From July 29th to September 29th, the Palazzo Reale has been hosting the “Light Project” exhibition, which is the very first retrospective dedicated to Nanda Vigo, a multifaceted artist and architect from Milan, who was involved in multiple projects ranging from design to architecture and art. She has exhibited her work across the world, from New York, Berlin and Shanghai to Amsterdam, Milan and Moscow. Since the 60s, she has been a key figure in the cultural scene in Milan, collaborating with the most significant people of our time: in 1963 she becomes a member of “Zero”, a group that includes artists from all over Europe, and starts to develop her first “Chronotopes”, which describe the different ways of conceiving the dimensions. In 1965, she edits the legendary exposition “Zero Avantgarde”, which took place in Lucio Fontana’s studio. After his death, she organised an exhibition illuminating, for the first time, the back of the artist’s creations, giving an evocative and fascinating insight into the work.

Light Project

There are about 80 art pieces in the Milan exhibition, among which installations, sculptures and projects; it narrates the extraordinary path followed by the artist while continuously researching and elaborating her studies regarding light and the transparency and immateriality of art. Many artists focused on the structure of light but only Nanda Vigo was actually able to comprehend and handle the essence of light itself and how its transparency expands in space. The exhibition is developed in eight rooms; the first three are dedicated to the chronotopes: glass and metal structures, whose shapes are simple and geometrical. They are illuminated by neon and radiant lights, through which one can perceive lightness and immateriality. These artworks develop through space in the interesting installation “Global Chronotopic Experience”, a room covered in mirrors where the viewer enters and experiences the change that occurs in the spatial dimension.
The art pieces, dating from the 80s up to 2000, are exhibited in the other rooms. The glass installations “Light Progression”, “Trilogia” and “Deep Space” are real puzzles, made by

Nanda Vigo, Trilogia, Light progressions omaggio a Gio Ponti, Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni, Palazzo Reale, Milano, 2019

geometric figures, different both in size and shape. The artwork is illuminated from the inside with tricks of light, which radiates a glow that appears almost mystical in light blue and green tones. The viewer lives a sensorial experience as the pieces change shape and dimension depending on the viewing angle. A meaningful example displays three small installations lit by a red light and enclosed in a black frame. As the spectators move, they expand and contract in size.
The “Stimolatori di Spazio” or “Trigger Off” are rising polyhedrons made of mirrors and steel with a faceted surface that reflects labyrinthian light systems where people lose and find themselves. These creations cause a sensation of boundless spaces wherein the human soul can live.
This exhibition is conceptual, interesting, elegant and expresses the essence of how Nanda Vigo intended art: “an existential situation which allows one to live and perceive, even physically, a higher reality, through contemplation and communion with everything”.

Loretta Pettinato

Volume 34 no.2 November/December 2019 pp 33-34

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