The society of the useless triumphs at the end of a crazy process that has pushed the industry to produce superfluous goods, as if the purpose of man was not to be and live in a right society, but to appear; and it is precisely this need that underlies the great dogma of contemporaneity: you are successful if you appear.
(Vittorino Andreoli, L’educazione (im)possibile, 2014)
Contemporary society has overcome the famous dilemma being/having essentially focused on appearing, a category that has cannibalized everything, even our being. By now, thanks to social networks, we are what we appear to be. It is an evolution or degeneration, depending on the points of view, of the hegemony of sight as a dominant sense and an instrument of knowledge. The problem is made even more complicated by the culture to which we belong, the glasses with which we see the world and interpret it, and by the interference of various media that often deliberately try to guide our way of thinking and acting. So not everything we see, we see for what it is but we always interpret it. And above all we do not see everything but only a very small part. By this I am not referring to the fact that if I am in Rome I obviously do not see what happens in New York. I refer for example to feelings. Is there anyone who has ever seen one? Yet they orientate most of our actions. Has anyone ever seen a thought? Yet even these guide our actions. And we could do hundreds of examples of this kind. Stopping in appearance is much simpler and this is what normally interests us; our life is based on simplification.
It's the same feeling we get when we look at the sea, we limit ourselves to the surface while everything underneath escapes us, we don't "see" it. And it is a very important, rich, complex part. In the ancient world some philosophers had traced the substance from which all things originate in water. Water, therefore, being vital is synonymous with life. Life, therefore, diverts our attention from everything underneath and it is an immense wealth. Interesting therefore the choice of Mario Vespasiani to dedicate an exhibition1 to the submerged world, both this marine or interior. A choice that combines East and West: fish is a symbolic element present in all cultures throughout the ages and in the Middle Ages it becomes a symbol of the spiritual essence, of what is hidden under the veil of visible things. For a long time, at least until the birth of photography, painting had the monopoly of "seeing" and documenting what was seen.
Vespasiani is also linked to this tradition, which in the series presented on this occasion makes oil painting light, impalpable, refined. In the two rooms (one white and one black) that host the exhibition there is also a reference to the ancient Chinese philosophy of Yin (black) and Yang (white) probably originated from the observation of the day that turns into night and from night that turns into a day in a process that never ends. In the seabed that Vespasiani creates with great skill, rich in fish, jellyfish, archaeological finds, etc. we find the history of the world and of man, our inner movements, our being and our being in the world. An invitation to pay more attention to everything that is profound and that can make us grow and raise more every day.
1 Mario Vespasiani "Underworld", Galleria Marcantoni, Pedaso. July 21-September 15, 2019.