By Gianluca Marziani
A closer look to enact closer contact with silent forms.
Lightly touching the color and the consistency of the physical elements.
Smelling the perfume of nature appearing in its haunting greens, intense and plausible …
DAVID SEBASTIAN’s eye is aimed at consistently selecting leaves, branches, bushes as all that composes the floral skeleton of the terrestrial ecosystem.
To be clear, his paintings are not the result of the taxonomic interests of a maniacal flower grower. The artist is aware of its relativism (as he is aware of his creative status, the sole one which enables to reinvent the world as we like) in front of the complexity of nature. He avoids sticking to scientific studies, as well as indicating didactic notes along its visual pathways. Instead, he selects items that evoke the plastics of musculature, physical volumes, architectural impacts of organic composition. These are real pieces that do not elucidate the type of family and botanical species. Without unveiling their story, these pieces fill up the image in a propulsive manner, as to physically to the sides of the work, almost spilling over in chase for oxygen and sky. The atmosphere of the picture becomes emotional, tactilely exciting, suspended in a limbo that we would like to smell, touch, caressing those fragments reclined toward the wind. Here it is, the magnified nature that is revealed, sudden and yet cathartic in its regenerating energy. Here we are, small humans in search of knowledge and new adventures, increasingly intrusive in front of the timid pride of the plant kingdom
While we take a closer look something overturns our perception of the truth.
As we observe the composition a number glassy elements emerge from the relaxing green of the forms. From a distance they appear as great drops of dew, sometimes snails that climb on the branches, or strange small animals from tropical forests or deep sea. Instead you understand that something unusual is happening over the natural vegetation. Artificial grafts sprout in the static stillness of the plants. Transparent protuberances that sting the green skin remain fixed, suspended in this atmosphere without apparent discomfort. The chemical world therefore enters the silent scenario to devise a SOFT ALARM within the visual foreshortenings. The glass of the tubes stings the plants in a falsely empathetic mode, revealing the presence of a violent human gesture: maybe some crazy lab experiment, perhaps the bold pragmatism of a conscious science, perhaps the result of evolution-isms yet unknown to us. We are inclined to say: who knows, ehr, maybe … until a further surprise appears before the eye: a bottle of adrenaline, concrete and real, signals the first sign of an experiment referable to the real. In fact the adrenaline is mingled with those indefinable grafts (those fragments with small bulges, spouts sharp, bony forms) and reinforces our hesitation between what could or should happen in a yet present future. The adrenaline load symbolizes the ambitious and anabolic threat, the sterile delusion of omnipotence of some, to give us the visionary idea of a World deprived of human life. A filmic place (tomorrow who knows) where the plants could change in an unexpected and contaminated way, metabolizing spurious implants (as the tubes could be any dispersed object) of a global trash landscape.
We fly along our own thoughts, imagining new hypothesis over the skin of appearance. We do it by taking a closer look to the works, until realizing that the backgrounds have complementary tones compared to the green of the elements. The surrounding environment envelops the plant without evoking any external context. We only focus on a microcosm that grows and becomes the pure abstraction of reality around us. This to confirm that a VISUAL DISORIENTATION is necessary to remind us of the obvious things, often so diffused as to be confused within the flow of everyday life.
Dwelling on a leaf, map the regularity if its veins, following the topline: it means discovering our inner self, the entropy that governs the living universe, the ratio of exchange between humans, animals and plants. A leaf tells the long lasting mythology of survival, the continuous structural change of its own cellular identity, as if the dream of long life was contained into those fragile yet strong natural elements.
While continuing to observe the sensitivity of the “right ones”, some unreal lights present themselves to the captivated gaze. The grafts appear surrounded by alien atmospheres in which it is impossible to locate the original light source. The glass reflects the ambiguity of the doubt and summarizes, in an element that becomes central, the personality of the project. The contrast between nature and artifice exemplifies an ethically sensitive thought: the apparent perfection of the glass, “invades” the apparent fleshy disorder of the plants and creates a universal icon that highlights the dilemma of the human species. Doing or not doing, touching or not touching, contaminating without remorse or stop at the first abnormal sign: it is a doubt that assails humanity every day, and that every day slips between daily prose and Utopia, by regulating the survival through the fear of disaster.
The leaves become a Paleolithic geography where each fold signals the wrinkles of an atavistic memory. Nature shows its cellular complexity, evoking fragments that contain the history of mankind, an ever-changing landscape, the wild world that progresses to turn in his necessary involution. Investigating the outside world we will find that the millenarian memory is found on the surface of animals and plants’ skins. Snakes, rhinos, iguanas, elephants, turtles … up to the myriad of plants, which regulate the planet’s global evolution. For this reason, the images of D.S. are not limited to the precise composition of the aesthetic atmosphere. In fact, this silent world reminds us who we are and where we might derail. The works are transformed into small flashing lights to alarm us about the consequences of technological delirium. The innocent plants are there, floating fixedly into the photographic prints from the clean, almost invisible digital retouching. Lush and ascetic, hard or soft, the presence on stage recite their primary nature.
They represent our twin double and portray the conflict between instinct and reason.
The technological aspect, in reference to formal values that express the idea, signals a right iconography of the composition. These CONTAMINATED NATURES give back essential fragments, always a delicate line between photographic objectivity and the modulations of pictorial forms. Sometimes they combine irreconcilable elements of plants, but the result does not change. The natural environments of D.S. pose useful questions through photographic images that undergo adequate electronic passages. The artist takes photographs to enlarge areas and fine details that are almost hidden. He selects disorienting angles, studying the plant from less obvious points than the scientific frontal perspective. The creative gesture of the present gaze starts right here. In fact, the first rush starts with the selection of plants with a significant DNA, or it simply arouses from forms that give a visual vertigo. Once he identifies the plant (some are regular home plants, other are rare tropical specimens), D.S inserts the prosthesis (previously manufactured according to his precise design) or combines the contrasting elements. He then photographs the composition and later applies his electronic passages. Then, he finally prints the image and exhibits it on the wall. On the white neutral spaces of the walls those works tell the future around us.
We are the grafts…
We are the plants…
The pain of the wound is our wound…