/ Responsive Vision

Getulio Alviani



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“ I dream that the spaces could be pneumatic, transformable, transportable from one place to another. ”— Getulio Alviani

Responsive Vision: Getulio Alviani is the very first solo exhibition of the Italian contemporary master artist in Eastern Asia and Taiwan, followed by touring to Milano, Torino, Florence, and Bergamo.

Getulio Alviani (1939-2018) was born in Udine in northeastern Italy. A polymath in art who emerged after World War II, Alviani was known for his remarkable achievements in painting, sculpture, structural modeling, and clothing design, leaving behind many classic masterpieces. He also gave birth to several pioneering theories and studies on architecture, cultural space, and urban planning.

In the second half of the 20th Century, Italy contributed to breakthroughs in innovative art. Exhibitions were organized throughout about two decades, especially between the 1960s and 1980s. During this period, Italy, owing to its great economic growth and visionary creativity, brought revolutionary innovations in various fields. The country thus became the world’s seventh largest economy, with accomplishments in industrial design, fashion, architecture, filming industry, technology, and art. Responsive Vision presents to us Alviani’s innovations in visual art; he, as a leading figure, drove the art movements in the second half of the 20th century, including movements for Kinetic Art, Programmed Art, and Op Art. What we are about to witness is how an artist, under the great art movements of the times, persisted in forging a prototype of an ideal world through his relentless creativity, and how he came up with works that are futuristic and inspiring, leaving legacies that resonate through time.

Getulio Alviani, Lichtlinien Städtisches, Museum Leverkusen, 1963 © Centro Studi e Ricerche Getulio Alviani

From the late 1950s to the 1960s, Europe underwent the post-World-War-II reconstruction. The middle class rose, cities developed, and mass media and consumption also took off rapidly. When the world economy outlook shifted from one era of extreme circumstances to another, a group of artists began to reflect on the negative impact brought by material culture. They re-examined the form and connotation of art, as they believed that, through art, there could be new hope, order, and aesthetics. That, in turn, could bring the world a community that adopts sustainably, values cultural heritage, and pursues common well-being.

Alviani and an array of artists of his time proposed the use of science and mathematics theories as the basis to cancel subjective and exaggerated expressions; for instance, excessive marketing that stimulates endless consumption. Also, art can be created through minimal geometric forms. The purpose was to activate viewers’ perception within, which would allow them to realize that there is a difference between the viewed artwork itself, as objective objects, and the emotional responses they trigger, thereby discovering certain issues for people to dig deeper to their essence. This is the origin of art, as it must touch on key issues, respond to them, and solve them in an approach that is simple and direct.

In that turbulent era, the young Alviani worked closely with art pioneers in different fields, observing and learning from each other, and collaborating on exhibitions. There were Enrico Castellani, the father of minimalism, Lucio Fontana, the founder of spatialism, and Max Bill, the master of concrete art.

Alviani was committed to discovering, presenting, and solving problems, making art the ultimate embodiment of cross-border domain knowledge, so that art feeds information and allows viewers, as intellectuals, to gain joy both intellectually and perceptually.

Galerie Reckermann - Colonia Getulio Alviani solo exhibition © Centro Studi e Ricerche Getulio Alviani

Getulio Alviani often introduced himself as an “ideatore plastico,” meaning a “visual art inventor.” As an inventor of different art forms, he reshaped and re-interpreted the history of art. In his youth, Alviani studied sculpture under a classical sculptor, and he also worked on architecture and industrial design. These professional experiences familiarized the young artist to the techniques of visual communication and showed him the way of using industrial materials in art creation. When Alviani worked for the industry in electric components, he got fascinated by wires systems, which led to his very first series of artworks - Wires at the end of the 1950’s. Alviani’s signature light lines were born, leading to those milled and precise metal surfaces, composed according to mathematical schemes that he started to initiate in the second half of the 1950’s: his innovative Superfici a testura vibratile (Vibrating Texture Surfaces), which later became his signature work on the world stage.

