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Giampaolo Amoruso

Sicily, Italy, 1961

A look at humanity

Over the past 45 years, the Amoruso style, full of humor and poetry, has been confirmed and traveled the world, even though nothing predestined Giampaolo Amoruso for this universe.

With origins mixed between North and South, Belgium and Sicily, Giampaolo discovered glass at a very young age. Not as an artist, but simply because his family lived near the crystal glassworks in Boussu (Belgium). He found a job there at the age of 15 and began blowing glass. He could have stayed with technical excellence, manufacturing and utility, but life decided otherwise.

In the 1980s, contemporary glass art was evolving rapidly. A short-lived group called L'Anverre made its mark on the Belgian scene with works by artists of diverse origins such as Edward Leibovitz, Jiri Suhajek and Jean-Pierre Umbdenstock. All use glass, exploring its many facets and transforming it into works of art with astonishing forms. They claim another dimension to their art and integrate it with other artistic expressions. Specialized galleries are springing up in Brussels, such as Galerie Transparence and Cheval de Verre. Museums in Charleroi and Liège are enriching their collections with "contemporary glass".

It was in this dynamic and passionate environment that Giampaolo Amoruso evolved, while understanding that his early livelihood could give him the means to express himself in a very different way. A series of powerful encounters gave him the opportunity to leave behind the frustrating demands of production. Claude Laurent opened the way to creation. His friendship with Jean-Pierre Umbdenstock was so strong that they never gave up. They both developed creativity and pushed glass to its limits, each in his own style: they dared.

1988 marked the definitive closure of Verreries de Boussu, where Giampaolo Amoruso had apprenticed for some ten years. He took advantage of this period to attend evening art classes, to take part in competitions with his first sculptures and to gradually insert himself into the circle of Belgian artists. He set up his first studio in Boussu in 1992, before moving to Deerlijk in 1996. He decided to let his imagination run wild, to have fun, and to combine creativity and technique.

In 1993, he met Belgian artist José Vermeersch (1922-1997), known for his lively terracotta figures. This encounter gave rise to a number of glass figures, a blend of the techniques of two figurative artists. But Giampaolo Amoruso was a recluse, preferring his studio where he created his quiet family. He combines his astonishing technical acumen with his need for introspective research, choosing to tell stories.

When we talk about an artist, we feel obliged to clearly establish the phases of his evolution. The one we're interested in today is that of freedom. Amoruso began with his Bonhommes de la Lune, which evoke poetry, illustrate the triumph of creation and the richness of matter. After poetic beauty came inner beauty. The enigma sets in with large heads with small, perceptive eyes that ask questions. The artist ends up modeling the body, first naked, then painted in bright colors, dressed in cap and pants. The funny men become serious, silent, sometimes topped with ornaments or enclosed in globes that protect and express fragility. Whether standing or sitting, the figures are real, eloquent, astonished and astonishing, proud of their bodies. Groups form of upright men, with attributes: some speak, others listen. Amoruso's sculptures do not leave us indifferent: they arouse deep feelings for the simple reason that they act like a mirror held up to us.

Anne Vanlatum


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