It is a sort of emotional moment when an Italian artist takes up the reins of neon experimentation in art after compatriots of his like Lucio Fontana and Maurizio Nannucci have literally written neon history.
Lucio Fontana was the first to introduce neon into art in 1951 with his 'Neon Structure'. Exhibited in one of the front rooms of the Museo del 900, with the Duomo Cathedral in the background it is arguably one of Milan's most evocative views. A groundbreaking exhibition about his neon works is also currently open at Milan's Hangar Bicocca.
Lucio Fontana, Fonti di Energia, Soffitto Al Neon, 1961
But today, the Italian firing up the art world with his neon works is Patrick Tuttofuoco (the pun stems from his surname, which translates into 'all on fire'). Living and working in Berlin, Mr. 'All on Fire' is originally from Milan and has just inaugurated the breathtaking 'Tutto Infinito' exhibition in Turin.
The occasion is the reopening of the OGR Torino exhibition space, a 20th century industrial complex that today houses music events, performace arts and visual art shows. Overall OGR embodies the vibrant current that has been running through Turin over the past years, that has brought the city to be considered the music and alternative scene capital of Italy.
The installation was conceived as a completely immersive experience, bringing the viewer into a new context, where known boundaries are blended and space and time are redefined.
The exhibition's centrepiece is a replica of the of Michelangelo's last and unfinished oeuvre, the Pietà Rondanini. The original is exhibited in Milan's Castello Sforzesco and consitutes a true curiosité as it allows a unique insight into the mind and character of the iconic Renaissance genius: it is thought that at 90 years-old, Michelangelo started angrily hitting and destroying a sculpture he had made 10 years prior, and began carving out a new one from the remainders. He never completed it and the sculpture remains intact in this fragmentary status, with dimples from violent chiselling and severed limbs.
Tuttofuoco therefore opens a dialogue between Italian cultural memory and the viewer, through an exploration of art through intuition and strong emotions - which are hightened by the play of light, colour, the hazy atmospheres found throughout the installation and the cavernous formations - whose delightful Platonic philosophical implications we will not get into at this point.
The way neon is incorporated in all of this gives the whole installation the finishing, mindblowing touch, which links the individual viewer's deepest subliminal level to a divine one: the lightning bolts'shake you down to your core while those gigantic hands reach down from the sky deep into your unconscious.
*** praying he will take some of these back to Berlin ***
Patrick Tuttofuoco | Tutto Infinito | OGR Torino
Lucio Fontana | Ambienti / Environments | Hangar Bicocca Milano