Grazia Varisco (Milan, 1937) is a central figure of kinetic and programmed art since its beginnings in the early 1960s when the artist joined the T Group in Milan, taking part in the Miriorama events, the Programmed Art exhibitions and those of the international Nouvelle Tendance movement. In so doing the artist had the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with Italian and international artists and collectives animated by interests in the field of perception. Once the group experience ended, Varisco continued her experimentation and exhibition activity autonomously from the mid-sixties onwards.

Varisco takes part in important national and international exhibitions including: the Venice Biennale, 1964 and 1986; Rome Quadrennial, 1965, 1973, 1999; Trigon of Graz, 1977; Italian art 60/82 at the Hayward Gallery in London, 1982; Electra at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 1983; Toyama Now Triennale at the Museum of Modern Art in Toyama, 1990; Force Fields. Phases of the Kinetic at the Museu d’Art Contemporani in Barcelona and at the Hayward Gallery in London, 2000; Beyond Geometry at the Los Angeles County Museum and the Miami Art Museum, 2004; The environments of T Group at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome, 2005; The collector’s gaze. Works of the VAF Foundation at the Mart in Rovereto, 2005; Op art at the Schirn Kunstalle in Frankfurt, 2007; Kinetic and programmed art at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome, 2012.

In 2007, under the recommendation of the Accademia di San Luca, she received from President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano the National Award for sculpture, and consequently was named “Accademico di San Luca”. In 2018 the artist received the A. Feltrinelli prize for the Visual Arts from the Accademia dei Lincei.

Her works appear in museums and public/private collections in Italy and internationally, among others we cite the Farnesina Collection, Accademia di San Luca Collection and the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome, the MAMbo in Bologna, the Fondazione Museo de Arte Moderno Jesus Soto in Ciudad Bolivar, the Museum of Würzburg, the Ritter Museum in Waldenbuch, the Gallery of Modern Art in Gallarate, the MAC in Lissone, the Museum of Villa Croce in Genoa, the Permanent Museum, the Prada Foundation, the Gallerie d’Italia Collection and the Museo del ‘900 in Milan, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Center Georges Pompidou in Paris.


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Gallery Exhibition

M77 Gallery presents Hosting Space, a solo exhibit by Grazia Varisco (1937), curated by Danilo Eccher. The exhibition will be open to the public from 19th November until 29th February.
The solo exhibit is presented as an aesthetic permeation which seeks to establish a dialogue between the works of art and the architecture and spaces of this gallery on via Mecenate. The result is an intense visual and three-dimensional study of space and its layout, which draws on a selection of sculptures and installations by the Milanese artist. Since Grazia Varisco began her work in the early 1960s, she has been a key figure in Italian kinetic and programmed art. The earliest pieces chosen for this exhibition derive from the 1970s, when the Mi-
lan-born artist experienced her high point in production, but the exhibit also includes recent works, revealing the intensely personal, radical, yet systematic research the artist has conducted on the grammar of space.

“From my experience, ‘chance’ is something that worms its way between probability and doubt, like a disorderly tangle. ‘Chance’ avoids and tries to dodge chaos to set itself up in space and time, ignoring the demand for precision, regularity, orthogonality, order, chronological sequence. My hesitant ‘If…’ nestles into the fold of the page, and this, by ‘chance’, rips up the rulebook that traps everything in normality through the letterpress and bookbinding process”; with these words Varisco interprets and presents the content of her research.

The pieces are thus lexicalised across the two gallery floors. These floors are not presented as worlds that are secluded and distinct from each other, but rather as communicative and permeating. Varisco’s pieces are hosted spaces that at the same time play host themselves. And it is in this way that we are greeted by the spatial magnificence of pieces such as the Oh! (1996) installation (made up of two circular iron components which mark the gallery space, playing on real and illusory three-dimensionality), Extrapagina (“Extra page”) (1983) and the extraordinary, six-metre long Grande Dépliant (“Large Leaflet”) (1983-84).

The upper floor, meanwhile, hosts Quadri comunicanti 7+1 (“Communicating pictures 7+1”) (2008), Quadri comunicanti filo rosso (“Red thread communicating pictures”) (2008), Quadri comunicanti Jar (“Jar communicating pictures”) (2012) and Comunicanti in Acciaio (“Communicating in steel”) (2008). These pieces reflect on the full/empty dichotomy, bringing into question the existence of a preestablished order, and are lined up to create a horizon that, although subtle, distinguishes the overall space and the viewer’s gaze. From the middle of the room arises Gnom-one, two, three (1984), a large sculpture made up of three square, two-dimensional, metal pieces – bent in such a way as to delineate and host the space without occupying it.

The exhibition concludes with two pieces: the ambiguous Meridiana (“Sundial”) (1974), which the Gnom-one, two, three sculpture originates from. In this piece, part of a raised perimeter creates a shadow that projects onto the flat surface, contrasting with the shadows drawn by the artist. The other concluding piece takes the form of the four Spazi Potenziali (“Potential Spaces”) (1973-76). Here, two metal frames, taken from the perimeter of the works themselves and hung up on a grille of spikes, create an imbalance and indicate, with extreme concision, a feeling of set-up causality.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue, containing Danilo Eccher’s conversation with the artist.