Maurizio Nannucci

MAMbo | Villa Delle Rose

Maurizio Nannucci began making art in the early ’60s, and since then he has unfailingly analyzed language in its communicative capacities. All Conceptual art—the category in which Nannucci’s work can be included—begins with the desire to contextualize the “gesture” of Marcel Du-champ. This requires that the viewer verify the mechanisms of legitimization of the art system. Nannucci has done this by experimenting with the most diverse media that the system supports: artist’s books, records, performance, and mail art. This retrospective brought together all those experiences as a single and new work in the form of showcases that contained a large number of objects, which describe the artist’s entire history as a manipulator of artistic language.

Nannucci subjects words to an analytical cataloguing. M40, 1967, is the model number of an Olivetti typewriter used to fill up the 90 sheets of paper that constitute the work. Each sheet contains a letter that is repeated until it fills the entire surface. This rational stance is accompanied by a fondness for paradox—the photographic sequence of the hand that attempts to write on water—or the inclination to produce tautological propositions. Moreover, paradox and tautology are the rhetorical figures that most effectively make the limits of language emblematic. Beginning with this awareness, Nannucci adopts neon writing to “name” language and in particular color, a principal element of artistic expression.

Neon diffuses color in space and dematerializes it; in Nannucci’s case, it bears witness as an instance that also attests to its intuitive origins—unleashed by free association more than by logical examination—that have generated the operation. For example, his most recent works summarize the proposition in a single word. They are made up of large neon letters in a square format, superimposed in such a way it is difficult to read the word and to decipher its meaning. While Nannucci places great emphasis on the emotional value of the light, his main focus remains the analysis of the abstract structure of communication.

Giorgio Verzotti

Translated from the Italian by Marguerite Shore.