Fri 17 Feb 2023 to Sat 20 May 2023
22 Grafton Street, W1S 4EX Alberto Biasi | Dinamica Ecologica
Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 11am-6pm
Artist: Alberto Biasi
“I try to unmask the invisible dynamics and the intangible: by turning the invisible ingrained movement of nature and inanimate objects into visible, tangible objects.”
Cardi presents Alberto Biasi | Dinamica Ecologica, its first exhibition dedicated to the acclaimed Italian pioneer of Op Art Alberto Biasi (b. Padua, 1937). A founder of the influential collective Gruppo N in the 1960s, Biasi was among the first post-war artists to gain international recognition for his experimental use of unconventional materials to create kinetic and optical effects.
Inspired by the latest scientific approaches, particularly in the field of physics, technology and industrial design, Biasi and his contemporaries developed a radical non-objective language that laid the basis for neo-avant-garde movements such as Arte Programmata in Italy, the Zero Group in Germany and GRAV (Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel) in France. They collectively presented a utopian vision of the future through a consilient practice where art, science, and technology could meet to create a new art form. The global reach of Op Art culminated in 1965 with the seminal exhibition ‘The Responsive Eye’ at MoMA in New York, where Biasi showed alongside figures like Bridget Riley, Heinz Mack, and Victor Vasarely.
Throughout his long and distinguished career, Biasi’s artistic practice has consistently relied on simple visual elements – dynamic, serialised forms and light to create striking optical colour effects. By combining these elements within the frame, the artist pioneered a kinetic pictorial space where patterns and colours shift as the viewer moves, thus shattering traditional notions of perspective.
Spread over two floors of the gallery, Alberto Biasi | Dinamica Ecologica highlights Torsioni - one of Biasi’s most iconic series - in dialogue with Uniche Tele. Created over the last two decades, both are a testament to Biasi’s lifelong study of retinal perception and his unique brand of “virtual kineticism”, where the viewer “activates” the artwork by participating in a dynamic visual and physical exchange. In the Torsioni, myriad multicoloured strips of PVC radiate and contort from a central point fixed on a wooden support, revealing magical patterns of contrasting hues that appear to resonate within the confines of the frame. The Uniche Tele series feature a technique of intaglio on methodically painted layers of canvas, further elaborating Lucio Fontana’s original radical gesture of ‘slashing’ the picture plane in the 1950s.
The variety of the works on show reflects Biasi’s restless innovative spirit. Torsioni such as Dinamica, 2011 and Campo di Grano, 2004 (literally ‘wheat field’), present a spectrum of bright reds and yellows that allude to nature, the optical effects of sunlight on the shifting blades of wheat. In the remarkable Nero in Quadro, 2005, a golden light emerges from a surrounding dark void, in a sublime cosmic manifestation. The more analytical Tela Unica, Dal giallo al blu, 2009 carefully constructs a geometric tapestry of coloured shapes that appear to dissolve into tapered edges. Although fundamentally non-objective, Biasi’s visual imagination nonetheless draws us into a universe of free associations of stars, celestial matter and earthly elements that are simultaneously metaphysical and tangible, natural and artificial.
Free from any narrative symbolism, Biasi’s works revel in their optically vibrant colour relationships that create dynamic surfaces which break out of the boundaries of two-dimensional painting. Alternately playful and meditative, Biasi’s intuitive approach is ultimately interactive, designed to incite an emotional and psychological response in the viewer and reveal hidden connections between the body and its environment. Far from traditional static paintings to be passively observed, Biasi’s ground-breaking works function as living encounters that must be physically experienced in motion and across time.
A leading figure in post-war Italian art since the early 1960s, Alberto Biasi is today hailed as one of the key protagonists in developing international Kinetic and Op Art. Born in Padua, where the artist currently works and lives, Biasi enrolled at the Institute of Architecture in Venice, studying industrial design. During this time, he formed Gruppo N, alongside fellow artists Alfredo Massironi, Ennio Chiggio, Toni Costa and Edoardo Landi, as a means of exploring the possibilities of kineticism and perceptual responses in painting and sculpture. In 1959, while still a student, he created his first works, the Trame, frame-like objects with alternating grid patterns made of cotton gauze, metal wires and perforated cardboard that experimented with transparency and effects of natural light.
The following year, Piero Manzoni invited him to exhibit with Enrico Castellani, Agostino Bonalumi and other European artists at the avant-garde artist-run space Galleria Azimut in Milan. In 1962 Biasi joined the ‘Nuove tendenze’ movement and later exhibited widely with Gruppo N, including at the 1964 Venice Biennale and the 1965 group survey ‘The Responsive Eye’ at MoMA in New York. After the dissolution of Gruppo N in the mid-1960s, Biasi continued to pursue and reinvent his particular brand of optical research, first with the Rilievi Ottico-Dinamici and the Torsioni – series of works defined by geometric precision, illusory perspectives and perceived motion – and later with the Politipi and Assemblages, where chromatic combinations and classical shapes also interact with three-dimensional components. Over six decades, Biasi has participated in many international exhibitions, including the XXXII and XLII Biennale in Venice, the X, XI and XIV Quadriennale of Rome, and the XI Biennale of São Paulo. In addition, he has held numerous solo shows in private and public institutions such as the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódz, Poland, the Museo Civico agli Eremitani in Padua, the Museu Diocesà in Barcelona, Palazzo Ducale in Urbino, Palazzo dei Priori in Perugia, the MACBA in Buenos Aires, the MAC in Santiago, Chile, the MARCA in Catanzaro, Palazzo Reale in Genova and Palazzo Pretorio in Cittadella (Padua). Furthermore, his works are included in prestigious public collections and museums internationally, among them the MoMA in New York, the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome and the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg.