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Mario Nigro, Spazio totale n. 5
Material and technique
tempera on canvas
100 x 62 cm
Fabrizio D'Amico
Geometric shapes descend, one upon the next, in the field of the canvas. Inside, they are densely crisscrossed by lines intersecting at right angles; and in the minute spaces that these crossings highlight, they are punctuated by additional small signs, all rigorously the same. The entire surface is saturated by this elementary design, which is akin to a fabric: only the light that plays over the shapes, striking them with flashes, confers upon the single parallelepipeds a plastic consistency, a corporeal weight: so that in the end the image is that of a shattered organism collapsing upon itself.
This is one of the “total spaces” that Nigro conceived starting in 1953 and which, he theorized the following year, was the only possible “object” of painting: a painting which, radically independent of the surrounding reality, depicts only itself and its elements (colour, light, design). Though he participated in some exhibitions of what was dubbed “analytical painting” (the Geplante Malerei, for instance, in Münster in 1974), Nigro’s art is painting founded rather upon the ambiguity of seeing than on the tautological enumeration of its own acts; more on the risk of error that its perception can induce than on the self-assured certainty of self-enunciation.
Spazio totale n. 5
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