Review /

Amalia Del Ponte Museo del Novecento & Studio Museo Francesco Messina / Milan

The intuition underlying “Onde lunghe e brevissime,” a two-part exhibition at Museo del Novecento and Studio Museo Francesco Messina, consists not only in the presentation of two different decades of Amalia Del Ponte’s production, but also in the connection of two formats often considered antithetical: the philological and the sensorial.

At Museo del Novecento the curator Iolanda Ratti adopts an approach calibrated both critically and historically. Revisiting the artist’s research between 1964 and 1973, this section is focused on scientific and perceptual studies of light refraction on Plexiglas prisms, defined by Vittorio Fagone as “Tropi.” It concludes with How do you feel? (1971), a sculpture whose white concrete manifests the atemporal dignity of marble as filtered light is refracted and reflected onto it. This work was presented in 1973 at the twelfth São Paulo Bienal, together with Area Percettiva, the installation piece that won the sculpture prize.

The second part of the exhibition, curated by Eleonora Fiorani at the Studio Museo Francesco Messina, shows Del Ponte’s research on sound. Betweeen 1985 and 1995 the artist worked on sound sculptures called “Litofoni” –– sheets of tuned stone harmonized through careful choreography and activated by percussive performers. The selection here is articulated through video-documented performances with drawings and a number of “Litofoni.” The core of this section is Aria della freccia (1994), a stone triptych played at the opening as part of a new performance by Elio Marchesini. Although the presence of a permanent collection here precludes total sonic immersion, Marchesini’s agitated performance nonetheless revived the endless lyricism through which Del Ponte sought a balance between form and material, between science and Eastern philosophy, and between the visible and the sensual.

by Bernardo Follini