WEEKLY ART COLUMN

GRAZIA VARISCO

Quadri comunicanti, 2008

5 elements, iron frames, aluminum

64 x 49 x 3 cm each

Born in Milan in 1937, Grazia Varisco has been a key representative of programmed and kinetic art throughout her artistic career. Together with Giovanni Anceschi, Gianni Colombo, Davide Boriani and Gabriele De Vecchi, she was a member of the Italian Gruppo T (T Group, where "T" refers to the concept of time as a new content of art).

Founded in 1959 in Milan, Gruppo T was one of the most important collectives of kinetic art in Europe, introducing innovative forms of art through the creation of perceptual experiments and interactive environments designed to encourage and generate different and unexpected reactions in the viewer.

Varisco was one of the earliest artists who explored concepts such as motion and changes in time, while seeking a direct interaction with her audience. Through the use of simple geometric signs, her artworks inhabit the space around them, creating different spatial dimensions that challenge the viewer’s perception and disorientate the senses. 

 

For Grazia Varisco, the function of art responds to its own process of cognitive activation, and has a meaning independent of all restrictions except those established to elicit the synesthetic complicity of the viewer, an exchange of impulses that imply new probings of space and expectations of the unknown.
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.

 

Currently on schedule, Palazzo Reale Milano this July will host an anthological exhibition, Grazia Varisco. IL CASO. Tra le pieghe della mente dedicated to the artist. The show will retrace 60 years of research and project on aspects of multi-sensorial perception translated into active aesthetic experiences.

The series of Quadri comunicanti develops on the idea of “rectilinear alignment” within the metal frames, a suspended evocation of the symbolic space of painting, without ever becoming the thing itself.

The varying inclination of shapes that are always the same and always the different is calculated according to their respective perceptual weight, a systematic perception of unstable equilibriums.

The communicating frames are conceived in the key of “qualunque” (whichever), the term Varisco uses to indicate the active foundations of chance, the provisional nature of balance, a situation of fluid uncertainty not guaranteed by the rectilinear arrangement of the tilted structures.

 

These works, with their basic lack of balance, have nothing illusory or deceptive about them, but rather in-vite reflection on the intuitive mechanisms of perception, beyond any usual gestalt law. Moreover, it is impossible to completely fathom Varisco’s art without sensing that the spatial inventions are experienced as exceptions to the rule, leaps into the void, models of chance, emotional enchantments.

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