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by Alice Savorelli
Pino Pinelli, May 17-July 6, 2007, at Galleria A arte Studio Invernizzi, via Scarlatti 12, Milan

Specifically conceived for the gallery space, the exhibition of Pino Pinelliís works at the Milanese gallery A arte Studio Invernizzi places a lot of emphasis on the bodily encounter of the spectator and the works displayed.

Just a few steps away from the chaotic Corso Buenos Aires, Milanís buzzing shopping district, Pinelliís show "La pittura tra frammento e tensione unitaria" offers a perfect haven for contemplation. Pinelliís works are in between the realms of painting and sculpture, geometric objects that are Minimalist and monochromatic. Red is the preferred primary color for this exhibition.

Simultaneously experienced as paintings and objects, and deliberately questioning the notion of medium-specificity, Pinelliís plastic forms indeed highlight the textural as well as sculptural qualities of painting, forcing the viewer to react, somehow, to the extension of forms within the gallery space.

Whatís more, it can be argued that the primary interest of Pinelliís work lies not in the geometrical and sculptural properties of the objects, or in the diverse compositions these works instigate within whatever context in which they are exhibited, but also, or probably predominantly, in their use of color. Pinelliís color is thick, vibrant, concrete, substantial. Color confers on his works an otherworldly, utopian, transcendent status. It is not only an attribute of the work but the very definition and constitution of the work itself.

The gallery walls are painted a brilliant, total white, from which emerges the red square and rectangular surfaces of Pinelliís works. Like both sculpture and painting, these elements stand for a disintegrated surface and for a unity and wholeness that has been broken. The pieces look solid and whole, but are in fact divided in two by a diagonal line. This rupture is in fact the focus of the exhibition, whose title translates as "painting between fragmentation and unitary tension" -- an exploration of the threshold between fragments and the whole, between violation and a symbolic reorganization.

The exasperation underlying Pinelliís process is obvious in one of the works, a rectangular red frame with a missing upper right corner. Other works in the exhibition are rectangles made of linear elements that suggest a painting frame or a canvas contour. Here it is the "inside" of the painting that is missing, or that is transformed into the work. The frame is on one side, its content on the other: an object which is never a whole but divided into self-sufficient parts.

Pinelliís works look as if they expected to be seized, touched, moved by the spectator. They act as surfaces that metaphorically open and close themselves within space in order to form new, imagined constructions, extending themselves towards the viewer. The way the works are displayed, and the irregular, tactile, spongy appearance of the worksí surface, challenges our usual perception of painting, inviting us to remodel the pieces, to give them new forms, to rearrange them within a further spatial milieu into further, unexpected combinations.

ALICE SAVORELLI writes about art from Northern Italy.