Carlo Bernardini


Carlo Bernardini

Italia • Italy

The artist starts out from fairly complex theoretical and methodological considerations and, taking his position in the field of sculpture, immediately raises the question of light and shade and their ability to occupy space. I am not referring to the body of the work, its pondus, but rather to light and shade as the two extremes of a dialectic where the middle term is not considered. Observing his sculptures we can in fact register the point of arrival of a language that reduces to the very limit of sculptural presence: filiform structures in steel, glowing screens, transparent slabs of Plexiglas - the least that can be said is that empty spaces predominate over solids to the point of virtually annihilating them...

In most cases, the optic fibres alone take over the space: the work lives entirely on the relationship between the luminous line, design in light, perfectly geometrical and so self–evident in its constructive links, and the space housing it. In this reciprocal relationship, space becomes a condition for the visibility of light and vice versa, the design in light is configured according to the structural characteristics of the space (which may contain objects that interact with the rays of light), space being charged with straight, powerfully energetic lines crossing it ceaselessly to trace out virtual volumes. All this, as we have seen, is “dematerialised”: light and shade, empty space, scant materials able to thin out almost to the point of eluding perception. Yet Bernardini is never too Hegelian: sight as a threshold opening on pure thought falls short of axiomatic triumph.

The body is topicalised with the same force in Bernardini’s work, yet it does not belong to the work. The role of physicality is delegated to the spectator, it is his/her body the work calls upon as the element that completes it, or rather founds it upon the sense relations it activates with space - space that is not conceived as abstract but in phenomenological terms, it is environment, lived space. The spectator’s body has not only the role of moving and perceiving, but also, with its movements, of transforming the work which changes appearance according to the point of observation. Like Paul Klee, Bernardini can say that his work postulates a drifting viewpoint, moved by the observer who, by moving to observe, modifies the work in its most essential aspect, its significant relationships with the environment.

Giorgio Verzotti