Extract from the text of Daniele Astrologo Abadal to mark the exhibition
“A la lumière de Ravenne”, Paray le Monial, France 2007.
… here we see the arched installation from Marco Bravura which is meant to embrace the visitor. A courtesy towards the guests who observe in this formal solution the remote allusion to an apse. This is an architectural reverberation to its location, la Tour Saint–Nicolas (Saint Nicola’s Tower), an old gothic church of Paray-le-Monial dating back to the 16th century. These circumstances underline the artist’s attention towards the framework and environment an artwork is part of. And by respecting its context the artwork itself begins to establish a dialogue with the surrounding architecture and its historical identity. This very allusion to the apse from a mosaic artist is not without meaning. The concave surface represents to the eyes of mosaic artists both the historic consecration of their art as well as the highest aesthetic expression.
In this installation the paradigmatic setting of the iconographical elements on a uniform background reminds us of the order and collocation of saints arranged on the sides of the sanctum, the symbolic centre that in this case is exemplified by the Icon in the form of a wooden altarpiece; an aesthetic installation conceived and carried out in honour of the paleochristian and Byzantine tradition whose symbolic implications can be retraced in the meaning of the holy number seven. All these considerations might be accurate and true as far as their historic value is concerned, but they are all insufficient to comprehend and understand Bravura’s poetry. The reference to the Christian tradition allows the comprehension of the general setting and design of the artwork, its arrangement and placement directed towards the dialogue with both the architectural environment and the visitors, but it does not throw any hermeneutic light on the artwork itself. Here, the various saints who usually occupy the concave surface of the apse are replaced by the icon of the Leaf-Tree. It is an ambiguous image as it comprises two images, yet without being contradictory, without annihilating each other. The tree and the leaf live together not only in the similar formal dissolution and cross-fade but in the same identity of a vegetable character and nature. A cohabitation that unites the couple and helps complete the respective parts. The male principle of the tree and the female principle of the leaf merge in the icon of the Leaf-Tree which represents an ideal synthesis of the cycle of nature. Bravura is not getting tired of wandering along those creative paths inspired by the kingdom of life that he had already been visiting and walking on in the past when he – in addition to evoking nature’s forms and shapes – contracted an intimate friendship with nature itself. The seven panels trace the same forming of the Leaf-Tree whose centre is shaped by expressive multiform and richly coloured solutions as it is also true for leaves of the same tree or for trees of the same species. No leaf is like the other, even if they are so similar that they can be mixed up with each other. The same happens to the tessera which – being handmade – does not loose its individuality, yet without creating any harmful differentiation for the artwork’s entire harmony. Every tessera has been scrupulously chosen in order to exactly occupy the place it holds, gemstones alike which sprout according to a certain natural order. Hence the texture gains a profound spatial significance. While Marco is creating the icon he structures its surface. On his part there is a great commitment on developing and varying the inner syntax of each motif of the Leaf-Tree. It is a kind of composition that for some of its aspects can be compared to the logic of the variations of a theme, a codified and elaborate genre in the sphere of music. On the other hand it is perhaps a coincidence that the seven exhibited artworks correspond to the number of music notes or is it rather an explicit reference? Certainly, the compositions made by Bravura are not translatable in the form of the ordinary canon or of the fugue, with lots of final quodlibet. At the utmost we can recognize an aria, identifiable with the central piece thanks to its major importance. If a sympathetic relationship with the world of music exists it has to be searched in the scale of the notes and in the respective chromatic features. At this point one can not do less than to assert that the colours of the rainbow – that is the colours that correspond to the spectrum of sun light – are once more seven subdivided into primary colours (yellow, red, blue/azure) and secondary colours (orange, green, purple, indigo) many of which characterise the various Leaf- Trees that qualify themselves, in each case, due to the presence of gold, of azure, red, purple and green. Colours that are able to create a sound of a note that in the case of gold sounds like a C.