Grazia Varisco “Filo Rosso 1960-2015” at Cortesi Gallery, Lugano
Filo Rosso (red thread, guiding thread) is the title the artist has chosen to accompany the connected paths of inquiry presented in this show, where works sometimes distant from each other in time are exhibited in a perceptual, sensory dialogue.
Grazia Varisco, born in Milan on 5 October 1937, is a major exponent of kinetic and programmed art, and was a member of Gruppo T in Milan along with Gianni Colombo, Davide Boriani, and Gabriele De Vecchi.
The selection of works on view presents a sampling of the artist’s different branches of investigation, from the magnetic games of her initial kinetic phase to the constant modification of visual rules that has characterized her shifting identity from the Sixties to the present.
In every stage of her career, Varisco explores the dynamic essence of the image, employing different tools to reshape the sensibility she has acquired, instruments that never exclude the elements of doubt and unease, amplifying our perception of what usually happens yet goes unobserved.
The “Tavole Magnetiche” (1959) play on the oppositions between mobile, magnetic elements arranged on metal surfaces, objects that can be moved around, based on elementary dialectic polarities: order/disorder, empty/full, open/closed, symmetrical/asymmetrical.
The kinetic objects are “Schemi Luminosi Variabili” (1962-) which are programmed to function endlessly; the key factor is the dynamic energy that alternates light and darkness in a seductive electrical hypnosis, constantly testing the viewer’s capacity to process input.
The optical/kinetic movement grows stronger in the “Reticoli Frangibili” and “Mercuriali” (1965-1971), visually magical experiments in which the temporary perceptual event flows up out of the broken structures, with the surprise of something happening under one’s very eyes.
An inclination to modify the fixed, frontal nature of the surface can be seen in the “Extrapagine” (1974-1982): jutting folds, calculated deviations from the rules of form, violations of the geometric grid, divergences and aberrations of chance, shapes that respond to unexpected events in the outside world.
Also included are her “Gnomoni” (1975-1982): broken, altered geometric structures in which one portion of the sides is bent and raised up from the plane, a dynamic alternation of real and painted shadows, suspension points that hover on the lightest updraft.
Lastly, the“Quadri Comunicanti”series develops on the idea of “rectilinear alignment” within the metal frames, a suspended evocation of the symbolic space of painting, engaging the viewer in a sensory interaction.
The exhibition highlights Grazia Varisco’s unique artistic personality, which probes and investigates the world through variations of light, space and movement, sensoriality and perception.
Curated by Claudio Cerritelli
until 19 June 2015
Quadri Comunicanti. Filo Rosso, 2008
Schema luminoso variabile. RVOD, 1964
Grazia Varisco “Filo Rosso 1960-2015” installation views at Cortesi Gallery, Lugano, 2015
Courtesy: Cortesi Gallery, Lugano/London. Photo: Bruno Bani.