Italo Antico - sculture



"Of Sea and Steel"

the work of italo Antico

Municipal Center of Art and Culture
Cagliari 16. 12. 2005 - 15. 01. 2006


















catalog: "Of Sea and Steel"
the work of the Italo Antico 1955/2005


Simona Campus



[...] Gillo Dorfles presents the first individual exhibition in 1972 at the Galleria Cadario in Milan who from this moment on and up to today, follows constantly and decodifies the succession of problems and solutions, that sculpures of this kind imply. In 1973, in occasion of another personal exhibition at the Genoese gallery "Arte Verso" the already named Corrado Maltese tells about "silver poles contracted and full of energy, in bundles, in the space, flowing and inflexible at the same time". Meantime, the sculpture Opposizioni intermedie (1973-74) and the exhibition in 1973 at the Galleria Duchamp in Cagliari, presented by Placido Cherchi, reveals how Antico tends to emphasize in an always more explicit way, the vocation of his own creations not to limit themselves to live in the space but to construct it. A space that, explains Enrico Crispolti - introducing the exhibition at the Galleria Blu in Milan in 1975 and referring to the works like Espansioni adiacenti (1975) and Flessione (1975) - is not anymore the ideal one of traditional sculpture; it is not anymore the one exclusively mental of conceptual art.; it is not even more the non eludible space of the informal sculpure. It is "the empiric spatial dimension in all of its availability". The steel tubes become environmental signs, capable to measure the space with precision and together imbue with all the fascination of the relative and the mutability. Therefore of light. Besides the rooms of the galleries - we indicate at least the gallery "Mantra" in Turin, in 1974, the gallery "Il Naviglio" in Milan and the "Galleria G72" in Bergamo in 1976 - the environmental signs are about to reside in places full of history. In 1978 is the intervention in the desacrated church of San Michele in Fidenza, about which Antico has written precious exegetic pages: "Preferring this desacrated and totally abandoned church to the garden or to a place of passage has been for me a singular experience. As I defined the solution of the intervention, I was always enthusiastic about the idea to fit myself into this space, into this monumental measure so rational and measured with my sign of lean steel, an empty dimension not disturbing or provocating it. .... I planned a line of thirty meters at the beginning inert that set down on the floor of the central nave skims through the space above, to project itself into it with vibrations and movements to lean just for a moment again on the floor and proceed into a nearby semicircular room rising and lightly touching the angles and the bent wall, to get obliquely into the space crossing it, up to the exterior". To 1981, preceded by two Ipotesi (1980) can be dated the intervention in the museum of Castelvecchio in Verona. Inside of the architectonic structure of the fourteenth-century, surprisingly restored by Scarpa, the steel sign amplifies the coordinates of the ancient walls of Verona projecting them into a dense dialogue of history and culture. Out bursts the miracle of a perfect coexistence of the past and the present, enriched by the certainity that space can continously reinvent its own narrative capacity. The same certainty supervises also the Segno (1981) that from the gallery "Il Naviglio" is silhouetted on the sky of Milan, a majestic modern obelisk. Be it in the environmental measure - between the interventions of the following years we indicate at least the one of the gallery "Mercato del Sale" in Milan in 1983 and in Gubbio in 1986 - as well as in the object dimension of sculpture Antico has become a figure of mystic exaltation, distillated from any accidental and superflous movement; appearance of an ineffable reality, that comes before the phenomenal one; full dominion of each contingency, in semblance of straight lines, curves and spirals belonging to the kingkom of the purest light. For l’infinito (1980) it is a solitary, touching shiver of sun, scarcely shifted by imperceptible vibrations. Antagonismo relativo (1985), Verticalità con nodo (1985), Principio di continuità (1985) lyric inspiration of spatial concepts, deny irrevocabely the illusion belonging to Lessing and his Laocoon around the differences between the art of space and the art of time. Athikte (1996) is the praise of the emty space. La forma dell’impossibile (1997), oxymoron, reconciles the Platonic splitting of the world and hyperuranium. Surpreme concentration. Memories of a white square painted on a white background. Along the last decades Antico grants to his art an only, white, possible alternative material: paper.
The paper sculpures exhibited in Fabriano in 1985 - Espansione (1977), Successioni (1979), Estasi (1984-85), Porzione barocca (1985) - are "volumes camped in space" refers Rossana Bossaglia in the catalogue of the exhibition, "to occupy it in a tridimensional way, crossings of planes, limpid but of substantial corporality". The most recent Tracce (2003-04) preserve, instead, decorations without weight on inviolated sheets, that live on calm and clearness.
But the steel is always there. And also the sea. In truth, they started to take roots one into the other, just like the soul and the body.
I Flussi, the Reflussi, the Onde.
The stones. The water. The life.

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