Speech for the Opening of the Exhibition
"The Lightness of Steel"
Nov. 9, 2003
Zur deutschen Fassung
Dear Friends of the Foundation, Ladies and Gentlemen!
When opening an exhibition in this hall I usually introduce you to
the artist and his work.
Today will be different, because this exhibition is a choice of my own
sculptures. I am taking the opportunity to look back on twelve years of
work in sculpture which has been marked by a joy in artistic
creation. This joy emerges from a freedom to play with the material, a
process which is equally serious and goal oriented.
Works of art have been a joy to me throughout my life, especially
architecture and sculpture, but I did not intend to create such art
myself. Then I found myself experimenting with geometric forms in
paper, just "per il mio diletto". It was twelve years ago
when I first choose sheets of steel as the material for my modules
with which to create my sculptures. It was a fortunate choice, opening
many ways toward my creative intention. It meant using the technic of
laser-cutting and modern methods of welding, executed by able and
The first time I learned of "Concrete Art" was when a
friend of mine, a painter, saw my first sculptures in our garden and
exclaimed: "Look, that's "Concrete Art"!"
When he asked me if I knew the famous Max Bill, I replied naively though
self-confidently as well, "Who is Max Bill? I am ignorant (Ich
Today, I could add "Ich bin unverbildet - I am not
indoctrinated." and thereby emphasize my critical distance toward
dogmatic principals and rigid formalism, characteristics showing in some
works of "Concrete Art" causing them to bore me. Therefore
I also deny the ideological ballast in the beginnings of this
I agree with the ideas of Concrete Art, because it frees us from the
obligation to imitate the already existing natural world. This opens the
way to our own creativity. I also accept Concrete Art because of
its use of principal geometric, that is, pure mental elements as
the base of its constructed works.
On the other hand, the mathematical and constructive perfection did not
seem sufficient to me to acknowledge a sculpture as a work of art. I
consider aesthetic qualities to be crucial, such as being lively,
musical or poetic. These can be judged but not measured. Therefore I
take refuge with Goethe: "Wenn Ihr's nicht spürt, Ihr werdet's
nicht erjagen!" (If you don't feel it, you will not get it!)
The experience of these twelve years has been a learning one and one of
development. This is not meant to refer to the quality of my works
(for in each period there have been better and less successful
attempts), but it refers to the artistic aim. One of these aims is to
overcome the heaviness of the material. For this reason I have called
the selection of sculptures in this exhibition "The Lightness of
Lightness, of course, does not mean the measurable weight but rather
the character of configuration and verve of the sculptures shown
here. In the main they are open sculptures, standing in space and
using space. They have volume but not body with its own weight. In
effect, they seem to be made of light. The impression of lightness
increases when the sculpture rises from a small basepoint, sometimes in
a dance-like movement.
Perhaps this selection of sculptures shows best what I mentioned in the
beginning: my joy in playing. It is a playing with rational background
but with great creational freedom, and it has grown into a passion
which has not yet come to its end. If this is not only a verbal
statement but becomes visible and can be felt, I have achieved what
exceeds the artist and his work: the echo.
Enough of words now. Let's go to the works!