I wished be able to realize what looked right to me: vivacity or solemnity of a body, immobility or movement, sensuality or detachment, through a design, a color, with the mastery of means, techniques, and the good knowledge of materials. Then the presentation of a dress was not an appearance but an emanation of a thought, a concept. —
— Getulio Alviani

monorecchino disco alluminio diametro © Centro Studi e Ricerche Getulio Alviani

Alviani used linearity, geometry, and colors to create optical kinetic art on metal surfaces. With precise programming, Alviani depicted surface texture through patterns and lines, presenting visual images using light and color. Images change according to the movement of the eyes of the viewers. At the same time, the light and color received and processed by the retina leave afterimages that are, in turn, projected in the human brain as perceptual illusions, thus creating various hallucinating images. Starting from minimalist geometry, Alviani’s design adopts patterns that overlap and multiply as a way of minimizing the connections between viewers’ subjective perceptions and the associations between objects and images. In this way, viewers’ perception and linkage to symbols are decreased, thus eliminating viewers’ pre-built impressions. The repetition of parts of lines is designed to show the interaction between the artwork itself as the subject and the complementary parts as the object, where a cumulative visual presentation is made possible.

Afterwards, Alviani shifted his focus of design from graphic to three-dimensional structures. Each metal unit and the overall structure are designed to interact with light, releasing richer patterns and color changes that are abstract and luminous. Since metallic surfaces are reflective, viewers moving around, due to changes in light and reflections, lead to visual presentations that are constantly changing. In addition to painting, printmaking, metal processing, and composite media, Alviani also made the most of his talents in clothing design. He saw clothing as a new carrier of dynamic visual art. With well-ordered cutting coupled with geometry, he was committed to bringing dynamics to clothing that had always been regarded as static. The vitality filled within his designs showcased a sense of future and optimism.

In 1965, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) New York brought to the world the legendary exhibition -The Responsive Eye, showcasing works in Optical Art, and Alviani’s creations were among the display, making the 25-year-old artist shine on the global art stage. In 2000, Alviani once again presented at MoMA in Open Ends, an exhibition on retrospect spanning over a century, and it was on this occasion that Alviani was elected as one of the most influential contemporary artists for the future.

Curated by William C. Seitz, a senior scholar of Abstract Expressionism, The Responsive Eye aimed to present a large panorama of the experimentations of contemporary art around light and movement. The event has been considered by art historians as the “height of the Op Art wave.” Seitz invited 102 artists from 19 countries, who all proposed new shapes of art demonstrating how the eye can respond to experiences with color, pattern, or light, in time and space.

Carrying great significance, The Responsive Eye focused on the debate around the process and the experience of viewing an art object and how this interaction could be part of the creation. Many journalists questioned thaten the art embodied through scientific forms as to whether this was truly art or rather a scientific exploration of the visual phenomenon. When a dialectical idea of structural designs has been formed, the design of a piece of work, or some people refer to as the elements for communication, will take shape through ways that are basic, minimalist, proportionate, coordinated, and orderly. This principle exists to initiate as much autonomous interaction as possible, so that total presentationablility can be obtained. Through his works, Alviani showed the world that the nervous system is involved in the art experience.

We worked - with diligence and without the desire for fame - on optical problems, perception, virtual images, the intrinsic dynamism of the work, the intervention of the spectator, on light and space, on seriality, new materials and on an unseen presentation of what was known, with mathematics and exact forms as a base. All of this was conducted with a new spirit, with a rationality and logic that promoted new operative modes, different expressive possibilities and all those elaborated phenomena, ideologies and psychologies relative to the problems of the visual and the optical. These were needs that addressed the human conscious, yet with a research approach closer to science. We wanted to give art a scientific meaning and consequently a social dimension.
— Getulio Alviani

Interrelazione speculare a elementi curvi © Centro Studi e Ricerche Getulio Alviani

As a proteiform artist, Getulio Alviani created through countless forms. He was an artist, sculptor, engineer, researcher, and scholar. He also proposed a manifesto titled Pneumatic Space, discussing objects and spaces of volume varying according to their function. In 1968, Alviani was invited by his good friend Lucio Fontana to exhibit together in the Biennale of Venice, showing the first project of his Ambianti Spaziali (Space Environment) series. The same year, Alviani was also invited to the Documenta 4, in Kassel, Germany, one of the most famous art events of that period.

