By Silvio Castro for Artenews Magazine
Figuration, in particular human figuration, is the outstanding characteristic of Matteo Lo Greco’s sculptures (as can be seen in the Venetian exhibition in the Graziussi Gallery). He focuses on the objective transposition of man in the totality of a humanity that consists in external volumes, but is also imbued with a dense, interior and spiritual material. The result is a synthesis that becomes concrete in a product with a special meaning. Lo Greco sculpts by composing the numerous parts composing the human body. It is in the woman in particular that the Sicilian artist’s sculptural expression is of uncommon modernity – the female nature is seen from a male perspective that is limitless, as it were – shapes, lines, volumes expressed completely – generating the final form that is both reality and transfiguration. These women are both immense and gentle, corpulent and stout but also light and ethereal. They are made of an interior weight that seems inexistent even though it covers the whole objective space.
The artist works this great mass and the expressive volume by creating a balance of all this in his use of chromatic materials. The result is a sculpture that is linked to the true roots of volumetric compositions, enriched with technical and stylistic methods of special means and values, tending to the enhancement of a compositive texture that is of uncommon aesthetic expression. It is best expressed in the volume of this reproduced femininity. Thus, the first contact with such works means the viewers find themselves in an interweaving system of shadows coming from the sculpture itself. Then, the shadows become light, and the result is a landscape of the chromatic and tonal texture that completes the work.
The profound coherence between the expressionistic configuration of the human body and the mobility of modern material – polystyrene, fibreglass, various synthetic elements, and so on, that Matteo Lo Greco uses, is the result of his roots as a classic sculptor and his love for the texture of marble.
THE HOMERIC BRIGHTNESS OF A MYTH
By Paolo Rizzi
In the sculpture of Matteo Lo Greco there is a suggestion of an auroral, primitive world: a Maditerranean proto-Greek civilization in which we can recognize our own Classical matrix. It is woman, almost a fertilità goddess, Hera or Pomona, who is presented in all her maternal fullness, swollen in the manner of certain large-hipped Venuses of prehistory, symbolic of a Pan-like fertilità born from incontaminated Nature.
This figure idealises our mother, the Mater Matuta, who is at the root of all our ancestral dreams.
From this, the fascination of Lo Greco’s use of terracotta, bronze, marble, wood, and glass resins: a fascination which attracts and appeals far beyond any aesthetic aspect.
Lo Greco is Sicilian: from this part of Magna Grecia, which is reflected even in his name, he has brought the Homeric brightness of a myth rooted in the fertile shores of the Mediterranean. The faithfulness to his origins is emblematic. It can be seen in the broad and dignified, almost stately, platicity of his figure which ondulate like hills: they are forms that besome primordial in their humorous naturalism.
It is a pleasure caressing them with an anxious hand, following their sinous rhythm: it is the woman-symbol of an early civilization, the woman goddess as well as woman-mother and woman-lover. She is placid and dense; she reaches out towards man in a plump embrace; she spreads her limbs in the sun. Beside her, man takes in the same features, but it is she who personifies the sense of Nature, a fruit reaching out with avid hands.
From these swollen forms springs the sense of explicit primordiality that stems from Mediterranean myth. Naturally Lo Greco works in a spere og sensitività which is contemporary. His taste ofr primitiveness comes from his blood and the expression from his culture. His drawings on prehistory derives from a trend that developed mainly during the early Twenties, from Picasso to modern examples.
Technological man needs this immersion in the originsof his history, but also needs authenticity. Lo Greco does not like artifice or sophistication: he works with the spirit of a Sicilian craftsman, moulding, casting bronze.
The materials he uses are also traditional and, when he uses new ones like glass resin, he achieves “antique” effects by giving the material a rough color imbued with light.
Nothing, therefore, is rigid; if anything, the pattern he follows is organic in nature, which obeys the physical laws of gravità even if sometimes the artist has fun in hanging his large forms of the elegant women from the ceiling, like pagan angels fluttering above the pediment of a Dorian temple.
It must be clearly pointed out that these fleshy figures with their small heads which extend their arms and legs in the air around them with animalesque happiness, seem like friens, its seems we have always known them. Even that grotesque element that emanates from them is not desecration but rather is part of our genetic heritage.
Lo Greco, therefore, presents us with something we have been looking for, something we had inside us and we did not realize we needed it.
That is why we remain spellbound before this tribe of rediscovered Phaeacians.
THE SEARCH OF OURSELVES AND OTHERS
By Teresa Lo Greco
In its various forms, art is essentially a search for ourselves in others, in other things. It is a dissolving of past feelings in the immediate present. The art of Matteo Lo Greco is precisely this: a shift from an introspective state, of careful self reflection, to a physical representation of our reality. Each abundant figure created by the artist encloses a specific feeling, a single emotion captured with the aim of bringing others closer to a given instant.
Sculptor Lo Greco is a hunter of instants, of lightening quick visions, of emblematic moments that become universal. His sculptures, like his drawings and portraits, emerge from afar, from the Hellenic blood of Magna Graecia that lies at the core of of the Lo Greco family, of Greece the home of the origins of myth and philosophy, of abundance and precision.
