Marco Bagnoli

Marco Bagnoli’s three-part installation was held together by an optical axis, which united the three connecting rooms. The central space contained a sculpture made of many circular glass plates rotating around an axis. As they moved, the different circumferences caused a transparent blue/green female figure to emerge. This sculpture rested on a wooden hemisphere built of concentric disks.

The access to the room on the left was blocked by a door slightly ajar, creating a narrow triangular space. Inside, amidst half-light and half-shadow, the space was inhabited by wood sculptures based on the geometric figure of the triangle, which symbolizes the relationship among the self, the other, and the world. In the corner opposite the entrance, a cane grille represented a maritime map. At the center, on the floor, the star of the cardinal points of the compass rose out of a rhomboidal chessboard, while, on the ceiling, a beacon projected the image of the same maritime map. Here, Bagnoli points out that we must rely on systems of orientation to give boundaries and direction to our displacements and to our relationships.

To the right, in another room, Bagnoli addressed the question of nonobjectivity. His reference to Kasimir Malevich here seemed explicit, and it served above all to contradict the other spaces. The beacon illuminated the wall facing the window, and it framed a figure constructed out of triangular, colored metal sheets, arranged according to compositional planes that brought to mind a Suprematist vocabulary. In ideal fashion, this figure was connected to a pyramidal stairway and to white and red squares on the floor.

Bagnoli’s path did not stop here; he created a counterpoint in another, more secluded room, in the back of the gallery, which, precisely because it was hidden, took on the air of the umbilicus of the space. Another center emerged; another orientation was determined. A large white canvas cut the room diagonally. The plastered coat of paint suggesting a wall, accentuated by the pencil drawing of the figures, was reminiscent of studies for a fresco. Here, one could find two topoi of Bagnoli’s work: on the right, the rectangular profile of that same red stripe that appears in many of his works; on the left and in the center, the drawing of a male and a female profile, distorted according to an ovoid spiral projection. The distortion created a continuous sign, so that the male forehead was joined to the female neck. In front of the painting rested a wheel, built out of wood strips and whitewashed. Within it, he placed a lead sculpture, every face showing a different rotation. This continual signaling of the corners of the gallery space indicated Bagnoli’s desire to bring the internal orientations of the sculptures into contact with the built spaces. In fact, Bagnoli’s goal in every installation, in every work, is to make visible the polarities between the axes of the external world and the internal axes of his works.

In this show, the orientation between the space of the works and that of the gallery brought out a new variant for his investigations. The perception of the axes of our everyday experience comes to coexist with those of scientific-philosophical speculation. The viewer did not have to cross through the work to recognize the disorientation between subjective and universal space; here, one became involved in two orbits that revolve simultaneously, while maintaining their own specificity and difference. This created a greater fluidity in the juxtaposition of symbolic content and visual form; at the same time it evinced the idea of vastness. It is not an incommensurable, sidereal vastness, but one circumscribed by man; it is the measure of habitation, of architecture, of the spaces in which the multiplicity of everyday life is expressed.

Francesca Pasini

Translated from the Italian by Marguerite Shore.