Gabriele Provenzano, Boel / Photo Luca Vianello
Gabriele Provenzano / Cave Canem!

New Relational Balances
Chiara Causo

It has been a long time since man seems to have lost contact with his deep roots, increasingly subjected to complex contemporary conditioning. Totally inserted into social structures that require him to conform to universally accepted and acceptable norms and values, man has quickly learned to be a social animal, forgetting that he is still an animal.

It is certainly undeniable that our deepest drives still resist under the heavy blankets of social conventions, but they now seem so well disguised that it is necessary that every now and then someone demonstrates that it is possible to encounter our deepest nature again.

This sometimes happens, as during Gabriele Provenzano’s powerful performance (Maglie, Le, 1998) held in Venice on the occasion of the 2023 VIII Venice International Performance Art Week.

Characterized by a preponderant relational aesthetic, the “Boel” performance sees the artist in the guise of a primitive dog-figure who, as if representing our common animal root, approaches the public in the desire for his ideal training which is not constraint or submission, but rather the attempt to welcome otherness without any prejudice.

[ . . . ]

Protagonists of an action whose consequences they cannot foresee, the subjects involved choose to indulge their inclinations: they can abandon themselves to adoption and be guided towards the acceptance of otherness, reuniting with their darkest shames, learning that, Ultimately, there’s nothing wrong. Or resist, try to perpetuate that sense of constraint to which they will immediately be subjected, gangrenous in the repetition of a fossil obstinacy: the refusal of the possibility of acceptance.

Gabriele Provenzano stages a powerful relational metaphor by granting a neutral space, devoid of any social convention but forcing a comparison with man’s best friend and, at the same time, with his greatest enemy: himself.

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