SPACES OF THE SOUL - 3 SCENARIOS OF CONTEMPORARY ART
Spaces of the Soul
Riccardo De Marchi, Orna Feinstein, Jonathan Leach, Brookhart Jonquil, Wade Kramm, Bruno Munari, Paul Myoda, Raffaele Rossi, Amie Adelman, Richard Anuszkiewicz, Verónica Vázquez and Frank Stella.
By Elena Forin
A particular moment exists in the work of a contemporary artist when the integration between space and vision comes into contact with areas that prove to be extremely productive. The values of optical research have begun to take increasingly environmental and monumental directions, expanding the presence of images in space and therefore making possible the emergence of real visual events beyond the painted surface.
GRAV, Gruppo T, Gruppo N and plenty of other movements, including those outside Europe, have highlighted the visual space and pioneered a vein of research that has still to exhaust its effectiveness. This exhibition – a heterogeneous collection of works from different fields of research and generations that partly embraces and partly goes beyond these optical and kinetic roots – showcases some of these directions.
The ideal starting point for a journey into the realms of perception is provided by the presence of three works that correspond to three great masters in the history of contemporary art: Frank Stella with Redjand from 1982, Bruno Munari with a Peano Curve from 1991, and Richard Anuszkiewicz with a work created in 1984, Temple of the Dusk Blue.
The exhibition documents the object-based phase of Stella’s work, which began in the mid-1970s. This period saw the artist expand into the surrounding space, while remaining faithful to the wall. In this cycle, in which movements and the evolution of the forms are reduced to the visual and sign values of drawing, the extension of the work touches areas that are sometimes incredibly vast, challenging the perception and very structure of the spaces outside and inside the work, also questioning the processes and presence of the public in an exhibition context.
These issues can also be viewed through the prism of the work of Riccardo De Marchi, Wade Kramm, Paul Myoda and Verónica Vázquez, for all of whom the "spaces of the soul" take on an inclusive and monumental dimension.
With his mirrored, embossed and perforated surfaces, De Marchi leads the public into an experience that is not merely an emblematic participation in the work but a unique dialogue with a reality traversed by the holes that are metaphorical traces and imprints of time. On the other hand, Vázquez creates a habitat with her hollows, a place that contains and is shot through with the greater environment that surrounds it, an area in which it is possible to experiment with the boundaries between inclusion, belonging and separation. Wade Kramm’s work aims to identify invisible and inaccessible dimensions in space, outlining walls, floors and ceilings in order to demonstrate the environment through a reading of its possible volumes. Through a system of LED lights, reflective acrylic and microprocessors, Paul Myoda instead transforms the exhibition galleries into multisensory experiences in which the public, surrounded by lights and reflections, find themselves dropped into a setting that is a hybrid of nature and imagination, organic and artificial.
In a Perfect World (III) by Brookhart Jonquil (as well as the majority of this young American artist’s work) also firmly questions the vision of space and its activation: invasive and characterised by a fierce potential energy, it continuously challenges the viewer’s presence as well as their gaze.
Playing with vision was also the direction chosen by the multifaceted genius, Bruno Munari: through the visual arts, teaching and essay writing, he focused on the inexhaustible resources of perception, keeping normally accepted aesthetic positions and behaviours in check. One such example of this need is provided by the series dedicated to the Peano Curve, the theorem that identifies the presence of a continuous curve able to fill the space of a square. To this unusual perceptive situation, Munari added the variable of colour, creating maps suspended between rigour and paradox.
The boundaries of singularities linked to the image are also where Orna Feinstein’s monoprints are to be found: figures, forms and materials of all kinds can be used to bring unique visual hybrids to life, vibrant with strength and mystery.
As well as in Munari’s work, the relationship between geometry and vision also represents a "territory of the soul" for Richard Anuszkiewicz: his formal, coloured structures originate in a reflection that combines the dynamic effects of the work in relation to the light. A student of Josef Albers, Anuszkiewicz has followed his own reasoning from the 1960s to the present day, through these issues, between coherence and innovation, offering the younger generations a tilt at the infinite possibilities for variation and behavioural matrices of the work in response to different variables.
Jonathan Leach and Amie Adelman – the former through works derived predominantly from architecture and nature, the second with structures based on more rigorously optical systems – demonstrate the relevance of this line of research on the presence, permanence and perception of the individual and the world. In moments of uncertainty such as those we are experiencing, these artists offer the traces of a measurable universe that nevertheless leaves plenty of margin for individuality and the emergence of unexpected experiences.
A unique stylistic exception to this collection otherwise based around a rigorous approach, however diversified, is offered by Raffaele Rossi’s atmospheric painting: his intense narrative value leads us into a different pictorial temperature, yet one that is intrinsically oriented towards movement, as well as unique and extremely captivating poetic tensions.