Critics’ Picks

View of “Fifteen Works by Marco Gastini, 1969–1978, a Decade,” 2016.

Florence

Marco Gastini

Galleria Il Ponte
via di Mezzo 42/b
September 16 - November 4

This invaluable exhibition, one of rare intensity, covers the first decade of Marco Gastini’s practice. During the 1960s in Turin, Gastini concentrated his work on the associations between the pictorial sign and its spatial presence, employing transparent materials, particularly Plexiglas. His experimentation took place at the same time but in a different direction from Arte Povera, Minimalism, and Conceptual art. Gastini proposes his work not as a compositional space but as an active field of relationships. The installation begins with an untitled piece from 1969 and the extraordinary Tre (Three), 1972. The former, executed in enamel on Plexiglas, materializes the presence of painting through a totality of stains that mark out a fluid form and its shadow. The latter consists of a large piece of scratched Plexiglas, where a concentrated gesture carved into the surface activates subtle spatial resonances.

Elementary transparency and minimal gestures are fundamental to Gastini’s work from this decade, and the manner in which they relate creates a continuous state of tension that involves the viewer. The show continues with acrylics on Plexiglas and canvas modulated by orthogonal sequences of pictorial points that are superimposed or slightly displaced, as in Acrilico n. 9 (Acrylic N. 9), 1973. Gastini seems to be measuring and sensitizing the space itself, restoring its rhythms and trajectories through his signs and layers of gestures. Finally, 4 possibilità (4 Possibilities), 1975, a work in graphite, conté crayon, and mother-of-pearl pigment (which the artist calls “a non-color full of colors”) on fiberglass, unfolds like a grand musical score with a lightness that maintains its physicality, almost a breath of the sign.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.