In the 1970s, Alviani also focused on a very interesting chromatic phenomenology –spectrochromies, as well as the creation of 3D structures using mathematical formulas. Alviani’s works manifested in a very innovative way the exploration of spectrology of colors, through series of paintings and collages of circles, coupled with the geometric theory of Pythagora, a search for geometric proportions generated by mathematical calculations, and contrasts between primary colors or complementary ones. Light affects hue; colors neutralize other colors or alter them; illusions and parallax can dominate perception, and so on; these are all elements with which artists play and experiment, and they come from insights gained from natural phenomena. The same color will advance, retreat, vibrate, or deform, due to changes in its surrounding colors; the same goes to physical space, as it also produces different shades and layers of darkness due to different incident angles of light. Alviani’s Inscritti nel cerchio (polygon inscribed in a circle) series feature the use of bright color sequences (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet) to make the shapes of polygons stand out progressively. In such an ideal world, colors, angles, polygons, progress, movements, and the rainbow colors are all elements that show constructions done through various approaches and the fun found in spatial arrangements. They also show that Alviani distributed energy in a mathematical way, where light, as a material, can be serialized and transformed into an art form that has rhythm, thus inspiring a new way of thinking that art can become an experience.

struttura speculare in alluminio+colori verde e rosso © Centro Studi e Ricerche Getulio Alviani

Two years after Alviani passed away, Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, announced in her State of the Union 2020 the New European Bauhaus initiative, which involved the European Green Deal into people’s living spaces and life experiences.

This initiative calls on all of us to imagine and build together a sustainable and inclusive future that is beautiful for our eyes, minds, and souls.

Beautiful are the places, practices, and experiences that are:
.Enriching, inspired by art and culture, responding to needs beyond functionality.
.Sustainable, in harmony with nature, the environment, and our planet.
.Inclusive, encouraging a dialogue across cultures, disciplines, genders, and ages.

This initiative is almost identical to Alviani’s vision, which shows how forward-looking this avant-garde artist is, given his vision and mission for life.

Responsive Vision: Getulio Alviani is now giving us, here in Taiwan, a rare opportunity through which we can have a peek into such an ideal world.

Responsive Vision: Getulio Alviani

Period|2023/12/02 ~ 2024/10/27
Artist|Getulio Alviani
Curators|Yaman Shao、Diora Fraglica Alviani、Jerome Neutres、Richard Chang
Academics Collaboration|Felix Kwok, Sotheby's、T.N Liu, CANS Publisher Group
Curatorial Team|ALIEN Art、ALIEN Art Centre
Museum Collaboration|Centro Studi e Ricerche Getulio Alviani
Special thanks to|YUIMOM Group、SS Bar、Bon Masion

Yaman Shao|Responsive Vision: Getulio Alviani
Diora Fraglica Alviani| Getulio Alviani: extraordinary as a guide in life and art
Jérôme Neutres|Getulio Alviani: In search of a responsive vision
Richard Chang|Responsive Vision: Getulio Alviani

Key Visual of Responsive Vision © ALIEN Art Centre

environment, interrelazione cromospeculare, 1969, 210x420x420 cm © Centro Studi e Ricerche Getulio Alviani

environment, rilievo a riflessione con incidenza ortogonale, praticabile steel. 1967, 5x480x960 cm, modules 5x80x80 cm © Centro Studi e Ricerche Getulio Alviani

environment cubo a testura grafica slabs of opalescent pvc, serigraphy and light. 1964-69, 330x330x300 cm © Centro Studi e Ricerche Getulio Alviani

monorecchio,1965 © Centro Studi e Ricerche Getulio Alviani

infilo contro-natura 80s © Centro Studi e Ricerche Getulio Alviani

ifty-fifty a e b serigraphy. 1962, 42x84 cm © Centro Studi e Ricerche Getulio Alviani

tensione/x 3 colori serigraphy. 1964-75, 64x44 cm © Centro Studi e Ricerche Getulio Alviani

positivo-negativo dress by germana marucelli and getulio alviani. 1964 © Centro Studi e Ricerche Getulio Alviani

forma alluminum, 1960-61 © Centro Studi e Ricerche Getulio Alviani

superficie a testura vibratile 1.2.4 alluminum. 1962, 70x70 cm © Centro Studi e Ricerche Getulio Alviani

disco turned steel. 1965 © Centro Studi e Ricerche Getulio Alviani

cerchi virtuali ortogonali steel. 1967-68 50x50x10 cm © Centro Studi e Ricerche Getulio Alviani

Getulio Alviani - Galleria Cardazzo, 1969 © Centro Studi e Ricerche Getulio Alviani