By Lidia Monda, Camilla e Vittoria F. Zampella
The sea is unique and it washes all the souls in the same way. It is the most democratic habitat we have, since it gives all of itself to us, but not before making everybody equal, bringing us, with a certain neutral severity, to our two-legged animal nature incapable to swim. The sea teaches to be humble, and it is pure philosophy. The sea is MANA, “the vital force” that ties together ten artists and Californian surfers who, at certain point in 2013, gathered in Hawaii, and under the wise guidance of the director of the Museum of Lancaster MOHA, Andi Campognone, have infused life and energy to this adventure of art and sport. “California dreaming: tra Surf e Arte” is, in fact, the title of an exhibition to be held from 28 May to 10 June in Naples, at Villa di Donato. Cured by Cinthia Penna and Andi Campognone herself, the exhibition features ten artists: Craig Skibs Barker, Casper Brindle, Ben Brough, Alex Couwenberg, Ned Evans, Steve Fuchs, Eric Johnson, David Lloyd, Ken Pagliaro and Alex Weinstein, who interpret the theme of the sea, each in their own way, trough photographs, cubist paintings or translucent installations. Two artists-surfers from Naples, Rosario Guida and Dario Correale join the group, riding this wave with their works. Starring also in a docufilm ‘Mana’, continuously screened yesterday during the opening night of the exhibition, these art surfers arrive in Naples, gliding with their surfboards from the California waves on our city, where they thrilled us with the their colourful “Joy of Life”, just like the famous painting by Matisse. The exhibition, inaugurated last night in Naples, will be held from May 28 to June 10 at Villa di Donato, near the “Bosco di Capodimonte”. It collects colourful works with strong pop colours, modern and informal, which are blended in a wonderful ensemble with the atmosphere of the eighteenth-century Villa Donato, an astonishing pearl in the historic centre of Naples, a former Bourbon hunting lodge once part of the wood itself. The location was not chosen by chance, as it houses the Cultural Association Art. 1307, which promotes the art at international level, creating an authentic hub of ideas and research. A patronage that promotes new ideas, based on the merits and not on the name of the artists, is something that, let’s face it, in these miserable times due not only to the crisis, impresses us. And the combined set of the exhibition and film leaves its mark, as you breathe the smell of the sun on your skin and the warmth of a thirty-year friendship that, above all, binds the ten protagonists of this adventure. But it goes further, delineating a common weltanschauung built on the value of sport and the team spirit, on the themes of the sea and networking, on the sense of colour and of visual representation. And as it happens among friends, whereas we find ourselves on a shared platform of deep values, so in this exhibition too we find a common base of principles, all, however, interpreted differently by each of the ten artists, according to their own personal perspective. Energy in constant fluctuation. The individual who gives voice to the group. The group that gives voice to the individual. A movement that comes and goes. Just like the sea waves.