Conviviality is in the air, and works of art can now be touched
GIONI IS A HOMO FABER WHO KNOWS
HOW TO GET HIS HANDS DIRTY,
CLAIMING DIRECT CONTACT WITH MATTER
Some people think art should be observed composedly: “don’t touch”, “don’t move too close”, “don’t talk”, “contemplate from afar and silently.” If you do not like this approach, then you will certainly like Gioni David Parra’s idea to open his home-atelier to the public.
In this bit of paradise, which is tacked away into the green hills of Versilia, Gioni, his wife Simona and his daughter Lisa, will offer you a warm welcome. The house is surrounded by a garden of olive and fruit trees. From here, you can see the Apuan Alps and their natural landscapes, while listening to the sea that whispers in the distance. And then, there is art. Two monumental marble sculptures – a black one and a white one – stand at the entrance like totems. They mark the point of access to the artist’s most intimate realm: his home-atelier. To step beyond these sculptures means to enter into communion with him and to fully understand the meaning of his artistic research.
We sit down in the shade of the veranda and have a drink with the artist. Here, conviviality is in the air: you can converse with and listen to Parra, observe his works and talk about them freely. We feel that here art, life and family fuse together.
WHAT MAKES HIS WORKS SO CAPTIVATING
IS THEIR DOUBLE MOTION, BOTH UPWARD AND
DOWNWARD, TOWARDS THE SKY AND THE GROUND
Two features of Parra’s works, which surround us silently, strike us immediately: harmony and beauty. They express the artist’s pursuit of a balance that cannot be found in mere symmetry: each element slightly differs from the others, although it combines with them perfectly. This happens because the artist cuts each marble slab with his own hands, skin to skin with matter, in a workshop in the neighbourhoods of Pietrasanta: from abstract thought, his art becomes concrete matter, however sublimated. The necessity to touch matter with his own hands is a key concept in Parra’s work. Gioni is a homo faber who gets his hands dirty, claiming their physical intelligence. The importance of being in direct contact with matter is also a reference to the primeval relationship between man and his roots. In his native Versilia, where the sea, the mountains and land are one, he feels that matter is all around him.
What makes Parra’s works so captivating is their double motion, at once upwards and downwards: they tend towards the ground, in the pursuit of an ancestral contact with the earth, but they also crave for the sky, like the soaring pinnacles of Gothic cathedrals. There is something in them that makes you think of religion: the wall sculptures – which consist in black or white marble and gold leaf blades – appear like modern altarpieces that succeed in expressing the intangible, while remaining secular and extraordinarily worldly.
These works escape time: they are contemporary, and yet they recall classical perfection and are open to the future.
Take some time to visit this atelier: you will discover an art and a place that will do your soul good.
Sonia Lucia Malfatti