Stallone – Nag Arnoldi
“Stallone” (Stallion) by Nag Arnoldi (Locarno, September 18th, 1928): a sculptor, a painter and a Swiss-Italian teacher. As from 1954 he started exhibiting in some art exhibitions in Lugano and nearby areas and later participated in more important art exhibitions in all major Swiss cities. His interest in sculpture started in 1960 while often going to Mexico (where his brother used to live) and getting in touch with the Aztec and Maya native arts as well as the Pre-Colombian civilizations’. More and more often he began exhibiting in the American continent: Mexico, Porto Rico, the Virgin Islands and USA. As from the ‘70s he used to focus mainly on sculpture. Since 1971 he has been living in Comano, moving to Venice and Mexico City from time to time.
The most peculiar production phase by Arnoldi is the horses’, whose privileged role in the artist’s imagery and unconscious is the evidence of his love for the animal world. More than any other, the horse is a beloved subject, constantly dealt with in a variety of ways over the years. There is a long story behind (and not only artistic), where the author has celebrated the relationship between the horse and the knight by investigating the universe between the myth and the symbol: from the mythical Sun horses up to Apollo’s chariot, from the horseback-riding emperors up to the falling and crying-out horses and knights by Marino Marini. Nag is robbing his horses of all the history, he is getting rid of the knight too who keeps nature under control, man retreats and the horse only stays there and seems to go back to nature. The animal, the injured stallion, alone or together with other horses, becomes Arnoldi’s focus: engraved, lacerated and wounded by the artist; deformed, contorted and hurt at the same time, overwhelmed by such a nervous tension that keeps it constantly alert and on-going as if afflicted even by a painful muscle contraction. These horses are pure nature and instinct but even something more: bravery and rebellion, pain and cry for freedom. Nag always recognizes the tension, sometimes even aggressive but never mild-tempered, the precarious balance of a raised leg ready to hit, the twisting of the bust, the watchful eye, the suddenly stopped movement, the turned head, the strained neck muscles and, at the same time, he endeavors to make volumes tighter, surfaces thinner and ulcerations more stretched-out. Finally he makes a double effort: on one hand, he brings the horse back to its natural character by removing any trace of private or public history, on the other hand, through the language of art he lets the horse play a starring role in sculpture and makes it express the “pain of living” and the cumbersome and controversial condition of the human existence. Once this overload of sense is perceived and since this condition is not of the animal world’s only, Nag’s animals transcend their natural origin and become the expression of the human and animal universe at the same time and their final meaning is perceived inside “living” as a mixture of wild ferine nature and constant tension, fear, violence and potential drama. At this point the peculiar hard law of nature, i.e. the law of the strongest in the world of animals, becomes an instrument of analysis to investigate the relationships of strength, force and power in the world of Man and his history: life of people and not only animals’ is too often ruled by the this law of abuse and oppression. This is where the two worlds get closer, converge and reflect. Into Nag’s hands not only does the “Stallion” embody his living condition but, at the same time, he also experiences Man’s living, earlier and deeper than the Man does. This condition does not end with him, goes beyond himself and transcends him by expressing and disclosing a condition of life and such a painful law that becomes universal through the insanity of the human behavior.