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LORIS CECCHINI PRESENTS "WATERBONES"





“Waterbones (Stochastic Choral Sinphony)” by Loris Cecchini was the protagonist of the artist’s solo show “The Ineffable Gardener” at Galleria Continua / San Gimignano in 2018. Occupying the stalls area of the former cinema-theatre space, the structure has an adaptive capacity and consists of thousands of steel modules. The artist has named these “waterbones” due to their intrinsic lightness and structural freedom. 

Working in modules is an approach that Cecchini has developed throughout the years; his original modular installations came to the fore in the early 2000s when he worked with polyethylene balls, assembling them to form an undulating conglomeration. Cecchini used these as the first iteration of the module, interested by their effect on light as it was filtered through them and by their predisposition to being attached to a frame. The form they then adopted was different from the supportive structure underneath and the multitude of modules together managed to create the illusion of a liquid-like homogeneous material.

Encouraged by the limitations of polyethylene, Loris Cecchini then went on to experiment even more with the “module”, conceiving a new tripolar one that recalled a three-dimensional diagram, allowing itself to be considered as a single element that contributes to a larger structure or as an independent sculptural form. This time the module was reflective and made of steel; a durable material that also provides the opportunity to repair and replace modules when needed. 

This consideration of the material and how it reacts to its environment is indicative of the artist’s focus on how these installations also relate to the space they occupy. Due to the interchangeable nature of the modules, the work interacts with its surroundings as part of a symbiotic relationship. Without the limitations of the space containing the work, the combinations would be almost infinite. Similarly, in nature the mathematical algorithms that dictate patterns and structures must have some kind of external obstacle to their growth and development otherwise the combinations would be unlimited. The installation is therefore an organic simile for which Cecchini uses a combination of industrial processes and artisanal practices in order to produce the modules. These hold endless possibilities when it comes to representing a structural metamorphosis most likely to be found in nature. 

“I have devised my creative language around the ideas of the object, the model and architecture. Often the work refers in different ways to the idea of inhabiting space. Currently, I am exploring the space of sculpture and of the environmental installation according to a notion of the parcelization of material, almost a sort of molecular deflagration of sculpture, in which scientific phenomenology becomes an intimate structure and go-between for vision. This is after having for many years investigated the human relationship with curved space, a space where the right angle and the Euclidean paradigm give way to organic deformation, pervading the sense of form. What I produce on different occasions are series of works using media ranging from watercolour to photography, from the large-scale environmental installation to the micro-sculpture. It is a space that spectators themselves walk around in and complete. There is the constant idea of a “dual landscape”, in which the physicality of the materials refers to a virtual design and vice versa.” 

Fabrizio Paperiniartist liaison of Galleria Continua, talks about the work of Loris Cecchini. 



Waterbones

2018


stainless steel elements


site specific dimensions

unique work

Installation views at Galleria Continua San Gimignano, 2018

Photo © Ela Bialkowska, OKNO Studio

Installations view Fondaco dei Tedeschi, Venezia, 2017

Photo © Oak Taylor-Smith

Installation view the St. Regis Rome, 2018

Photo © Ela Bialkowska, OKNO Studio

Installation view, IL VINO DELL’ARTE, Tenuta Casenuove, Panzano, 2020

Photo © Christophe Goussard

Installation view Le CENTQUATRE-PARIS, 2016

Photo © Oak Taylor-Smith


CATALOGUE 

LORIS CECCHINI 

Testing effects, dancing reactions 1993-2016 

Pacini Editore, Pisa Galleria Continua San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin / Havana

Text by Biancalucia Maglione

“The artist’s modules consist for the most part of simple, pure, extremely smooth forms. But the perfect finish of the fragment, the closed form, seem at the same time to give the work a sense of opening onto the exterior, an exterior that interacts with the work and is somehow, through the reflection, incorporated into it. 


The possibilities of reflection have been exploited by other artists as well. Not so very far removed, perhaps, is the use made of shiny reflecting stainless steel by, for example, Michelangelo Pistoletto. Admittedly, the surface of his Quadri specchianti is occupied in part by a fixed, immutable photograph, but the rest of the metallic sheet, left free, can ‘house’ the image of the viewer reflected in it, becoming, from a perspective of open participation, a co-protagonist of the work together with the silhouette. Anish Kapoor, an artist Cecchini esteems and with whom he feels he shares the same horizon of action, also exploits the reflective properties of the same material to create installations, often monumental ones, made from very shiny surfaces (think of Cloud gate, the enormous ‘bean’ situated in the middle of the AT&T Plaza in Chicago’s Millennium Park, or Sky mirror, a circular sculpture installed in New York, the concave part of which reflects the sky and the convex one the ground and everything on it).


