The main interest of Guido Canziani Jona’s work is the exploration of confrontation – the deliberate clashing, merging and collapsing of individual forces.
Conceptually, Canziani Jona achieves this through a multi-polar fusion of different media and techniques. Sound, video, painting, drawing and sculpture as well as digital and analogue practices are all part of the possible fabric of any of his works. Importantly, these various elements are never placed in a hierarchical order, but are always treated as equal and absolutely necessary components of the entire work. That is to say that the final work is disinterested in the individual contribution of each element, rather focussing the forces that emerge where distinct elements enter into competition – or where they melt into one.
All of the artist’s works are characterized by a distinctly musical quality, the dynamics that come to the fore through the interplay of force and gentleness. Each piece occupies a physical space where contradictions coexist as an identical constructs – just as is the case in harmony and rhythm in music.
The notion of conflict or confrontation is symbolized through the dark and subdued colour palette that characterizes many of Canziani Jona’s paintings and drawings. This is further accentuated by the artist’s frequent use of large-sized copper plates as his ‘canvas’, thus replacing the white of the linen or paper with the copper’s shimmering, gloomy red. Immersed in melancholy, these paintings and drawings oscillate between the abstract and the figurative, often resulting in biomorphic shapes suggestive of a moment of chaos, an underlying tension. Even the more figurative shapes in his paintings and drawings allow themselves to slide mysteriously into the unrecognizable, as if shifting under pressure.
This further points towards a distinctly narrative quality in the components in the artist’s work. On this level, Canziani Jona intentionally plays with the viewing habits of the audience, conjuring up seemingly familiar visual shapes, only to abruptly let them disappear again. Intimations of concrete images frequently turn up; and yet they retreat into the abstract at the last ‘moment’.
This penchant for narrative is symptomatic of the artist’s basic concern to trace an idea of vitality. For Canziani Jona, all the elements of his artistic practice represent in a very basic sense the forces that inhabit nature. Given this interest in natural sciences as a study of life forces, it is perhaps not surprising that his works are often reminiscent of organic shapes and natural artefacts – the result of geological pressures.
In much of his work, Canziani Jona re-enacts these pressures: A line is drawn onto the flat surface, then violently etched into the deeper ground, only to be further exploded into the sculptural – each element drastically trying to find an extension of itself in another medium, layer, or technique. Even his most reserved drawings and paintings channel this underlying field of tension through lines that seem to be vibrating with energy and potential – always on the brink of changing shape. The fact that Canziani Jona uses a broad spectrum of materials – wood, copper, aluminium, etc – elements that operate both as traditional canvas and as sculptural objects, further allows him to experiment with different forms.
The cracks, cuts and engravings in the works are both the symbolic expression of and the factual reference to the physical-elemental power that the artist skilfully plays with, time after time. The total synchronicity, this absolute merging of all parts into a work charged with tension is the goal of this artistic project.