Born in Milan in October 1937, Grazia Varisco is a key figure in kinetic and programmed art. From 1956 to 1960, she attended the Brera Academy of Fine Arts, and beginning in 1960 she joined Gruppo T, participating in the Miriorama events and, among others, those of the international Nouvelle Tendance movement. These events represented valuable opportunities for the artist to encounter and exchange with artists from both Italian and foreign groups active in the field of perception and experimentation. When the group experience ended, Varisco continued her research, experimentation and activity on her own.
Since the beginning of her career, Grazia Varisco has always shown a deep interest in balance and visual harmony. Her works are characterized by geometric lines, simple forms and a rigorous precision of execution. One of the distinctive aspects of Grazia Varisco’s work is interactivity. Her creations engage viewers, inviting them to actively participate in the artistic experience. For example, many of her works include moving parts or elements that change based on the viewer’s point of observation and movement. This active involvement creates a dialogue between the artwork, its surroundings and the viewer, stimulating a deeper and more personal connection. Another central theme in Varisco’s art is a reflection on spatial and temporal perception. Her works explore the illusion of movement and the relationship between time and space. Through the use of light effects and moving forms, Varisco creates works that challenge traditional perception and invite the viewer to explore new visual horizons.
National and international exhibitions in which she has participated include the Venice Biennale (1964 and 1986); the Rome Quadriennale (1965, 1973 and 1999); Trigon in Graz (1977); Arte italiana 60/82 at the Hayward Gallery, London (1982); Electra at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1983); Triennale Toyama Now at the Museum of Modern Art, Toyama (1990); Force Fields. Phases of the Kinetic at the Museu d’Art Contemporani, Barcelona and Hayward Gallery, London (2000); Beyond Geometry at the Los Angeles County Museum and Miami Art Museum (2004); Gli ambienti del Gruppo T at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Rome (2005); Lo sguardo del collezionista. Opere della Fondazione VAF at the Mart in Rovereto, 2005; Op Art at the Schirn Kunstalle in Frankfurt, 2007; Arte cinetica e programmata at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome (2012).
In 2007, nominated by the Accademia di San Luca, she received the National President of the Republic Award for Sculpture from then-President Giorgio Napolitano, and as a result she was titled “Academician of St Luke.” In terms of acknowledgement, in 2018 Varisco also received the A. Feltrinelli Prize for Visual Arts from the Accademia dei Lincei.
Her works may be found in museums and both public and private collections in Italy and abroad, including the Collezione Farnesina, Collezione Accademia di San Luca and Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome, MAMbo in Bologna, Fondazione Museo de Arte Moderno Jesus Soto in Ciudad Bolivar, Museum of Würzburg, Museum Ritter in Waldenbuch, Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Gallarate, MAC in Lissone, Museo di Villa Croce in Genoa, Museo della Permanente, Fondazione Prada, Gallerie d’Italia and the Museo del ’900 in Milan, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.
M77 had the honor of presenting Ospitare lo Spazio in 2020: a solo exhibition featuring Grazia Varisco hosted by Danilo Eccher. The exhibition proposed a visual and three-dimensional investigation of the theme of space and its geometries through a selection of sculptures and installations. The works selected for the exhibition largely chronicled the artist’s career through a selection that included works from the 1960s along with more recent works by the artist, highlighting the work of experimentation and research on the grammar of space carried out by Grazia Varisco throughout her career.