Observatorium, 2004
Nicola Fornello Gallery, Prato

The artist has given the title Observatorium to a series of sculpture-architectures. The term recalls the panopticum, and this explains the mechanism created by the artist. At the center of the area there is a habitable shape – an actual observatory – which invites the spectator to go in and be at the center of a landscape of large and medium-format pictorial works hung on the walls. Here the image is created by being veiled or unveiled, with the color – some-times applied directly with the fingers – either added or removed. At other times the material may be accumulated until it becomes so thick that it trans-forms the surface into a bas-relief, and thus the painting into sculpture. The “Inversi” series – in which the traditional foreground-background relation-ship is inverted and imaginary views appear from underneath the monochrome coloring – are accompanied by others entitled “Casa dell’arte (RGB)”. These are monochrome paintings made using dies impressed on the canvas, and large canvases, “One on top of and next to each other” (giving the Italian acronym U.s.a.eu.a.a.a.), obtained by transferring a single color (in the form of fingerprints and oil colors) in place of the three tones usually used for photographic reproductions. The paintings, which are created with deep, brilliant, acid colors, with blacks and greys, greens, pink and cadmium yellow, are held together by a single schema: the habitable sculpture-observatory at the center, which is made of layers of cardboard and from which part has been cut out and removed to create the space inside. This interior comes from a design that is linked to the outer space and to the various points of view of the landscape, in order to create a geography of visual relationships, thus building up a series of observatory-telescopes. The spectator needs to be placed at the center of an intimate space in which they can once again choose how and where to look out all around, or beyond their own horizon, in accordance with a more polycentric and fluid phenomenology, both fragmentary and relative. This means that the landscape is structured in the form of horizon and detail, foreshortening and framing, creating a more complex and sophisticated form of experience. It is similar in a way to the one needed for interpreting the pictures, in which the process of construction and the various stages involved are located between the spectator’s eye and the image, between the plane and the surface, the point and the map. Everything therefore rotates around the relationship between the painting/picture and the spectator’s vision/perception: art is not only the way a space asserts itself, but also and especially the tool and the means for producing the time required for vision and interpretation. It extends observation and the overall layout, the analysis of the place and its means of representation, and prolongs contemplation of the plane and perception of its actual substance. This is a time that is measured by the depth of the image and the pictorial surface, by the dramatic intensity and the age of the material. It is what lets one approach the horizon through perspective, and it is the mise en scène of the picture and its spatial qualities, measured out and sensed in fragments, in details and close-ups, shifting from the center of gravity of sculpture to the eccentricity of installation.

© 2006, Sergio Risaliti, in “Observatorium – Gegen den Strom”, ex. catalogue, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, München, Published by Edizioni Periferia, Luzern, 2006