Giovanni Guidon: Pages From A Diary

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Meditations in Drawing Giovanni Guidon was born the eighth child in a minister's family in Samedan, the Gisons, in 1948. The sterile, puritanical atmosphere at home, where academic achievement was all that counted, made the dreamily disposed, artistically gifted boy feel an "outsider" from an early age. His multi-faceted creative talents were neither recognized nor encouraged. From the beginning, he was on his own,forced to find his own way. Traidend, among other things, as a construction supervisor and Swissair steward, he practiced various professions over the years, always searching for a way to combine his personal need for freedom with earning a living. Painful setbacks were inevitable. In order not to lose his sense of identity and of inner freedom, Guidon began, some thirty years ago -arguably out of desperation- to draw as means of meditations. Every experience and emotion - illness, death, loneliness, love, sexuality, jealousy - was processed in a kind of "diary", whose entries, flowing freely onto the page, helped him exorcise his fears and sense of anger, center himself, and reconcile himself with the outside world. In 1994, Guidon discovered, to his amazement, that his friends and acquaintances were also intrerested in the pages of his "diary". His friend Manlio del Curto, an artist from Ticino, persuaded him to show his pen-and-ink drawings to a wider audience. This led to a number of exhibitions, in the cantons of Ticino, Aargau, and Zürich, which brought him significant recognition and success. Being self-taught, Guidon has not been seduced by any particular artistic movement. Through his individualistic style, his drawings mirror psychologial states witch can trigger in the viewer the shock of sudden recognition. This direct language has proved virtually irresistible to his audience. Again and again, one is moved by teh message contained in a single picture, whether by the reawakening of long-lost feelings or by being led thought a conflicted situation to a new sense of balance and harmony. Guidon's works impress one by the boisterous power of their exuberance on the one hand, and by their sensitivity and humor on the other. In his mature, orginal, picture-language, the artist succeeds in evoking the subtle balance between a cry for help and consolation, between disappointment and hope, between bitter accusation and joyful reconcilation. The "Pages From A Diary" exhibition will provoke in ist visitors a sense of stillness and of motion, a feeling both of reaching inwards and of stepping outwards. January 5, 1999 Eva Alder (translated by Jennifer Davidson)