The title of this exhibition of paintings by German artist G. Luigi Rossi is Convivium, which is being held at the Sagrestia Vaults on the Valletta Waterfront. Convivium comes from a Latin term that means “a feast” or “a social gathering.” Rossi’s concept of painting is used to express joyful and colourful scenes of feasting and socializing. It is a metaphor to celebrate an ideal way of life, which unfortunately is missing in today’s world. These paintings typically offer a glimpse into the social and cultural mores of the time in which they were created.
One of the large-scale paintings that Rossi created for this exhibition is Paradigm, which can also refer to a particular style or approach to art that becomes widely accepted and influential within a certain period or culture. A paradigm can also refer to a specific painting or group of paintings that epitomize this style or approach. When admiring Rossi’s collection, one easily understand how the artist moved from one style to another in abstract painting.
In this exhibition, Utopia is perhaps the most controversial and prominent painting symbolising Rossi’s recent concepts. It is a concept and a subject that has been explored in art and painting throughout history. Conceptually, Rossi refers to an idealized and perfect society, often imagined as a place or world that is free from social, political, or economic problems. In this painting, the artist created a mental and idealized abstract landscape or cityscape that represents a perfect world, free from any signs of conflict, pollution, or decay. That is why for the viewers the painting looks incomplete because the artists wanted to convey an imaginary idyllic work in which only the mind could visually bear a sense of harmony and tranquility.Linking another work to the rest of the paintings in this collection, we find an abstract painting executed in black, grey, and white. The reason was to create a quasi-monochromatic painting to emphasize a particular aspect of a concept or subject matter by removing the distractions of colour. Here Rossi managed to capture a sense of unity and focus, drawing the viewer’s attention to specific details or elements of the painting.
Ancient Books is a colourful painting, in which the artist articulates diverse insights in his vision of ancient narratives by synthesizing his thoughts and projecting them into his work. In these ‘books’, Rossi created a private world, his psychic journey, an unconscious reality. Here, the artist is unbound even by time, relating his past experiences of childhood, as a young man or a recollection of a book.
We must not forget that forget that this exhibition is located in a sacred space, the vaults, which are annexed to the church. The title of another abstract painting, Ecce Homo fits exactly into this place. The painting conveys a sense of alienation or detachment, highlighting the gap between the divine and the human, the spiritual and the physical, and the conscious and unconscious. It also reflects the artist’s struggle with the mystery of suffering and redemption or the critique of how religious icons have been used and abused throughout history. Ultimately, this abstract painting invites the viewer to contemplate the enduring power of art and the title given as Ecce Homo reflects on the complexities of faith, identity, and humanity.
It is important to point out that materials like wood, plastic and paint are important resources for the artist and throughout the years he experimented with various techniques and the results were very satisfactory. For example, in his large-scale painting entitled Ink my life with memories, we find the same style of painting through the use of ink and water which creates a subtle and nuanced effect. This work is more transparent and translucent ranging from bold, graphic shapes to delicate, ethereal washes of colour. It allowed the artist to express visually striking and emotionally evocative movements and depth in the composition.
Today, Rossi’s art is all about beauty, poetic fantasy, technicality, and above all what is happening around us in this world full of trouble, pain, and sorrow. So, the artist expresses a colourful realm of images, a positive expression of life. He explores other innovative and functional inventions in abstract painting like his series of ‘paravents’ which can embellish any place inside or outside buildings. Apart from these paravents, Rossi also created a series of abstract paintings which form part of the Shoreline Collection, an interior design group of mansions at Smart City.
This personal art show by G. Luigi Rossi’s is another colourful idiom of our times, looking into nature in an optimistic way. As we are seeing apart from painting, the artist is versatile in many other aspects of creativity. He excels in technological creations, installations, and even scientific innovations
Prof. Louis Laganà (Ph.D., Lough) is an academic, curator, artist, and art consultant.
Photos by Hi Films Business.