THE CIRCLE OF THE SHOAH
" I stand as witnness
of a common fate,
I survived that
time and that place"
The artist as a demiurge,a remaker,at the end of each story,with fine,shapeless,indistinct sand of presences and evocations through discreet,suggestive metamorphoses,almost apparitions caught in a second and fixed on the film of coscience in an eternal,ambiguous oscillation between disappearance and transformation,between abstraction and readable image.
“Matter is my objective,
withch is dignity of man,
caught in grey and in crude black.
Dust that becomes, under your hand,
an embroidery or a face”.
So writes Sorel.And from matter it is a materialization,literally,of faces,emotions,human expressions,sensation that rise as kneaded in matter itself,imprints of motions of the soul, passionate apparitions full of sensations.In the langue of art Sorel creates words that are hard and precise,square and gentle,flakes and fragments,bits of a reflection between secret planes that make traces of the human appear in a spatiality without cardinal points, in an eternally suspended time,frozen in a present infinity.It takes ages to make the frail canvas that sand,metals,resins,wax melting and pigments have consolidated and trasformed become dust again,in an inert silence far from man and his sight which now surprises and humanises these shapes,giving them a soul.Sorel's art is an art of estrangement, of alterity and extraneousness that only our eye,through emotions,can cause to vibrate with empathy,cross-references,allusions and assonances.It is an art of memory and remembrance,which conjures and evokes,and is therefore all the more incisive and dramatic,even more tense than simple figuration,than realism,than acrobatic abstraction that risks becoming sickly-sweet decorativeness.It is an art of silence,of meditation,in which emptiness dilates and at the same time clots in ectoplasms whose traces are impressed with emotions,events,stories that are so full and implacable that one can hear their voiceless scream, recognise their stigmata,their wounds,witnesses of a total,existential ordeal,shround of unresolved transitions.Therefore,Sorel's art is firstly testimony.Sorel is not a visionary,he does not express a hallucinated world,he is not a necromancer of reality,he is a clear-eyed,curt witness who looks and participates in all is being,in the completeness of his humanity that is made of reason and empathy;he testifies to all he has seen and so perpetuates it in time,beyond vision,allmost making it forever present.And there is a sort of urgency in withnessing,theretention of the image, no matter how deformed and unstable,ready to be reabsorbed into the magma of the shapeless,gaseous and liquid emptiness all around.Though it may appear “per speculum in aenigmate”,like in a mirror,it retains so much emotion that it still can involve and upset.”The need to tell the 'others',to make the 'others'a ware”-Primo Levi wrote in “If this is a man-”had become for us,before and after the liberation,an immediate and violent impulse,so much so that it competed with the other basic needs”.And it is inevitable for Sorel to tell the Shoah,the orrible,unspeakable tragedy of the annihilation of a people,the immeasurable tragedy that seems to sum up all the others,subsume every holocaust.And the “circle” that encompasses it is that closed shape that prevents thought from getting away from it,that makes memory compulsive and the need to bear witness urgent,undelayable, beyond any particular,any clarification,any trivial detail,to collect the traces of faces turned into ash,their screaming,their suffering forever floating on quartz sand,in an existential synthesis that art makes objective and more present than history and the documents that the torturers tried to delete do.Thus,Sorel becomes “the moral witness”whose figure is masterfully described by Avishai Margalit in L'etica della memoria(The ethics of memory),il Mulino,Bologna 2006,that writes:”The moral witness as the special assignment to unveil the evil he gets in touch with”.Giorgio Sorel's art has the property of making him a “moral witness”,and the empathy that he shows toward all suffering,saving it from indifference and indistinctness,and restoring tham to our present,our very gazing and participating, makes him not only,in the Latin way,a “testis”,but also a “superstes”-the survivor-,originally a synonym of witness.
President of the Academy of Fine Arts of Parma