From November 28, Erastudio Art Gallery is presenting the exhibition entitled La misura dell’ombra [The Measure of Shadow] focused on a selection of works from 1968-78 by the artist Mario Surbone, which he called Incisi.
Over the years this determined and thought-provoking artist has adopted various means of expression while continuing to concentrate his research on the relationship between art and nature, with the latter being treated as the real, physical space of life.
Surbone exhibited his work as a painter for the first time in 1958 at the Mostra nazionale d’arte giovanile [National Exhibition of Young People's Art] in Rome, and then held his first solo show at Il Canale Gallery in Venice (1962). His Incisi have been displayed in a number of national and international galleries and institutions. After his initial experience working in the realm of "informal" painting in 1967-1968, he began studying the pictorial-structural features defining an artwork by investigating a flat surface's possibilities of becoming a three-dimensional object, creating forms, spaces and, above all, shadows, thanks to special techniques and the use of monochrome colour. He called his works created over Incisi and they are made out of boxes of different sizes cut into strictly geometric and rhythmic forms, whose structure appears to come from both outward-directed forms and light/shadow. The artist projected flat surfaces into real space through a combination of free and "normalised" gestures. These works perfectly embody, in their own specific realm, the kind of visual research that emerged internationally in the 1960s-70s, interpreting it in an entirely personal and original way.
The exhibition aims to create an initial form of interaction between Mario Surbone's mural works and a number of carefully gauged sculptures by artists from the same period. This creates a kind of silent dialogue between the white Incisi, the works that best showcase the artist's stylistic experimentation, and Carlo Zauli's Shape ceramic sculpture from 1964-65: a mixture of geometry and naturalness in its purest state. There is also 'noisier' dialogue between the welded enamelled iron from 1967 by the artist Franco Garelli, whose most elaborate works are made of a material that plays with the myriad shadows cast across their (in this case most definitely) three-dimensional surfaces; something very similar can be seen in Alfonso Leoni's Untitled majolica work from 1972.
Lastly, it is worth mentioning the instantly though-provoking title of exhibition that also has "visual" connotations: what is the measure of shadow? It is, quite simply, what shadow creates. In other words, the disturbing properties of surfaces that Mario Surbone has "engraved", opened, raised and stretched to animate forms in space and, hence, the thoughts of anybody intrigued enough to observe them.
ERASTUDIO ART GALLERY
Erastudio Art Gallery is an art gallery in Milan set up by Erastudio Design – Gallery to search for and rediscover (on both the Italian and international art scene from the 1960s-80s to the modern day) artists with their own distinctive style based around contaminations between art and architecture. Erastudio Art Gallery carries out research into the most interesting aspects of the radical architecture movement and its internationalization. Over the years the design gallery has focused on "anti-design", and the way this across-the-board vision of design and art intersects with the modern and contemporary underscores Erastudio Art Gallery position on the art scene, which is mainly centred around the city of Milan but also extends internationally with a specific focus on Asia.