Italo Antico - sculture



"To infinity"

"A line to the conquest of space", could be the name of the Italo Antico exhibition at the Naviglio Gallery in Milan. And, in fact, the thin continuous segments of its three-dimensional construction, that some time ago stood almost straight up or intertwined and were arranged in alternating spirals, (but were still tied to a "statuary" principle as transformed and reduced), today are developed according to a new order and have achieved what is perhaps their key task of modulation, segmentation, and divergence, in short, the conquest of a given space.
It seems an outdoor area (as in the case of the long pillar that rises shimmying up the entrance of the tunnel), or an interior space, as in the great environment realized today by the sculptor, where the room or building, is traversed in its various dimensions, horizontally, vertically and projecting into the interior, into what we might call an introspective dimension, forcing intimate an unified environment.
If Antico placed particular care in the development and implementation of his personally expressive medium (the stainless steel tube) before then, as he had placed in his more volumetric and expanded buildings in the past, the results achieved remained in any case, at the level of "three-dimensional objects", elegant and perhaps precious (similar to jewelry or certain designs for Sardinian carpets) "decorative" elements.
This earlier season could be defined today as applied art that has ceased to exist, not to diminish it, but precisely because it had ceased in its role as master and consolidator of form.
Since last year, Antico has begun some interesting studies (on display in Turin and Milan) on the possibility of using his thread-like sculptures to almost function as trees: like gigantic creeping plants placed on the walls of a room.

These were, however, still timid attempts; and lacked the finality of the action, which today allows them, not only to lean against the wall or the floor, but also to break away suddenly by sudden swerves through unforeseen divarications, which creates types of steps, hitches, and angles, both in the horizontal path of the three-dimensional body, and in the vertical or the oblique.
A sculpture like this shows us very clearly, on the one hand, the commissioning of a crisis, the nullification of three-dimensional masses, the denial of rhetorical monumentality, and on the other, the use of a worldview in which the sculpture takes on more and more the role of customizer of the environment, of the index placed within a context (in the sense of Peirce): the thin steel tube is per sè non other than a dimensional void, an absence of form, a sculptural negativity. But once it has been introduced into the environment, against a wall, and becomes a part of that which it has been inserted into, it acquires the indexical quality of which Peirce thinks about certain signs. The expressive will of the artist becomes significant, not in itself, but in its osmosis and its constant interaction with the environment within which it has been inserted and which has altered the structure, and at the same time, has revitalized the substance .
In this way, we believe that the work of Antico has today reached its correct stature, which differs from that of many artists for whom the sculpture remains a "monument", "ornament", "trophy" or "trinket"; and instead approaches a different and more essential conception: that of the construction process that has become three-dimensional, spatial director, peremptory indication (just like the index that marks the way, the arrow indicating the direction) for the way forward.
And a sign, therefore, that has the particular nature of the indexical sign: to become such, only after it has been applied to a new and different environment, and which will become irreparably both the director and the guide.

Gillo Dorfles


Galleria del Naviglio - Milan - 1976









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