But prior to all these examples, pure, reflecting three-dimensional forms make one think most readily of the work of one of the undisputed protagonists of 20th-century sculpture. It may seem out of scale to turn to Constantin Brâncuşi, and probably it is if we are talking in terms of direct derivation. But the Romanian artist is such a key, seminal figure for subsequent artistic developments that it does not seem misleading to refer to him in relation to 21st-century art as well. The analysis of this particular aspect – the reflecting surfaces – of Brâncuşi’s work has been dealt with at length by various scholars and books. Rosalind Krauss, for instance, in Passages in modern sculptures, devotes considerable space to him, dealing, among other things, with his propensity to laboriously polish the sculptures in bronze to obtain perfectly reflective surfaces. The polished bronze created a series of reflections interfering with the plasticity of the work, making a formal reading of these compact forms and their internal relations difficult for the viewer. The light falling upon the surfaces, now concave, now convex, seems to change the silhouette continually, dissolving its outlines, breaking otherwise absolute forms. These effects were deliberately sought by the artist, as testified by photos he took of them himself.

The resulting forms are very close to a perfect, ideal geometry. But careful inspection reveals that they are always subjected to that ‘deformation’, as the English critic describes it, which is necessary and sufficient to wrench the volume out of the dimension of absolute geometry and abstraction, in order to install it in the “variable and happenstance world of the contingent”.

According to Krauss, polishing his bronzes almost to the point of fanaticism was a way for the artist to purge them of any sign of the hand-crafted studio object, instead of the ‘finish’ of machine-made industrial products. “He obviously delighted in the beauty and severity of mechanically functional shapes.”


It is those same ‘functional machine forms’ that an artist like Cecchini, working in a context where technology has overlapped with and accompanied artistic workmanship, understood traditionally as a kind of ‘value of the hand’, for decades, can reproduce by relying directly on industrial processes, without the need to emulate them and, at the same time, to conceal them behind artisanal practices.


The distance between the two artists, generational and otherwise, is evident. Notwithstanding this, some further points of contact between them can be glimpsed. The tendency towards simplicity, which in art is not a point of departure but an end, seems to distinguish the path of both artists, representing a kind of common denominator. Just as Brâncuşi simplifies with ever increasing intensity the relatively few and recurrent subjects punctuating his output (Muse, Bird, Maistra, among others), tending towards a result that brushes against abstraction while remaining just short of it, so Cecchini’s most recent work has been read by some critics in terms of a ‘drift towards abstraction’. The distance separating the first works of the Milanese artist, dominated by an ever-recognizable figurativeness, from the present ones resulting from an effective simplification of form tending, as it were, towards ‘iconoclasm’, is quite evident. However, in Cecchini’s case as well, it is perhaps misleading to talk about pure abstraction, just as we said it was in relation to the Romanian artist. In both cases, the connection with reality is never interrupted, never cut cleanly. 

The point of departure is always a real, objective referent, though the process of simplification may sometimes make it hard to recognize, disavowing any merely mimetic or hyperrealist intent. In Cecchini’s case, this difficulty is perhaps even more evident than in Brâncuşi. This is because the search for essentiality, in the Milanese artist’s case, is accompanied by a tendency towards the transfiguration of reality and of nature, a concept which, to put it mildly, has been one of the cornerstones of his entire career.”

Waterbones (L44)

2020

polished Stainless Steel 316

44 elements

240 x 230 x 212 cm | 94,48 x 90,55 x 83,46 in

unique work

Waterbones (133)

2019

stainless steel modules

275 x 301 x 50 cm | 698,5 x 764,54 x 127 in

unique work

Wallwave vibration (Asynchronous emotion)

2012

polyester resin, paint

Ø 220 x 8 cm

Ed. 3 + 2 AP

Photo © Oak Taylor-Smith


Aeolian landforms (Wawa)

2020

cast Polyester resins, acrylic resins, nylon fibers in aluminium frame,

201 x 152 x 6 cm | 79,13 x 59,84 x 2,36 in

unique work

Photo © Duccio Benvenuti - Art Store

Aeolian Landforms (Zawilah)

2020

cast Polyester resins, acrylic resins, nylon fibers in aluminium frame,

150 x 100 x 6 cm | 59,05 x 39,37 x 2,36 in

unique work

Photo © Duccio Benvenuti - Art Store

Fingertips VII

2020

Carrara marble

75 x 65 cm about

unique work

Photo © Stefano Casati