Anna Caruso - Le cose felici non si ripetono - acrilico su tela, 140x95, 2015

Le cose felici sono si ripetono, acrylic on canvas, 140×95 cm

Anna Caruso - il visitatore invisibile - acrilico su tela, 80x60 cm, 2016

Il visitatore invisibile, acrylic on canvas, 80×60 cm

Anna Caruso - Cartolina - acrilico su tela, 100x70cm, 2016

Cartolina, acrylic on canvas, 100×70 cm

Anna Caruso - non piangere come ho pianto io - acrilico su tela, 140x95cm, 2015

Non piangere come ho pianto io, acrylic on canvas, 140×95 cm

Anna Caruso - il freddo delle case ignote - acrilico su tela, 135x220cm, 2016

Il freddo delle case ignote, acrylic on canvas, 135×220 cm

Anna Caruso - Non hai nessuno che cammina per casa, acrilico su tela, 135x250 cm, 2016

Non hai nessuno che cammina per casa, acrylic on canvas, 135×250 cm

Anna Caruso

(Se poteva) spariva prima di ogni incontro, acrylic on canvas, 90×90 cm

Anna Caruso - senza titolo - acrilico su tela, 30x30cm, 2016

Untitled, acrylic on canvas, 30×30 cm

Anna Caruso - i miei desideri sono pochi - acrilico su tela, 30x30cm, 2015

I miei desideri sono pochi. acrylic on canvas, 30×30 cm

Anna Caruso, acrilico su carta, 70x50 cm, 2016pp

Gli occhi sono ancora vivi, acrylic on paper, 70×50 cm

Anna Caruso, acrilico su cartab, 70x50 cm, 2016pp

Untitled, acrylic on paper, 70×50 cm

Anna Caruso - Delle cose e delle persone - acrilico su carta, 70x50cm, 2016

Delle cose e delle persone, acrylic on paper, 70×50 cm

Anna Caruso - sono passati i bei tempi - acrilico su tela, 30x30cm, 2016

Sono passati i bei tempi, acrylic on canvas, 30×30 cm

Anna Caruso - Libro d'artista, 2016

Libro d’artista, mixed media on paper

Anna Caruso S·I·L·L·A·B·A·R·I di Goffredo Parise

All that remains of us when we forget everything is our body, which is the shadow of our identity. It is our gestures and caresses that vanish, along with those sentiments so tumultuously felt in the form of melancholy that binds individuals when they are not present. Absence is basically a wait that makes way for suppositions, for a desire to act or a premonition that is maybe incapable of coming about. And this leads to a lack of communication and to the silences that keep the embers of prolonged passions at bay, while time flows between the chinks of unspoken hopes. These existential disruptions can be seen in Anna Caruso’s paintings, with figures emerging and disappearing, each time bringing the nostalgia of spectres and words with no bodily form, or simply fearing to let themselves go to the empty diaries our lives. These are their regrets. In Sono passati i bei tempi (Gone are the Good Old Days), the silhouettes of Goffredo Parise and Giosetta Fioroni, taken from an old photograph but reflected and banished from a silent forest, are overshadowed by an orange hoopoe which soars like an angel in a higher dimension. It recalls more Montale’s “mirthful bird calumniated by poets” than the lugubrious inhabitant of Foscolo’s nights. And yet there is a sense of distance and imminent dissolution that returns in the tondo (Se poteva) spariva prima di ogni incontro” ((If It Could, It Would Have Disappeared before Each Encounter), where the repeated procession of the two companions is scratched like a record by a needle after compulsive, or even only necessary listening. Giosetta and Goffredo are the shadows of this intense cycle, which was born from an examination of the Venetian writer’s Sillabari [translated into English as Abecedary] and grew up among the folds of nostalgia and narratives, or rather among those sharp, grand, lonely interpreters who bring the book alive. There is also a warning that features in all the stories, and possibly in the paintings too: “In life, people make programmes because they know that they can be continued by others once the artist is gone. In poetry this is not possible, for there are no heirs. […] Poetry comes and goes, and lives and dies when it so desires, not when we want it to, and it has no descendants. I’m sorry, but that’s the way it is. A bit like life, and especially like love.” Especially like love, sic et simpliciter. In the Le cose felici non si ripetono (Happy Things Never Come Twice) diptych, a man sits solemnly, clutching a suitcase placed neatly on his knees, splitting himself in two and reiterating his mental or psychophysical state, multiplying yet remaining constant with the passing of time. Locke’s reflection that memory ensures the necessary flow of sense between who we were and who we are may still hold true. What essentially makes us the same person and conscious of our past behaviour is our consciousness, which is made possible by the memory of our actions. But what if our actions were suspended, like our potential? Is that higher-level white-collar worker – who lays claim to his treasure, his papers, a change for the night, confidential papers and his shaving brush and bone comb – intentionally isolated from the world because he chooses