Valdi Spagnulo’s solo show (Ceglie Messapica, 1961) in the exhibition space of the Oltrearte Galleria Contemporanea and in the historic rooms of Palazzo Sarcinelli in Conegliano collects part of the artist’s latest sculptural production and provides a snapshot of an artistic research. Spagnulo uses assemblage as a sculptural technique in which intent and idea are entrusted to shaping. The transformative effort, the ability to bend material to one’s vision appears only in the details, in the folds and forcings of the metal parts modeled thanks to the heat and fire which provide a continuous and enduring vital yearning and a visible sign of tension.
Although his aesthetic language stand into an abstract perspective, his creations do not lack echoes of reality that remain subtle in the essence of materials (plexiglass, glass, iron and steel) and in the compositions, particularly in those hung on the walls. Installed individually or in small groups, these compositions are inscribed on the support surface or generate an unexpected movement, playing with lines composed of three-dimensional metal fragments or plexiglass sheets, geometric assemblages and flashes of color. Bandiera, 2013, is made on different levels structured by the interpenetration of shapes that alternate full and empty spaces: the metal arms create a perimeter, an uncertain action space that invades the room and is inhabited by a sheet of treated plexiglass. Sferoidi – La via lattea (2009), an installation made up of numerous sculptural elements, acts similarly on the space, where the compositional research on the single piece is inserted into the symbolic narration of the collective: here, in fact, the artist established a further strategy which create connections between the real space, the artistic form and the hypothesis of meaning conveyed by the title.
The Domus series is perhaps the most convincing example of the continuous progression between objectivity and aniconicity, idea and reality that distinguishes Spagnulo’s work and which from the title continues in the linear structures that recall houses, refuges and shelters in unstable and dynamic equilibrium. In the context of the exhibition these analogies allow a continuous dialogue between the venue and content, stressed by the shadow that duplicates the sculptures to the point of making them acquire a supposed three-dimensionality. These refractions, which, as the curator Luca Pietro Nicoletti reports in the beautiful catalog that accompanies the exhibition are the fulcrum of the artist’s attention in dialogue with the exhibition space, emphasize the complexity of each work by highlighting bindings and knots of the compositions. Projection, linearity and some touches of color or tonal variation place these works in a labile border between drawing and spatiality.
All these features are represented by the work that has environmental dimensions and the greatest visual impact that gives its name to the exhibition, Fermar l’aria, which not only inhabits the space but tends to frame and define it. In this work, which reiterates the anti-monumentality of Spagnulo’s sculpture, architecture is not only recalled but put into action by a construction that insinuates housing possibilities and at the same time denies them. The sculpture ideally connects earth and sky, clinging to the floor and hooking a fragment of air in the form of curved and transparent plexiglass. Therefore, on this occasion too, the ability of these very modern and industrial elements to allude to reality returns, an often restless and imperfect vitality in which the artist’s constructive and chromatic ability are combined.
Valdi Spagnulo. Fermar l’aria
a cura di Luca Pietro Nicoletti
2/09 – 1/10/2023
Oltrearte Galleria Contemporanea
is a contemporary art magazine since 1980