Giovanni Cavazzon..

from All Around Venus

Beautiful female bodies have always symbolized Aphrodite and Venus, the goddesses of beauty and love. Bodies which become the object of desire, the creation of amorous desire, where their unveiling, undressing, thickens rather than weakens the mystery of sensuous love.
Cavazzon is on a quest for the female body. He is in search of Venus, the most mysterious of all goddesses. His quest starts with those splendid drawings leading to the big acrylic Venuses unveiled and liberated from those modern crates and the protective polystyrene; Venus is exhibited and labeled:
Venus Cerulean, Venus Rose, Venus Ivory,Venus Mixta, The Birth of Venus (La Nascita di Venus).
We do not know where Cavazzon discovered these Venuses. Perhaps they were old frescoes embellishing the homes of nobles, taken down and restored with a taste for the modern, and then labeled as goods ready to be used to bring a refined touch of antiquity to the gelid décor of banks encased in glass, cement and steel. Perhaps the painter, after imagining and creating her, tries to remove the charm which these seductive female figures possess with a touch of irony and sense of detachment. The later hypothesis is confirmed in the two oil paintings where Cavazzon pays a tribute to two great artists of the past, Ingres and Manet, who took on the female nude before he did. However, a subtle parodistic game accompanies this admirable tribute. Using this as a shield, Giovanni Cavazzon can abandon himself to the pleasure of creating an object of desire in a nude woman. A real modern day woman, who willingly undresses to have her portrait made, so as to be admired, to elicit that voyeuristic pleasure of our contemplation.
The journey continues with four nudes, two are mirror images of the other two, like black and white copies or negative and positive images, like day and night, like sleeping and waking, like physicality and erotic imagination. Four flashes of memory, four icons of female nudes, four syntheses of male imagination.
The existential biological journey in
The Summer and The Winter of Venus (L’Estate and L’Inverno di Venus) may help us to discover more about women. The pleasure for pictorial expressiveness in his paintings prevails over all other considerations in these two works with mixed techniques. The painter lets himself go to a flow of emotions. The female body becomes nature. It takes on the colours of the earth, of the seasons, it swells with the short-lived happiness of every living being, it captures the touching emotions of the unmistakable signs of the unavoidable end of the flow of life, which is common destiny to both men and women.
Venus, hence, is a body to cherish. It is ours as in
The Creation of Venus (La creazione di Venus). The painter and model theme is revisited in an autobiographical note through paintings narrating Giovanni Cavazzon’s appropriation, as an artist, of the body of his beloved woman. Liberation at last. The end of a journey in quest of that fleeting image of the Goddess Venus, so desired, so mysterious, but who he has finally found by piecing together her fragments through love.

Portraits (Bringing Out).

The making of a portrait. The process of bringing out anew. Perhaps helping to give birth again.
But is that our clone, brought out, framed and hanging on a wall? It looks like us, but are we struck by a sense of amazement? Perhaps it is a long-lost brother. Or, a mirror lacking discretion?
Do not accuse your mirror if your face is crooked!”, said Gogol; and even if a mirror at times shows benevolence, we are still struck by a light sense of extraneity. Is that what we really look like? Do people see us like that? We carry our image around forgetting how much it says about us. “We are naked masks”, said Pirandello, and Cocteau (I believe) added: “After forty we are all responsible for our own faces”. Actually, and only recently a heightened awareness of one’s appearance has developed. For some, this awareness has led to obsession: resorting to cosmetics, face-lifts, liposuction and the miracles of plastic surgery. What we often fear the most is not looking older or less beautiful, but what the portrait reveals of us and of our innermost existential drive. And this is particularly at risk when the artist behind the portrait is Giovanni Cavazzon.
His mark: so fine, so delicate, so embellishing; traced with a superlative technique; of airy and charming neoclassicism. Expression is tainted with charm; concealing and revealing both character and person. Like any good biographer, he tells the story of a person, of his services to the world, his aspirations, his social status, his family and the role assigned to him by society. These portraits should be read with care: a fleeting glance, a bitter fold, a disarming thoughtfulness, a challenging attitude, a hairstyle, a detail tells us more about the character than the person. Giovanni Cavazzon has long been a frequenter of Friuli and its settings, and year after year his portraits appear like the Human Comedy of a well-identifiable society with all its peculiarities, with its myths and its rites, vices and virtues, sweetness, obstinacies and humorous sides. One might be led to think that Cavazzon’s aim was to stage a miniature world, to set up a small theatre, to tell about those who – around him – live, work and dream, all with great respect and loving attention, but also with a touch of ironic perplexity.
Perhaps only the children appear as and remain what they are. The innocence in their eyes absolves them from all judgement, even though in some multiple portraits we grasp and foresee a destiny not much different from the one assigned to their parents.
Then we have a few portraits of popular people, such as politicians, businessmen, actors and football players. Instead of adding the artist here has taken away. He has represented these people – who are characters present in the minds of many – in their unadorned familiarity, far from the limelight, without make-up or star-like attitudes and for once Mr or Ms nobody.
The painter, whoever he might be, when depicting others is telling about himself. When reading these portraits we also discover a lot of the man who created them. This hand so suprising both for technical skill and wisdom of space, is guided by the hand of a man who cares deeply for mankind. His pictorial technique can be defined as “amorous”, in love with the subjects he paints; a curious and sharp observer who is able to capture the impulses of the souls of his creatures. This technique belongs to a man who is deeply in love with his profession, driven by an innermost urgency to fix on canvas the visible and the hidden world that surrounds him and that strikes his sharp artistic sensitivity.