his own destiny? Or is it because he passively suffers its consequences? How much would he prefer to change his consent or escape from that time and place, and from his own condition? The decision to show this static impossibility, a freezing of looks and, with them, people’s very souls, makes Caruso’s painting a labyrinth of unspoken impossibilities. There is never any feeling of total defeat but rather of a crisis brought about by a test, which is simply that of dealing with everyday tasks. A sort of accepted melancholy of not-doing, of not being able to do or even of wanting to do. In Non piangere come ho pianto io (Don’t Cry the Way I Cried), it is the eyes that transfix you, more than being transfixed themselves. Worse than tears cried are tears written or painted – like those of Zoran Music’s piled up dead. As I see it, this is already a perfect equivalent of the disease of having to paint in any case, even after taking Adorno’s warning into due consideration: “To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric”. Even so, it is our duty to continue talking of our unease, and of our powerlessness in the face of tragedies, that obliges us to “write continuously in order to stay alive”, as the poet Celan did. We thus become spectators of ourselves and, in discovering ourselves, we also rediscover those around us, or far away, in a game of distances that balances out our social roles. In the meantime, to quote the title of a tondo, “The eyes are still alive”. These hazy presences of Caruso’s seem to show how we sometimes find greater pleasure in solitude and sighing than in the arms of a lover, because ultimately our biography is written in the colours of suffering and resignation. In her diaphanous landscapes, where buildings shatter the space and divide it, if they do not sequester it, we find the sole element of true interaction between man and self, for it is here that geometrical rationality cannot but deal with these souls on hold. They stretch out in a sort of unfathomable continuum, possibly responding to Celan’s invitation: “talk, you too, be the last to talk, tell your thoughts. Talk – but do not divide the yes from the no. And give meaning to your thought: give it shadow.” I sometimes admire artists who think of immortality as though being a part of the history of the world – with a presence that will be for ever, until the end of days, until death us do part – were some fundamental necessity. But then the time comes to kick the bucket and no one is able to solve the mystery. But one is, and one remains motionless, like newspaper cuttings, like Caruso’s human pretexts, silhouettes that multiply in rivers with none of that soft sound of falling water, or the scratchy sound of pebbles sliding on the shoreline. The structure on which the painter confers her own view of things is the minimalism of the voices and the simplification of the Pythagorean harmonies that turn into perpendicular links in an investigation of the other, as an experience of the unconscious. In Non hai nessuno che cammina per casa (You Have No One Walking around the House), the perpetuation of humans and animals, and their becoming a form among forms, with the cancellations, liquefaction of limbs and even their submission and superimposition on different levels constitutes the closest definition of this loss of the exclusive concept of the body in favour of a persistent and perpetuating memory even after the end. Even the acid colours, which are a pre-eminent connotation, like the shapes and structures, snatch the viewer away from the real world and into an unreal, alternative dimension. Everything that climbs up onto reality in these paintings then appears to plunge into the rivers of the mind, which are possibly the filaments that race across the canvas, like waves cancelling each other out, generating and giving birth to new assertions. And this takes my mind racing back to Borges’s young Ireneo Funes, who “was nineteen years old; he had been born in 1868; he seemed to me as monumental as bronze, more ancient than Egypt, older than the prophecies and the pyramids”, whose good fortune was also his worst condemnation, for he had a prodigious memory with which he kept count of every detail and every variation of that slightest detail. His physical immobility, caused by an accident, did not turn into immobility of thought. On the contrary, this new perspective that made use of memory as the key element of the story, took him outside of any historical connection, into a sort of life lived in synchronicity with each element. And so, when we forget everything about ourselves, when you forget everything about me, a body remains as a shadow, but also the mystery of what we really were. What I was, what you were. Here we stop, with eyes staring and still alive.

Flavio Arensi

(Published in the Art Book “Anna Caruso.S·I·L·L·A·B·A·R·I di Goffredo Parise”, All Around Art Edizioni, 96 pg. 2016)