(1939 Udine, Italy – 2018 Milano, Italy)
Getulio Alviani was born in Udine (Italy) in 1939. His eclectic career as an artist involves many different practices: from programmed and optical art to graphic design and architecture, from research to active cultural promotion, from industrial design to curating.
Until 1959, Alviani dedicated himself to the study of problems relating to structured plasticity and visual communication in general, concerning the analysis of the complex world of “construction” and “realization”, and collaborated with sculptors, architects and engineers.
He produced polyvalent monochrome structures in relation to the environment, and studied the possibilities of transforming it in constructive and visual terms. He designed plastic objects in series, dynamic-optical structures, which induced spectacular luminous vibration effects.
Starting in 1960, his ‘Vibrating Texture Surfaces’ represent the most extensive and best known of his projects: steel and aluminium sheets, made freehand, then conceived following a precise geometrical order. The metal surfaces change continuously according to the positions of the visual angles and the luminous incidence, always generating different images.
As Argan wrote: “These works -in which the artist’s operation induces particular effects of luminous reflection and refraction -are both works of art in the usual sense of the term and promoters of visual experience”.
In the early Sixties, the first contacts between Alviani and the key players of Constructivism took place. He also addressed a graphic research, which began at the end of 1959, but mostly developped from 1962 onwards. From 1962 to 1963 he realised some black and white drawings, for serigraphs, later used as a starting point for printed fabric that he designed with a visual-kinetic criterion for Germana Marucelli, anticipating optical art.
As a member of the international movement “Nouvelle Tendance Recherches continuelles,” in 1964 Alviani started studying chromostructures and standard elements for wall sets. In the same year, he was invited to participate in the XXXII Biennale in Venice, where he presented four ‘vibratile weave surfaces’ in a room shared with Enrico Castellani and Enzo Mari.
In 1965, he designed his first ‘environment’, Specular Interrelationship, and he took part in exhibition The Responsive Eye at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, a revolutionary exhibition that diffused the optical art fame at a global level.
In the second half of the 1960s, he produced luminous objects with mechanical movement, studying the diaphragm between eye and referent object, and invented environments making use of the mobility of water and fire. He also produced a manifesto on the ‘Pneumatic Space (objects and spaces of volume varying according to function). In 1968, he was invited to Documenta 4, in Kassel.
In the 1970s, Alviani focused again on colour, especially on gradual chromatic phenomenology, and on three-dimensional surfaces and structures generated by mathematical formulas. He also studied the psychic behavior of man in the environment and emphasized the didactic function of structural art.
The mathematical foundation of his research, carried out with scientific methodology, became increasingly evident: each project was accompanied by a phenomenal and constructional technical text.
Interested in teaching, from 1976 to 1981 he was the head of the painting section of the Academy of Fine Arts of Carrara. This practice led to his interest for an ideal museum, not just as a collection of objects and historical documentation, but as a structure designed to educate and activate the visitor’s visual perception. From 1981 to 1985, he directed the Museum of Modern Art Fondacio Soto at Ciudad Bolivar, focusing on the movements of constructivist art. His work of reconstruction allowed this institution to become the first and unique museum in the world entirely dedicated to a structured visuality.
In the year 2000 began his collaboration with Muzeum Milana Dobesa, in Bratislava, where he curated the exhibitions for about a decade.
In the last years, he has been almost exclusively interested in architectural projects, while carrying on a cultural activity by writing texts for various exhibitions. Getulio Alviani dies on 24 February 2018.