Maurizio Mochetti

Galleria La Nuova Pesa

In a departure from his usual practice, Maurizio Mochetti omitted lasers from his most recent exhibition, foregoing the spectacular fascination of the technological in favor of displaying four rarefied pieces in the gallery’s ample spaces. The installation was a product of subtraction rather than accumulation. The most convincing example of Mochetti’s effective utilization of available space was the room in which a hunting arrow swung in midair at eye level, attached to the ceiling by a wire so thin it was all but invisible. The effect was both magical and alienating, and the arrow—fixed in a suspended position—brought to mind Xeno’s paradox: the impossibility of rationally uniting space and time. The tip of the arrow changed direction slightly in response to subtle shifts in the air around it (people’s movements, even the breath they exhaled when speaking). It is difficult to describe the extremely subtle sensation of violence and aggression this installation produced; it reached the point that spectators wouldn’t enter or move about alone in the completely empty room, as if they imagined themselves to be the target of the arrow.

Another piece also derived much of its interest from its interaction with the spectator. A small model of the German Bachem Natter rocket, designed in 1944, was installed at eye level. On the nose of the small aircraft, in place of the 24 rockets, Mochetti inserted a mirror, so that the pupil of the viewer became the lens of the object he or she was observing. On a square of black, milky glass placed on the floor, a red ball containing an oscillating mechanism—a sort of clock balance wheel—made small, incessant movements produced by a tensile force invisible to the spectator. The gallery’s largest space contained another airplane model, the American Gee Bee Racer designed in 1932, which looked like a toy left on the floor of a playroom. Attached by a cable to a fixed point, the airplane futilely at tempted to take off, responding to the readings of an internal computer that caused the motor to turn on. This piece, like the others, was dependent on minimal, almost imperceptible movements in space and time, so much so that if the viewer were not physically present at the moment the airplane turned on (not more than a few seconds) and attempted to free itself from the force of gravity, what was seen was merely a ready-made object, immobile on the floor.

In Mochetti’s work the visualization of the invisible vectors of energy that surround us parallels the desire to present and identify an image. To understand this one only has to see—and admire—the extremely delicate play of shadows that the Natter projected on the wall on which it was installed. Mochetti plays on the physical and mental tension with which the object is liberated from itself and becomes an image.

Massimo Carboni

Translated from the Italian by Marguerite Shore.