Germano Celant


    OVER THE LAST TEN YEARS Ettore Spalletti has elaborated an art that stimulates the senses without showing preference for any one of them. His paintings, architectural fragments, and sensitively designed installations of monochrome objects all have the feeling of a Japanese garden, one in which the rocks have been polished smooth and colored in soft, tenuous tones, while the gravel is a layer of stone ground to sand, or, rather, to a dust of pure color, and the trees are compact, even-surfaced columns covered with powdered pigments of azure and gray The space where his work appears becomes still;

  • The Red and the Black: A Note on Alighiero Boetti

    FOR ALIGHIERO BOETTI, to be an artist is to travel through opposites, to move in a terrain mapped by the discrepant coordinates of desire and necessity—to lead a double life. The left hand doesn’t need to know what the right hand is doing. In all his work, spanning from 1966 to the present, Boetti has sought to transmit two views of himself. Difference and diversity are manifest not only in his art but in his person: calling himself Alighiero e Boetti (or, in English, Alighiero and Boetti), or creating, for example, a composite photograph in which he appears twice, as if with a twin brother, he


    SINCE 1979 REINHARD MUCHA has been exhibiting “processions” of objects, ordered assemblages of furniture (movable furniture; in the sense of the French mobilier)—chairs, tables, cabinets, vitrines, ladders, stools, wall panels, electric fans, carts. Mucha usually finds these pieces in the locales where he goes to work and to exhibit. At first glance, it is difficult to define what one sees. One can only say that the totality of these standard industrial products, unused arid inanimate, forms an entity of “something else.” Regrouped, the “mobilized” components form a larger object, and participate


    MATT MULLICAN’S ART acts as his consciousness, and he employs it to trace the possible coordinates and potential laws underlying the great scheme of things. His is a comprehensive, idealistic, mystical view of life; using anthropology to imply a whole network of values, representations, and behaviors, he offers an all-encompassing vision of reality, a synthesis whose every aspect is integrated within an articulated and structured visual system. Mullican wants to bring diverse planes of experience together in art, to address nothing less than the meaning of the universe. His work tries to operate


    BERTRAND LAVIER'S WORK IS MARKED by a search for a mixed state in which art becomes both painting and everyday object. While the separate identity and autonomy of each category are maintained and reinforced, they are also amended by the reciprocal dynamic that Lavier establishes between the two modes. All this French artist’s “sculptures” stem from an osmosis between the object as solid and color as fluid. Often, a uniform, loosely brushed thickness of clear or colored paint covers the skin of the object, whether a piano, a mirror, a refrigerator, a window, or a camera, transforming it into a

  • Sculpture and painting in Emilio Vedova’s studio in Venice.

    THE STUDIO OF EMILIO VEDOVA lies in a sizeable Renaissance building in Venice that was used for centuries as a works for boats and barges. Its history, then, is that of a place through which the signs of construction and motion have passed quickly, deeply, and smoothly, in an intense flux of movement and material, emptiness and division, light and structure, that still makes itself felt in Vedova’s large paintings. This Italian artist, who began working in 1935 and whose art became a reference point often returned to in European painting after 1950, foreshadowed much of recent informalism and


    WITH THE WORK OF Rebecca Horn one must pay attention to the references to the conditions of her own life without losing sight of the symbolic role of such visual communication. Her strength lies in her recognition of both the primacy of experience and the interdependence between a relationship with the self and a relationship with the world. She demonstrates that art needs to be understood not only in terms of formal and historical structures, but also in terms of the subject matter itself. Such a subjective dimension, which goes beyond most “abstractions” (usually revealed as mystifying and


    In 1957 Pier Paolo Pasolini published Le ceneri di Gramsci (Ashes of Gramsci), an anthology of poems that reflects the dramatic search of a generation reaching out to assume the role of the intellectual—that entity suspended between the tension of social problems and the aspiration of personal identity. The next year Jannis Kounellis made his first urban icons, followed by his letter works in 1959. His conflict between internal questioning and outer, social projection was full of implications: considering the relentless involution of visceral and gestural discourses—in neodecadent literature as


    LIKE THE PREVIOUS EXHIBITIONSLe macchine celibi” (The bachelor machines, 1975) and “Monte Verità” (Mount Truth, 1978), Harald Szeemann’s latest expository tale, “Der Hang zum Gesamtkunstwerk” (The tendency toward the total art work), offers prodigious riches. In this case Szeemann’s complex variations are on the subject of the “Modernist” esthetic of Total Art, whose beginnings were marked in the mid-19th century by German Romanticism and the works of Richard Wagner. Those endeavors proposed an indissoluble link among the components of “spectacle” (dramatic action, music and sound, color,

  • Editorial

    THE UNIDENTIFIED PHANTASM FLOATING in the orbit of this issue is the future. That’s all the future is anyway—a phantasm. However, the way we project our anticipation of it suggests the boundaries of imagination, and these limits in turn describe the framework of history. An example: mythology views light as power; empirical practice discovers the laser; fictional practice puts it in star wars; then politicians propose to “turn the balance of terror on its head” by means of concentrated light and giant mirrors in the sky, thus fully reifying myth.

    The future phantasm remains the principal catalyst


    WHY IS IT THAT a painting is fundamentally conceived of in terms of the finite object and not as a property of a continuous surface existing in time ad infinitum? The concept of the painted surface is often confused with that of “the canvas.” I propose that painting be thought of as an enormous roll of diversified fabric, woven in a single piece and unrolled in time and in space. This surface extends for miles and miles but never appears on display. Its continuity is interrupted and broken up—cut into—to form innumerable fragments and portions of canvas (paintings), creating intervals and

  • A Note on A.R. Penck

    Today a neo-Mannerist tension is apparent, a sort of anti-Classical revolt against the definition and the monolithism manifest in the reductivism and structuralism which were typical of the last decade. Visual writing is tending toward dissolved, contorted forms, eccentric configurations, and color. We are witnessing the break-down of all equilibriums in favor of a deformation which tolerates disorder, incoherence, ambiguity, and confusion as working methods for systems of analysis.

    Alone, theory is not sufficient to analyze this expanding excursion into disintegration. We need the blinding