, that of Verde Guatemala marble. I go on thinking of the rays of sunlight that have enchanted my thoughts, picturing them as rays of yellow onyx. A long and rectangular block is divided into nine little sticks with which to draw the sun for every morning. I imagine being able to extend the rays of yellow onyx in various ways along a horizontal line. The gestures that compose the auroral figure are not fixed. They are free and living. This gives the impression that the figure is a fleeting one. The ephemeral quality of the image evoked in drawing the dawn (or the sunset) constitutes, in a sense, a ritual act similar to the mu of Zen Buddhism, a circular shape symbolizing the idea of the open void that Buddhist monks paint on a sheet of paper every morning with a decided gesture. Like some acts of initiation that in their cyclicity become rites and remind us of the ground we stand on. In a manner similar to the baptistery, this work is a place for initiation. “The sun is new every day” said Heraclitus – drawing it for each morning (and each evening) is a way of bearing witness to this marvel. The sunlight that shines through a palm leaf is like time running through my fingers. Transformed into bronze, the fingers of that withered and dry vegetal hand are made immortal. This bronze form holds another palm leaf still in the moment of its fresh youth, but doomed to grow old and assume with time the same features as eternity— blending into it. The image of eternity we have in our minds is that of an old man, an image whose origin lies in the mythological figure of Cronos and which in the Christian imagination has become the image of God, or of St. Jerome with a long beard and in the pose of a thinker. Heraclitus, on the other hand, imagined time as a child playing dice. On display in the courtyard, the light passes through the photographic body of “Melancholy—or rather transparent” just as it does between the gaps in the trees. In 1995 I had asked an old potter if I could place my then young face on his hand marked by the experience of creation. I imagined that that hand one day could be mine.

Gianni Caravaggio, March 2022