Greppi and the technique of etching

Since xylographic, lithographic, and etching techniques arose almost contemporaneously with print methods and all their stages of diachronic refinement from the necessity of replicability, they are all linked, unavoidably, to the concept of the multiple. They go beyond, then and forever, the myth of the unicum as platonic archetype of the ideal, spark of synderesis, unrepeatable breath of divinity. The patience of the artist adapts to the freedom of the creating artist; he analytically dissects, fragments, and demolishes his work, to be able to reconstruct it, true to itself, both as copy and original.
For what purpose, for what excruciating devotion, should he bow to the rules of this craft’s apprenticeship, of this artisan culture that is now so obsolete – different, past – compared to the endless fascination for digital techniques, to the home scanner’s wonders, to the ordinary miracle of a photocopy?
It is known that poets work by oxymoron. Giovanni Greppi, initiated to the discipline of this art, follower and devout, lives a strict anarchy. He creates consecutive avatars, searching for the unicum, the perfect one, within a rather complex framework, made of remapping and etchings, dilutions, percentages and chronometers, totally unaware of the commercial value of his science.
This is because every sheet that comes out of his press bears an image that screams uniqueness, not subtly, not imperceptibly...unique by feeling and vocation.
Giovanni, impeccable craftsman, prepares his plates, engraves his zinc.
Then, in his hands, every plate becomes a palette, supporting chromatic inspirations to which, as an image, it succumbs to surface again – perhaps – as a ghost of itself, as a whispered hint of other apparitions, of other epiphanies.
In an unfathomable dialectic that contains some alchemy, clear prints of objects, and faces, and places, overlapping with one another, give up the implied assurance of inalterability, of individuality; they flex and reflect, like echoes of lost voices and blend, for a magic instant, in an unrepeatable consonance.
He, the artist, orchestrates the choir according to an inner rhythm, to a music from elsewhere, forever and always, always chasing, dreaming...
....dreaming of a secret path that from the here-and-now translates into the ideal, pursuing the mystical passage across illusion, until the polychrome  Maja’s veil is abolished in a final blue.

From the cold Cluniac scriptorium, from the bookrest soaked in the forgetful northern light, a remote miniaturist raises his head over the ecstatic parchment that illuminates his prayer’s words with gold and carmine, and acknowledges in this man of today a  timeless brother, engrossed and abstracted in the same ascesis.


Claudia Liverani