“On Andrea Morucchio and Laudes Regiae”, critic text by Paolo Toffolutti, 2007, eng

A smile accompanies the existential breath that Andrea Morucchio has placed on the floor of the Fireplace Hall in the ex-Convent of Saints Cosma and Damian in Venice. That smile escapes from a medieval helmet and transfers itself definitely in the external space with an absorbed yet mocking gaze, similar to the one emitted by some gnome-shaped lawn ornaments which guard modern gardens.

There are seventeen identical chess pieces, paths of infinite bumps, grooves, irregularities contracted within the blurring of a singular repeated gaze. Indicali casts like half busts of medieval army leaders and/or emperors leaking over from Greco-Roman times, to be re-exhumed, under false pretences, as Olympian gods. They are courageous grimaces frozen in glass, formae vitae insufflated within a stampo malico, which still contains the hollow of its generating breath. Yet they also represent a cemetery of uniforms in the shape of peeled half busts, obtained by being turning inside out, half bodies no longer protected by their armour, exposed in their fragile nudity, delivered to this world with a kick.

They appear as cheerful faces which formally conclude their allegory with enigmatic grimaces, an omen of not being able or not knowing how to parry the blow, which since the beginning of time has loomed over their destiny and that of others. Andrea Morucchio looks to modern and contemporary sculpture, which looks to the past, in order to dialogue with faces and architecture, just as he did years earlier, camera over shoulder, during his prolonged stay in Cuba, caught between the people and the life.

The human figure is the territory, which before Morucchio, had been crossed by Medardo Rosso, Gino De Dominicis, Anish Kapoor and Thomas Schutte among many others. The object made red - like the blood casts of Antony McQueen - shifts the consideration from form to material. The glass, the transparency, the intangibility of which these guards are made, likens them to bloodied pawns, aligned in offensive and defensive positions on the same side. Medardo Rosso paved the road which connected figure and architecture in a wide and uninterrupted gesture of light, which now caresses the frosted glass of Laudes Regiae as it previously did the wax. The material is already an image of light, reflected light, which wisely guided, has brought the gesture and the gaze beyond reach.

I do not feel it is necessary to underline the reference to the sacred. It suffices to think of the examples of infinite invulnerability in the outlines of Gilgamesh and Urvasi, shaded in the tableaus which Gino De Dominicis left us and which so singularly relate with this army of hollows. And lastly, Thomas Schutte expresses the entire sociality of the people which exudes from every figure, a people recomposed in a domestic unity, placed in charge of all the moments of life. A worldliness which receives these glass works of convex surfaces and curved borders and which, creates connections through the unitary and simple forms, similar and contrary to the functionality of Alessi design, which makes itself ironic and familiar, while relating with the stereotypes of cartoon culture, through functional shapes which appear organic, phytomorphic or phallic.

Highs and lows continuously ricochet. There can no longer be sensuous or conceptual separations: the object, circumvented by a comic form, surrounds itself with an aura of sacredness like a volatile emotion or thought caught between laughter and tears. Paraphrasing Louis Wauxcelles, the work could thus be expounded, Laudes Regiae: “Seventeen Gnomes in the mid-1400s!”