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
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,
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.