By Romeo, Filippo
Artforum International , Vol. 45, No. 3
"Phi"--the title of Elisa Sighicelli's latest, almost psychedelic exhibition--was a tremendously effective investigation of the disruptive power of light: light transformed, broken down into multicolored particles, projected, and filtered by backlit surfaces. Thus in Film without Film (all works 2006), some hundred or so bulbs, attached to the walls at a height of about three feet from the floor, flashed on and off in sequence, giving the impression of a light source that ran along the walls of one room in the gallery. The optical illusion produced by the successive appearance of the lights resulted in unexpected effects: Viewers had the sensation of standing in a space that was revolving around them. But this was only one of the many illusions produced by the intermittence of the lights. In Fan-tasmagoria--which looks like a projection of concentric light circles, in fact an illusion created by pulsing colored lights on a toy fan--the intermittent colored lights created a sensation of continuous change, and it was difficult to identify a defined image, as the viewer was caught off guard by an ever-changing alternation of flashes. If one then considered that the semipolished resin surface on the floor reflected the brightest lights, one could understand that the optical effect was amplified, to the point where some of the projections on the wall seemed to continue beyond the wall surface, becoming lost in the darkness of the gallery.
The contrast between reality and appearance pushed viewers' perceptions to the maximum, and one was left with the impression of having experienced something beyond the everyday, driven by an enthusiasm we might, in fact, call mind-bending. …