January – February 2017

Studio Gariboldi is pleased to present a retrospective exhibition, dedicated to Mario Deluigi (1901-1978), one of the Masters of the Italian Spatialism. The showcase focuses on the selected works, created between the beginning of the 1950s and the end of the 1960s. These paintings are the result of a rigorous research of the main theme of his work: the concept of space in relation to color and light.

In 1951 Mario Deluigi signs the Manifesto dell’arte spaziale (Manifesto of the Spatial Art) and in 1952 the Manifesto del movimento spaziale per la televisione (Manifesto of the Spatial movement for the television). The peculiarity of his art-making process is highlighted by the new art technique: the grattage. This technique is already well defined in the series of paintings, titled Motivi sui vuoti, which he exhibited in 1954 at the Venice Biennale. The artist intrudes into the pictorial surface of the canvas by marking and carving it with means like sharp blades, cutters, scalpels and the backsides of the paintbrushes and spatulas. By scratching away previously applied paint layers, Deluigi is able to reveal the bright soul of color. The gesture generates a sign, which in turn, builds the spatial light and plastic forms.

The markings of his grattages are controlled in their freedom and each of them, even the smallest one, conveys a precise idea and image. As you look at them, it is possible to discover the intuition of the rhythm, which exists, thanks to the deliberated randomness. All the traces, left on the painted surface, etch the light, creating spatial vibrations and opening the boundaries of the painting itself.

The purity of the vibration of the segno-luce (light-sign) seems to multiply to infinity, creating a luminosity, which is color and its absence at the same time. Therefore, the spatial construction happens, thanks to the removal of the paint matter. By the action of erasing, Deluigi is able to add a “solid” body to the canvas and to create a new visible space inside of it.