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New works by Irish artist Guggi presented at the Accademia Fine Art in Monaco
The Edge and Julian Lennon were present at the opening of Guggi's exhibition at the Accademia Fine Art in Monaco.

By: Natasha Girardi

MONACO.- His sculptures are iconic, his painted works of our time. Guggi’s “new works” have random extracts in Cyrillic taken from Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” for the feeling the letters evoke and not their meaning.

Extracts of “War and Peace”, albeit a found object and source of material, uncannily mirrors Guggi’s own religious journey. Tolstoy’s “Pierre” is a grueling account of the tormented journey in terms of reconciling his deep religious belief and struggle to balance the “prose and the passion”.

A meditative stillness, perhaps from his pious past, evokes a grandeur that is solemn and interiorized.

Like a dear friend, a still life by Morandi, Guggi transforms traditional subject matter and leitmotifs into the extraordinary. The mysticism of Guggi’s bowl is an ambivalent leitmotif, simultaneously sacred and profane.

It is a deep rooted element taken from his childhood, and was used as a form of punishment from a stoical father who cut his hair with a bowl. Yet the bowl emerges triumphant as a meditative and peaceful symbol. Like van Gogh’s Twin Portrait Of Chairs (1888) with his personal belongings on one, and Gauguin’s personal belongings on A Candle and a Book , so is the bowl In each of Guggi’s works.

Guggi as a subject is absent but the bowl records his presence. His being there or having been there is echoed similarily in Tracey Emin’s Turner Prize piece, “Unmade Bed”.

Yet when one looks at Guggi’s work one is struck by the temperance and harmony and compositional balance evident in Sienese artist, Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s fresco “Good And Bad Government” 1338 – 40 with its pale blues and ivory. The sense of reverence is Fra Angelico in spirit and purity of colour but the minimalist handling of everyday objects, numbers and language is modern and spiritual.

Of Guggi ‘s work, Sean Scully writes that “It is the hope and the longing that stands behind Jane Austen’s Kiss where a tidal wave of love and sensibility stands piled up in a frozen admiration behind a kiss that is never completed.”

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