This summer Tornabuoni Art London presents the work of Italian kinetic artist Alberto Biasi (b. 1937).
Focused primarily on his iconic Rilievi Ottico-Dinamici (optical dynamic reliefs), the exhibition also features works from Biasi’s early period working with the Gruppo N and extends all the way to his more recent production.
Born in Padua in 1937, Alberto Biasi is one of the foremost of kinetic artists in Italy, as well as a co-founder of the Gruppo N, which included Ennio Chiggo, Toni Costa, Edoardo Landi and Alfredo Massironi. The optical-dynamic experiments that the group realised between its creation in 1959 and dissolution in 1967 led to Biasi being exhibited alongside Enrico Castellani and the Nove Tendencije movement in Zagreb.
Biasi’s inclusion in the groundbreaking exhibition in Zagreb established him as one of the leaders of the Arte Programmata (‘Programmed Art’) movement that advocated the creation of mathematical rules to predetermine the creation of the artworks, while offering possibilities of variations in the artwork’s colour, size and shape. His method of Arte Programmata and its variations can be seen in the serialised installation at Tornabuoni Art.
Opening the exhibition are historic works, including one example of Biasi’s first series entitled Trame (wefts), which was composed of cotton gauze, metal wire and perforated cardboard overlaid to create wefts through which light filters in a constellation-like effect that changes in relation to the viewer. Taking this relationship between the artwork and the spectator even further, Biasi started making his Oggetti Ottico-Dinamici (optical dynamic objects) in the early 1960s – thin strips of PVC radiating from a central point and twisting equidistantly towards a geometric wooden frame. As the suspended object oscillates and the spectator moves around it, the immobile strips become animated with morphing geometric shapes. Thus the artist elaborated the concept he called ‘virtual kineticism’, where the movement is an optical illusion created in the viewer’s mind and which Biasi explored further with the Rilievi Ottico-Dinamici, that constitute the core of the current exhibition: in these works the PVC strips are attached over a painted and later even patterned and printed surface to create ever-more intriguing shapes.
As well as 12 exhibitions with the Gruppo N, including The Responsive Eye at the MoMA in New York and numerous solo shows, Biasi’s work has been presented at the Venice Biennale, the Sao Paulo Art Biennial, the Rome Quadriennale and most recently in the AZIMUT/H Continuità e nuovo exhibition at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in 2014.