For Tobia Ravà to create is a vital need. Proceeding from the real thing, he collects with irony, sagacity and disrepectfulness the tickles, that stimulate the fantasy, transforming them with a magic gesture, which assumes a sort of his proper psychic resonance, into poetry, into something “different”, dense and pregnant, always with great esthetical value.
His way, imbued with surrealistic and metaphysical symbolism, reflects a continuous mistrust in the subjection to aesthetic paradoxes and existential myths. He unites with admirable sensibility the rich occidental artistic tradition and the signs of the Hebrew symbolism, with its alphanumeric ciphers from esoteric significances, creating a new, metaphorical language, playful and pungent. Although nearly never is figured the human being, man is always in the centre of his work, is the spirit of the world, creator of everything, that exists beneath nature.
After having resuscitated furniture, electric and information apparatus in strange keys, changed and completely altered in their function to a construction and destruction game, he disembarks with the recent cycles “Dall’Altrove” (From Elsewhere) and “Soglie” (Thresholds) in new metaphysical worlds, where the imagines, which belong to the sphere of dreams and the onirical vision, remind of contents, which jump across space and time, the culture and history, to become universal language, intuitively understandable and poetical. The complex of the real world inevitably made fall down the censorships between different codes and brought the artistic research upon the level of breeding and the metaphors. So embodies the artist, following an ancestral impulse omnivorous and all absorbing, the reality in a kind of PANTA REI in memory of Heraklit, after whom nothing develops and nothing wrecks, but all things change. And how the becoming of Heraklit is not chaotic and dispersed, but well-organised by an eternal law, the work of Rava is likewise intelligible owing to a certain logic, that, possibly not conspicuous on the first sight- if one gets lead astray by the chromatic access- is very substantial indeed and combines and follows the sense of the becoming of the things, the passing and the transfiguration in a permanent and perpetual metamorphosis.
Through the testing of new artistic techniques, which reach from the elaborations of fotofusions, exposures, paste-ups, painted and assembled also with other materials, Rava presents a particular interpretation of the threshold as limit, not only visible horizon, hybrid area, which can offer and substitute new meanings again and again.
The most recent series of the “Soglie” represent a Hebrew letter put as a key of access to the reading of the work. Every letter and so every piece has a numeric value, ethical and esoterical. Beginning with the first letter of the alphabet, aleph, which expresses the concept of beginning and for this reason is connected with the image of water, symbolic first-born element, reminding of the amniotic liquid and so of the origin of life, the artist approaches the big themes of humanity through lyrical images, evocative and full of optical sensuality.
The “Orizzonti dall’Altrove” are landscapes, mirror-worlds, connected through an opening. Doorsteps, passages, open gates, that unite a this side with a beyond, both of them attractive, filling with desire to expand. The images of the real, related to each other in a miraculous way, are reborn below, new forms, covered with a seductive skin made of colour by which the artist, liberating from the fear of the emptiness, leaves his unmistakable trace, according to that, you can follow the evolution, in an abstract sense, in the semantic passage from the signs to the letters and to the poetry of the numbers.
The “Orizzonti dall’Altrove” are metaphysical universes, which elapse parallel to the insignificant and accidental world, dreamy appearances, conjuring and actual in this way, because there is nothing truer than the reverie and comparable to the power of the idea, able to act and to alter the human soul and so the world.
Maria Luisa Trevisan
The “Orizzonti dall’Altrove, in “Mondino, Ravà, Silberstein. Aspetti di arte ebraica in Italia”, a cura di M. L. Trevisan, catalogo della mostra, Este, Pescheria Vecchia, 6-29 settembre 1998