In producing his works, the artist adopts many languages. Painting is often used as a misleading element to conclude a composition. Milvio’s hand stands out for a linear style that traces skinny and convulsive human figures, physiognomically burnt with excesses, crimes and follies. The human figures show their immoral dissidence laying on fluid and vibrant chromatic areas painted with precious pigments that constitute the only technical affectation dear to the artist. In sculpture, Milvio favours bronze – counter-reformed bronze, gaunt as an inquisitor’s cheek being driven to the representation of horrific fear via a tortuous and skeletal use of figures.
Basel’s Weiss Falk Gallery is opening Milvio’s new solo show Die besten Jahre unseres Lebens, I migliori anni della nostra vita. Part of the show is committed to Italian newspapers. There will be present a newsstand and four “box offices”: arcane dark glasses (provided with coin trays) that unveil the painted silhouettes of Milvio’s landsknechts. To buy a ticket or a newspaper at the artist’s shops looks like subscribing to what Freud masterfully narrates in his seventeenth-century demonological case of neurosis where painter Cristoph Haizmann makes a deal with the devil. Haizmann is not looking for abundance nor for pleasure, he submits himself to the devil
for nine years because of a deep melancholy caused by the death of a parent and because he’s anguished of not making ends meet. The painter looks for someone who can comfort him, assuring the satisfaction of his basic needs, therefore he finds the devil. It’s not the man devoured by yearning the one who makes the Faustian deal, the Teufelspakt: any common neurotic could buy the ticket at Milvio’s box office, purchasing it from the malefic painted psychopomp who rests behind the glass. The box office becomes a station of temptation. The Italian daily press published on the show’s opening day, including Il Foglio with this article, will be stapled on Milvio’s newsstand which stops from being the place where newspapers get sold and becomes the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg where Luther nailed his 95 theses. The nailed newspaper is not an everyday object anymore, turning into something suspect, a bait-and-switch or a MacGuffin.
“After all, the mise en scène may dissemble the religious perception of the end persevering on the consistency and significance of the rest”: these are words by Artaud for his mise en scène of Strindberg, an author that stands as a pole star to Milvio. What Artaud says can express the same ironic dissimulation of the Geenna that the artist has always ensured to instill in his installative ensembles. From one of the box offices the viewer can glimpse the second room of the exhibition where he has no access. In that room the artist shows Altare per divinità storicizzate, a d’après from the illustrations of Tiger Tateishi of a graphic project by Ettore Sottsass. The altar is conceived for the domestic worship of deities electable by the owner. It stands in the dark, on a flooded floor, empty of any deity; the artist chooses to resurrect a project in order not to complete it. Milvio leaves it neglected to show the impossible task of electing gods and worships.
Sofia Silva, Il Foglio, 7 Dic 2019, pg. 2.
Ph. Flavio Karrer