A VITAL MESSAGE OF HISTORY
By Ettore Merkel
When one sees Matteo Lo Greco’s artistic work, whether graphic or plastic art, it is always an experience that is accompanied by a path through one’s consciousness, both persuasive and stimulating, from the simple meeting of the pre-iconographic object to the roots of individual and collective memory repressed from everyday life. Exuding from the lagoons and ironic, barren haze that transpire Homeric epos gestures, the artist is immersed in an endless space, in a time that is absolute. For others, such as myself, who almost by chance happened to follow a tangent path to that of the artist, any prior inopportune classificatory presumptions and criticism should be suppressed straight away, so that one can simply let oneself be gradually exposed to the suggestiveness of a dreamlike travel through a fantasy that is inhabited by primordial divinities and the materialization of vital spirits linked to myths of tribal origins and propitiatory pagan rites of fecundation and fertility. In just few strokes, the “ductus” of his mark expresses unexpected volumes, unfathomed perspectives and symbols of dispersed metaphors.
The reticent knots of wood, sought for so long, clarify the synthetic structure of the material being divested of the ephemeral – the vital message of its history.
A small terracotta vessel appropriates an immeasurable space while another flies without rest in search of rarefied atmospheres - unchecked volumes, enthralling forms of Venuses, Tanagras, Cereri, Pomonas, and fauns, the face less complete than the movement, contemplated in the expression of total beauty, one of Apollinean value, almost like a foetal dream. Thus, Lo Greco’s art is divested of any given phenomenology and is derived from the synthesis of ideas that express themselves as a criticism of history. A world of ancient penates and gods to compare present times as a vitalistic metaphor of existence, as the eternal flow of time – prophesy that re-establishes the thought of man today to profound furrows that have never been scorched, of the Mediterranean classical culture with a message that exorcizes pain and death. With the eloquent proposal of his good-natured “beasts”, the artist reawakens the genes of individual and collective consciousness that question existence, and offers an answer to the most pressing and anguished questions that is particularly optimistic and that links Christian religio with the values of Greek-Roman culture.
With his work, Matteo Lo Greco repopulates the arid paths of an era that focuses on technology with looks and memories, with the proposal of a new form of interior dialogue, newly confessed, between the conscience and the divinity that overlooks all things, between man and the history that rules him.
WANDERING SCULPTURE - SPIRIT OF THE LIGHTNESS
By Grigore Arbore Popescu
The artistic plan of the “Wandering sculpture”, arrived by now to its IV edition, has been born from one reflection on the sense of the considerations of Italian Calvin, on the lightness, from he considered a intrinsic value of the work of art, the glare of a way to see the world.
The sculpture of Matteo Lo Greco entices the look, obligates it to caress the shapes, ago to revive forgotten feelings, wandering like the sparkling inconsistent foam waves and wandering of the sea of Sicily at the height of summer, in front of which the artist imagines strange ballets of women of sensual roundnesses.
The matter of the sculpture transmits to the sense of the moment lived in an “aoristico” space (without space and time). Inborn it to savour the emotion that test in front of the beings that in spite of the not indifferent mass seem without weight. Beings for which also the states of mind as melancholy and the joy are imponderable, for which the funny side is the invisible essence of a body and not one expression of the same one.
Trying to conjugate its shapes of evaniscent sexiness, Matteo Lo Greco tells the hope of the bodies of living their moment of Glory, tries to confer a dimension spaces them in expansion to of the human shapes with unforeseeable expressive potentialities. Wandering between unforeseeable beings, the artist recites a poetry dedicated to the life, to the world reduced to the phisicity of a body. The “Wandering Sculpture” is consequently the artistic result of continuous wandering of the senses and the spirit to the search of shapes of debatable but evocative, corporeal but at the same time imaginative physicalness.
“Wandering Sculpture” tries to be involved the expressive, cognitive and imaginative abilities of the spectator to suggest him that in the lightness of the weight of the matter the weightless weight of the living is found again.
EXTRACT FROM "AT THE ORIGIN OF THE ANTIGRACEFUL"
By Grigore Arbore Popescu
Matteo Lo Greco’s antigraceful is all form and feeling. His women, at times dropsical, at times steatopygic, standing or lying, each one a Venus of ancient times, have a familiar relationship with nature (unsurprisingly, collectors choose to put them in their gardens); his chubby adolescents who fly dancing seem weightless. They are symbols of abundance and relaxation, of carnal matter that does not conform to mathematical canons of beauty. The bodies that tenderly embrace each other are often only roughly hewn, suggesting a material that is in arrival or already in decay, corroded by time, which can destroy everything except for memory or illusion.
[...] Each of his women is a Mother goddess, protectress of the earth and the air and, as such, necessarily given human form. Projecting itself into space and time, Lo Greco’s modern sculpture – because it is modernity we are dealing with – starts from the origins.