Magazine article Artforum International

Massimo Bartolini: Galleria Massimo De Carlo

Magazine article Artforum International

Massimo Bartolini: Galleria Massimo De Carlo

Article excerpt

Massimo Bartolini's work is tied to nature, understood as inhabited, traveled, and experienced--imbued, in other words, with that totality of emotional, biographical, and cultural elements that we typically connect instead with houses, streets, and urban spaces. Bartolini "mixes" a physical architecture with an imaginary body, a literal evocation of the earth with references to science and technology. This is explicit in an untitled sculpture (all works 2004) in which water in a basin is stirred by irregular waves. But while the movement is produced by mechanical means, the effect is of something mysteriously lifelike. Bartolini sometimes expands or compresses space, constructing rooms like closed boxes within which viewers enter one at a time and confront a blinding light that negates physical and psychological boundaries, or raising the gallery floor so that furniture, doors, and objects seem to sink down into it. Another type of compression and expansion appears in his sculptures of small mountains of gray stone resting on earth. Their reduced scale evokes quattrocento perspective but also suggests the gap between the immensity of nature and what the eye can perceive.

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In this show, expansion and compression find an element of equilibrium in a series of fountains. These fountains derive their shape from an imaginary and poetic expansion of a washbasin. They are arranged around a sculpture of a mountain on an asphalt slab. …

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