It is the body – of a man, of a woman – that interprets and reveals Roberto Kusterle’s thought. The body bends to form those lines, those forms, taking on postures and attitudes that create the idea of the fusion of man – body – cosmos – nature, an entity alive with silent tension and with novel and exhaustive potentiality.
The body may take on the guise of a mass or it may, with unsuspected originality, reveal the signs of time passing over its skin. A thorn covering may suggest the need to defend itself against any possible aggression.
A winged woman silently shows her angelic identity, while faces grafted with butterfly wings, bird wings, fish-heads and octopus tentacles seem to take on the properties of others, whether purposely or accidentally (it makes no difference).
The body becomes a place inhabited by animals, shells and roots of trees, or else a place for the entire world to be drawn on. Clay-covered bodies of men and women blend into the background, bearing witness to the unity of the whole, their faces covered or their eyes shut so as not to disturb the atmosphere of harmony, concentration, and assimilation with nature. An intense exchange of energies is created with nature, suggesting the presence of a potentiality that is yet to be completely revealed. This is the series of portraits entitled ‘Body Rites’.
When passing from the interior of a setting to its exterior the artist’s thought takes on the forms of narrative, widening the significance of all the various elements brought into play within the image. The merging of man with nature is no longer expressed through reference to a detail, animal or vegetable, but instead creates a direct bond with the universality of the cosmos. Faces begin to show themselves openly, expressing a variety of feelings: at times serious and concentrated, at others calm and relaxed, they appear, like their bodies, in relation to everything that surrounds and involves them.
This is the passage from ‘Body Rites’ to the stories in ‘anakronos’.
From the fixity of an iconic image we now move on to the staging of one or more characters in direct confrontation with the elements of nature: water, earth, fire, but also fish, birds, shells, flowers. There is always something vaguely primordial in the atmosphere, where each element in the image communicates the idea of a primeval energy that allows us to believe in whatever sort of action or situation is proposed.
We see the image of an earth in need of nourishment and care, with wounds to be sewn up and signs to be interpreted through its alphabet, an earth with black holes to delve into, to be explored through dark desires. Or else we have the idea of a threshold to pass over and explore with deliberation, despite the difficulty of reaching an equilibrium we know to be impossible. Or else again, the realization of a miraculous haul of fish from a pool of water, or a mysterious poacher searching for the sounds of the world, gathering a series of prodigious shells…
Events touched by the extraordinary and imbued with an atmosphere of peace and a slow pace that are marvelously unsettling are proposed to us as completely natural. The scene allows no room for doubt, as everything is absolutely perfect, coherent, concrete – characters, lighting, setting, enchanted presences.
Once again we find the winged women and the fish-men previously encountered in ‘Body Rites’, immersed in their particular and at times seemingly banal everyday life, following dreams and interacting with others like themselves.
The effect, though disconcerting, is fascinating. The light and the atmosphere of these images never fail to create a perfect equilibrium, signifying the union of man with nature, in an assimilation of hitherto unsuspected naturalness and intense spirituality. Emblematic in this sense is the image of hairs that become roots whose return to the earth possesses the lyricism of a harmonic chord, embodied in a form mirrored in the line of shoulder to ground, where the circularity is suggestive of totality and universality.