‘Don't you know that you don't come out alive from the 80s’ the Afterhours sang, a sort of warning linked to a specific historical period that has been a real watershed for the languages of art and beyond, forerunner and source of inspiration for future generations. Public Diary - the new solo show by Francesco Garbelli, curated by Francesca Di Giorgio, in the spaces of La Giarina Arte Contemporanea in Verona - starts from one of the decades that today, from a distance, can be viewed with lucidity through the filter and the magnifying glass of the present.
For many historians the '80s, in their new and old, of continuity and rupture, were «the last real mix of the 20th century and the first of the 21st century: the point of passage and transition between two socio-universes - very different cultural events, in which 20th-century phenomena overlapped in dissolution with the stimuli of the century that was about to open up». Art does not escape confrontation with history and reveals itself fully in the flow of events. This is why the temporal indication of the subtitle is fundamental to understand the evolution of an entire research, without context from the historical context of departure and arrival, and to build that ideal bridge that connects the production of Francesco Garbelli, from the first installations into urban space - with interventions of street art and public art, on toponymy and road signs - to the latest results ranging from different media recovering the use of the meaningful word: form and content never separated. The starting point for Public Diary is given by a substantial nucleus of works from the collection of the gallerist Cristina Morato, attributable to the artist's early years of research and which, on display, is related to more recent works through social, ecological, and geopolitical themes. ... Extremely current and debated themes, today, but that Garbelli explored in years in which they had not at all attracted public attention and which make him a true pioneer of Italian public and relational art.
On display, a dozen works, from ‘The Paradox of the Pedestrian’ from the early 1990s, to ‘I'm not racist but ... The revolt of words’, an unauthorized installation of five plaques applied to a wall along the Naviglio Grande towpath in Milan, on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, March 21st, 2021. The paradox, in fact, prompts us to reason about the contradictory nature of our existence and our actions and the possibility of analyzing our condition from other points of view: "We are the role that society cites, we play different roles in reverse roles which, too often, do not meet the rules of civil life", says the artist.