What does painting mean today? This question inspired the new artworks by the most celebrated living Italian artist, Franco Mazzucchelli. The artist will present his new group of works (Bifrontal Inflatable Paintings) in a solo exhibition, named BI-FACE edited by Sabino Maria Frassà at the Gaggenau Hub in Milan from June 20th to August 3rd. This gallery was created to promote the best of art and design in Italy thanks to the collaboration between the non-profit project CRAMUM FOR ART and the luxury design brand Gaggenau.

In 1971 Franco Mazzucchelli at Spazio Anny Di Gennaro, Milan, created the first inflatable room to suggest a new idea of house, no longer rooted to the past, but projected into a better future. To the artist’s great surprise the viewers reacted enthusiastically to this exhibition: by looking at the installation they imagined they had one of Mazzucchelli’s works hanging on the wall. The requests to get inflated paintings on the wall grew more and more. Fearing to betray his refusal of commercialization with these works, Mazzucchelli took about 30 years before creating inflatable bi-dimensional works “for the walls”. The success of this cycle of works encouraged the artist to go on, but he wanted to identify and limit them with the mark “Bieca Decorazione” (Grim Decoration ) with the logo BD.

It’s no accident that he chose the words “petty decoration” (“bieca decorazione” in Italian, from which the acronym BD) which are almost negative, it does not mean simple or mere decoration. For this reason the cycle of works (inscribed in a specific time , technique and /or style) is to be seen as an intellectual and programmatic manifesto of life. Like in Gli Abbandoni (the Abandoned) , in A.TO.A. and in his 1970s actions, BD is a reflection – ironical and cynical – on the meaning and role of art today.

The works Quadri Bifacciali, usually called Bifacciali (8 works created between 2017 and 2018) complete and show the cynical and theoretical aspect of BD. The artist reflects over the fact that every art today is destined to become a decoration for a sitting room, for a gallery or for a museum. For this reason when art creates objects to be hung, the visual aspect risks to prevail on the meaning and on the contents of the work of art. Mazzucchelli thought over a lot on the works Quadri Bifacciali , as they are synthesis and representation of the strong contradictions of the world of art today: form and contents, reproducibility of art and design, bi and tri-dimensional technical and impulsive creativity, art for art’s sake or social art.

The Quadri Bifacciali of Franco Mazzucchelli are not petty decorative paintings. They are mature works, visually effective and immediate, complex and not easy to be understood. F M. creates labyrinths of form and contents, putting upside down or reducing to zero the certainty and the reference points. The works are paintings but they must not be hung. The front and the back are mixed in a unique dimension, in one facade which has endless solutions for the viewer. There is no longer the limit between work of art and external environment; what lies in the background, beyond the work, is brought to the foreground thanks to the transparency of PVC. At the same time the mirroring surfaces lead the viewer and the world around inside the work. Finally, the eye gets lost inside the work, among the confused layers and the alternation between transparent walls and mirroring surfaces, in the void imprisoned by the PVC.


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