Mario Airò LING

December 6, 2011 - January 28, 2012
Galleria S.A.L.E.S. – Via dei Querceti, 4/5 – Rome

On the 6th of December Galleria S.A.L.E.S. presented a new solo exhibition of the italian artist Mario Airò. In the occasion of the show, titled Ling, Airò wrote an interesting text – that we publish below – where he talks about the work, the inspiration and the intellectual process beyond it.  Here it is.

“The exhibition title is Ling. A Chinese ideogram I found in a Canto by Ezra Pound. The Canto begins with the ideogram, its phonetic transcription in English (ling) and the words “Our dynasty came in because of a great sensibility”. At first I was struck by the delineation of sensibility as the talent required for good government, then I lingered over the graphic sign of the ideogram which seemed special to me: it’s one of the few ideograms that contain a kind of symmetry, a symmetry more of gesture, I’d say, than of form. In fact the signs on the right side are identical to those on the left side, in a kind of repetition that generates an equilibrium. A form of mirroring which is not reflection but rather reconstruction of the phenomenon by going over the lines of force of its making. I then got curious about its meaning because I discovered that ling is also used in metaphysics and the study of essence. I tried to grasp what was meant by that ‘sensibility’… a magnificent thing is that this potentiality is ranked with the capacity of leaves to generate photosynthesis, to metabolise light.

I immediately imagined this quality or potential form as a ‘threshold’, as something which, once it enters our awareness, substantially modifies the contents thereof in each individual aspect. I then imagined Ling as threshold and the exhibition as being contained in the cavity created thereby. Beyond the filter generated thereby, old thoughts and new thoughts found a place: like Hollow Emptiness, memory of studies from many years ago, where I’d found these words as a possible transcription of the idea of Cosmos: the image at once seemed magnificent; an emptiness which, not content with being simply empty, is also hollowed out within. At last, after twenty-five years on the back burner, the hollow emptiness took form, bringing Huineng’s no-mind with it. The Mind or original Self-Nature in its purity does not need to be cleaned up dusted off renovated: the worldly gaol and all its illusions contaminate our thought, or better, our current thought. But not its intimate nature, the primary power, which remains pure and natural and simply awaits our attention in order to unveil its intimate awareness and once more enchant us with the immense potentialities we can actuate. Because Zen Buddhism has a deeply optimistic idea of the nature of our being: ‘Of course, as a follower of Bodhidharma, he believed in the Mind from which the present universe derives with all its multiplicities but which in itself is simple, uncontaminated and illuminating,’ says Suzuki in his book The Zen Doctrine of No-Mind. In these dark days it is a pleasure to brush up ideas that recall original purity, the aboriginal state of grace of our thought and the possibilities it contains when we do not subvert/pervert it. The open day shines for the man of images Shines the day open to men of images… The open day to men shines with images…There are three possible translations of this verse by Hölderlin that has always remained impressed on my mind for its beauty and truth. In that shining of the open and its doing so by images there is the whole meaning of the richness that our empathic capacities may achieve simply by opening up to the world. Paper: all the works on show have paper as material and drawing as referent. But they are never simply drawings, indeed they distance themselves from the most immediate uses such as mimesis or illusionistic virtuosity. The drawing approaches and overlays, even if somewhat astigmatically, the sign of writing and its evocative capacity. From a technical viewpoint its applications are intermingled (dry embossing graphics, the engraver’s silverpoint, the watermark of the master papermaker, the Ernst style frottage/grattage) to demonstrate the ductility, flexibility and broad potentiality it possesses as a tool of delineation”.

Mario Airò