/ Responsive Vision: Getulio Alviani

Richard Chang


Getulio Alviani (1939-2018), a polymath in art who emerged after World War II, was known for his remarkable achievements in painting, sculpture, structural modeling, and fashion design, devising the most iconic dress of the century and leaving behind many classic masterpieces. He also gave birth to several pioneering theories and studies on architecture, the “pneumatic space”, and visionary urban planning.

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 that spanned the world's 100 most important artists of the 20th century, and it was on this occasion that Alviani was elected as one of the most influential contemporary artists for the future.

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

Now, initiated by CEO Yaman Shao from ALIEN Art Centre and with support from Centro Studi e Ricerche Getulio Alviani, Responsive Vision: Getulio Alviani is the very first solo exhibition of the master artist in Eastern Asia, followed by touring to Milano, Torino, Florence, and Bergamo. As the first stop of the artist’s solo exhibition after he passed away, viewers are about to see the most notable works by Alviani throughout his life, and also to witness how an artist, under the great art movements of the times, persisted in forging a prototype of an ideal world through his relentless pursuit, and how he devised with works that are futuristic and inspiring, leaving legacies that resonate through time.

About Getulio Alviani

Getulio Alviani was born in Udine in northeastern Italy. In his youth, Alviani studied sculpture under a classical sculptor, and he also worked on architecture and industrial design. At the age of 19 (late 1950s), Alviani used steel and aluminum to produce vibrating textured surfaces, creating a form of kinetic art that allowed interactions with viewers.

Forma © 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.

Art Movements

At that period, Bauhaus, which abruptly ended before World War II, reappeared in front of the world, with the rise of art movements spanning over science, technology, design, craftsmanship, and aesthetics. The idea features all-round construction and rationality for artistic creation. In that turbulent era, the young Alviani worked closely with art pioneers in different fields, observing, learning and collaborating with the greatest like Max Bill and Josef Albers. Together with Enrico Castellani, the father of minimalism, and Lucio Fontana, the founder of spatialism, he was the deviser of the “enviroments”, which profoundly marked the history of contemporary art.

op game, 1964 © Centro Studi e Ricerche Getulio Alviani

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’ visual perception, which would allow them to realize that there is a difference between the viewed artwork itself, thus making the art objective. 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.

Context in Art

In fact, the movement can be traced back to the origins of European classical art, where the ancient Greeks designed temples based on the first three orders - Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian, which conveyed the classical aesthetics of clarity, simplicity, decency, and proportion. In ancient Rome, De architectura (On architecture) by Marcus Vitruvius Pollio pointed out that buildings and public spaces must be designed with rigorous mathematical schemes, so that civilization and people’s life can be well-developed.

During the Renaissance, Filippo Brunelleschi used innovative engineering technology and strict aesthetic proportions to design the dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, which remains the largest brick dome ever constructed. Piero della Francesca, as a mathematician, created the great paintings - Baptism of Christ (1451) and Flagellation of Christ (1459) using atomism, integrals, and geometry; this showed the world that the formation, existence, and operation of the world can be learned through math formulas and geometry. Leonardo da Vinci, for another, once said: “Let no man who is not a Mathematician read the elements of my work”; this great artist, through The Last Supper, presented the proportions found in daily life, linear perspective, and the Fibonacci sequence, where the golden ratio lies. For these arrangements, the painting is even viewed as the Eighth Wonder of the World.

Alviani believed that he was engaged in artistic creation under the inheritance of Classical art forms -Bauhaus, coupled with science, logic, mathematics and geometry as cornerstones. Art creations is not about deviating from the great art forms of the past, but to strip away the facade and vulgarity of a business-oriented society, so that artists could explore the nature of things and reiterate the value within. 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 to be sharpened by his visions and develop a more conscious perception.


In regard to Alviani’s background, he used linearity, geometry, and colors to device optical kinetic art through movement, reflection and specularity . With precise programming, Alviani realized the Superficie a testura vibratile trough a lucid programmed and mathematical composition of shapes and lines, in which light and color move his works. 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.

Galerie Alice Pauli - Losanna Getulio Alviani solo exhibition, 1972 Manifesto © Centro Studi e Ricerche Getulio Alviani

Viewers may wonder – “Why use minimalist geometry and patterns that overlap and multiply?” The reason was that geometry could help minimize 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.

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

In addition to painting, printmaking, metal processing, and composite media, Alviani also study the dress as a conductor of images in becoming. He saw clothing as a new carrier of dynamic visual art. With well-ordered cutting, 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 of great innovation.

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

Following that trait, Alviani’s 3D works featured the programming of lines, shapes and chromes and reassembly of structures. He believed that the development of civilizations could progress in an evolutionary sense thanks to scientific discoveries and inventions, such as the “pneumatic spaces” that concentrate on units over spaces and mobility.

Artist's Mission

Alviani’s creations in works, printmaking, fashion design, structural modeling, and spatial art all have a common feature: using geometric as maximum economy, achieving maximum results. ; in that way, perception of vision and senses are activated to trigger us to think about the world we live in, exploring the essence of things and the order of the new world with rationality. Getulio Alviani was the first italian example of minimalism in architecture, design and art; his tables and chairs are exhibited at the famous Mondriaanhuis and everything he made, in every sphere, is still the subject of study.

Classical painting and sculpture are art forms that use the depth and range of the theme to convey a momentum that transcends time and space; what Alviani represented may be referred to as “modern art.”

In consumerism and moderation arising from the media and consumer marketing, contents of exaggeration and vulgarity have shifted people’s attention away from the essence of problems to be solved, and information overload has cultivated the public’s habit into taking a passive approach in thinking. Alviani proposed that a creator of visual arts must study various problems with the backing of science, logic, and verification, and solve problems with new languages and comprehensive methods. Artistic concepts must be formed based on rationality and the essence of things. Despite temptations in the real world, art must face various tests to validate its essence and existence for eternity.

Quadrato+cerchio=volume, Cromia spettologica del giallo, Cromia spettologica del rosso, Cromia spettologica del blu, ALIEN Art Centre © ALIEN Art

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

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

Artestudio - Macerata Getulio Alviani solo exhibition © Centro Studi e Ricerche Getulio Alviani