Hyena’s female figures exert more charm that we can take.
We cannot ignore their sensuality, perspiring from a decorous elegance, the mysterious grace that seems to animate them.
They dance and they flow with gentile gestures of thankfulness, like antique goddesses from the woods: so human, yet so vaporized.
But they are real, even when, as negative images caught between photography and painting, they resemble ghosts from x-rays, escaping perfect and definitive shape, leaving a trail of movement, memory and suggestion.
It must be noted that their refined features of light, volume shape and non-shape, don’t come from a carnal desire, but from an investigation in the mystery that surrounds them.
Their beauty loaded with charis is the result of a point of view full of pietas, the decent and respectful feeling towards what’s sacred.
We find it enriched by the traces of movement, which allow the viewer to “see” the dancing and the creative acts of the musicians and their instruments, but it also shows the painful contractions of some of the subjects, making them similar to gestures of Renaissance Magdalens.
Graceful nymphs or painfully contracted Magdalens, they’re comforting and evasive at the same time, their twirls are line, shape and weight: photographic element, graphic and pictorial together.
The body has transitioned from being displayed in negative, closer to dreams and visions, to positive, loaded with drama.
Feet and hands of models, musicians and ballet dancers are symbols of gestures for all, and light calls them to emerge, whilst it decently hides individual glances.
Gesture becomes the subject of the diptychs, where positive and negative coexist side by side. Spaces placed on diagonal opposites are tragic contradictions: good and bad make their appearance in their polarized coexistence of innocence and experience.
In his artistic quest, Hyena has developed a very personal technique: after a destructive act aimed at the printed photograph follows a meticulous, patient, affectionate restoration on canvas, using antique procedures.
What’s left is then surrounded by “noise”: drippings, scratches, image scars, fragments of color, white movements like Kiefer’s star skies or Ansel Adams’s cherry blossoms, ochre backdrops similar to pages of antique illustrated codes; there’s Rauschemberg’s research of synthesis, black metal plates and silver bromide prints of frames of mute cinema.
Space is then balanced and enriched with handwriting, glittering paint and ink trips, between writing and pictorial element.
Fragments of other alphabets rising from the abrasions, narrating a distant daily existence, written in Cyrillic or Arab.
Usually at the far ends of a piece, sometimes these signs overlap with the human figure, as if to interrupt and enrich its distant and rarified life, hinting to a near world that we don’t understand.
Considerable geometric scars on the canvas remind us that we have lost a chance of unity, of a monolithic view on a now pulverized reality.
In the unique language of the artist, these sutured scars are so dear, so loaded with painful comfort that they somehow acquire a new level of dignity, depth and life, higher than the intact image they once belonged to.
The cleanliness of the surface, the balance between image and writing as wonderful and mysterious sign: these elements all absorb the drama of a broken image, and reconstruct the breakdown of reality.
What Hyena destroys, he gives back in symmetry, graphic elegance and creative resort to the line of color, to the arabesque of a brush.
Body, musical instruments and gestures: they all come to life, like the statue that Pigmalione loved so much.
The patient, attentive, compassionate work of the artist who repairs and enriches his own pictures brings life back into the works, as the time of patience, introspection and emotion is embedded into them, during the destruction and rebuilding phases.
After the blue atmospheres dedicated to jazz and to the monochromatic graphics of Bluenote’s record sleeves, the color inherits its own role, whilst the body goes from being the measure of a refined sensual beauty to a presence that hints some sort of tragedy.
With the theme of ballet, the path of slow approach to the feminine is completed; at first captured in the diagonals of a limb, in the enigmatic profiles of the negative image, then fully portrayed and finally displayed in the movement of ballet.
Ballet is the solid foundation and the landing point between music and body, between the physical presence of the human gesture and the airy atmosphere of jazz’s melody and creativity.
Hyena does not overlap one word to his works, he quietly accepts that the reality cannot be fully explored: he holds back on titles and subtitles, he doesn’t super impose an interpretation, being the first to accept there may not be one.
These works are the powerful sum of his “hanging out” with his auctores: it’s the result of his emotions and his visioning that runs with analogy, not logic rationality.
His perfect symmetry is cruel, it cannot be linked to a unique meaning; his balance whispers something else, something disturbing, as beauty always does: a frame simply doesn’t fit.
When our artist tells us he’s enthusiastic with William Blake’s work, he refers to the desire to use vision, imagination and intuition as creative and cognitive tools.
In his work, he manages to collapse his own personal experience of art, his readings, his visions, his enthusiastic sessions of music listening, condensing all of it into something that relates to many codes, and creates a completely new one: a personal language, still vibrating from the harmonics that brought it to life.