Smoother Delight

06/11 - 04/12/2014

past exhibitions

Smoother Delight

Extract from the essay

(...) Awe and wonder play an important role in the work of AlessandroBrighetti. If this was not the case the decision to use ferrofluids as the basisfor his latest works would be at the least reckless and dangerous. Thisdense glossy black liquid, a mixture of iron nanoparticles surrounded by anionic surfactant dissolved in oil, is a challenging material that in the wronghands would be capable of literally devouring the work. Magical andcaptivating, the very ambiguity of this magnetically charged liquid wants toimpose itself as the message. When it isn't, as is evident in Brighetti'swork, it has to be used very skilfully to make sure it does not become theexclusive focus of the viewer's attention, a source of childlike wonder.Brighetti possesses this skill, and we could almost say that he possesses itparadoxically, because his preoccupations are not exclusively those of avisual artist tackling a new material. "Artist experimenter" [10] Brighetticreates his ferrofluids with the help of a chemist friend, studies his mediumwith enthusiasm and dedication and knows it inside out; he appropriatesthe science required to dominate it, and his knowledge of it goes beyondthe use he makes of it in his works. With the preoccupations and ambitionsof a physicist, he states: "I am fascinated by the other and the nonordinary.I want to go beyond perception, beyond man's physiologicallimits. I want to explore the "ultra" and the "infra": the ultra sensitive, ultraviolet, ultrasound, infrared…" [11]He gets his hands dirty.And it is this in-depth knowledge of the medium that enables him, at asecond stage, to detach from it and use it in ways that shift the source offascination. Take Nabucco (2013), for example. Faced with the solidmajesty of this work it is impossible to think that it is based on a device thatuses a simple fairground trick.It is not the ferrofluid that captures our attention, but the way in which thisbecomes part of the work, the way it introduces speed and movement intothis imposing structure, the way in which it balances its material presencewith its light, elegant flow: the way in which it animates the sculpture.In other cases, like Fertility and Shiver, we can lose ourselves in awe at theway life takes possession of the sculptural, inanimate and inevitably slightlykitsch object, a faithful imitation of the human body. In other pieces, likeStruggle for Pleasure, in the series The M 1st Project, and the series ofworks named after psychopharmalogical drugs, what enthrals the viewer isthe hypnotic rhythms created and the material's ability to effect small butperceptible variations in the repetitive movements.We could say that it is Brighetti's alchemy that makes him an artist. His"overwhelming personal urge" to engage with the materials he uses,including their physical and chemical properties, is what enables him tomove beyond them and elevate them into works where the sciencedisappears and what is left is a consummate visualisation of a concept.As he puts it:[...] I am completely dominated by abstract entities that bend me to theirwill. I am chained in an enclosed space with no way out. I am asubordinate. Physics imposes its brutal, hegemonic will and I succumbpleasurably to its commandments. Chemistry finds its own space, usingand shaping it with precision. [...] I am at the bottom of the hierarchy. I amthe medium that reveals the aesthetic of nature, something that is abovereproach. I formalise the final structure and create material supports toshow people the beauty of universal laws. [12]


[10] Chiara Canali, "Alessandro Brighetti. L'artista sperimentatore", in LaStampa, 26 maggio 2011.[11] Ivi.
[12] Antonello Tolve, "Alessandro Brighetti e un itinerario neogestaltico. Undialogo", in Art a Part of Culture, 23 maggio 2012. 

Exhibition view