For the 2018’s edition of Art Basel Feature ChertLüdde was pleased to present a solo presentation with Italian artist Franco Mazzucchelli (b. 1939, Milan).

Since the early sixties, Mazzucchelli has been experimenting with synthetic materials, his wide-ranging exploration leading to the giant inflatable sculptures he became known for.

The works were spontaneously installed in the public spaces of cities and in outdoor environments, left without any supervision or protection. These inflatable objects were uncommon to their surroundings and immediately triggered the people’s interest and curiosity, who were compelled to touch, move and play with them, resulting in many different scenarios. The action of abandoning always established a contamination of the city by the artworks: the works were intended to disrupt the perception of a familiar place, be it a more domestic environment, such as a courtyard, or a widely used fragment of the city, and to open an escape from daily routine by suggesting an unfamiliar view and perception of the surrounding space. These unexpected actions and manipulations were documented with photographs and videos by the artist.

The acronym A. to A. was coined by Mazzucchelli to refer to the Art to Abandon series, which he produced and subsequently abandoned in urban spaces. The name originates from the time when he was a young artist’s assistant in Paris. Mazzucchelli grew increasingly disappointed by the mindless production of works and considered abandoning the art world completely. Instead, he reversed the idea and decided to physically abandon his art, inciting a reaction with the environment.

Mazzucchelli called these events “public interventions”. Due to their ephemeral nature and unpredictable outcomes, the artist meticulously documented the events through video and photography.

The main works the gallery presented at Art Basel Feature were two original inflatable 4-meter high yellow cones dating back to 1973. These two sculptures were part of a public intervention which took place in Volterra that year, on occasion of the exhibition Memoria e Prospezione, which became known as Volterra ’73. The original installation included six cones and other inflatable elements, most of which did not survive the event, having been either lost or destroyed. The two cones are the only ones that returned to the artist’s studio.

The presentation was accompanied by a video which documents the intervention in Volterra, along with five framed compositions on the wall, where the artist assembled and re-elaborated documentary photographs of his works along with fragments of inflatables that have survived over time.

 

Franco Mazzucchelli, “A. to A.”, 1973. PVC, air, original inflatable work from the public intervention in Volterra, Piazza dei Priori. Each: 400 cm x 60 cm. Photographs by: Andrea Rossetti. Courtesy the Artist and ChertLüdde, Berlin.
Franco Mazzucchelli, “A. to A. (Priori Square, Volterra), late 1970s. Photograph, PVC from the original inflatable artwork, felt-tip pen and paint on photographic paper. 40 × 30 × 3 cm. Photograph by: Trevor Lloyd. Courtesy the Artist and ChertLüdde, Berlin.
Franco Mazzucchelli, “A. to A. (Priori Square, Volterra), late 1970s. Photograph, PVC from the original inflatable artwork, felt-tip pen and paint on photographic paper. 40 × 30 × 3 cm. Photograph by: Trevor Lloyd. Courtesy the Artist and ChertLüdde, Berlin.
Franco Mazzucchelli, “A. to A. (Priori Square, Volterra), late 1970s. Photograph, PVC from the original inflatable artwork, felt-tip pen and paint on photographic paper. 30 × 40 × 3 cm. Photograph by: Trevor Lloyd. Courtesy the Artist and ChertLüdde, Berlin.
Franco Mazzucchelli, “A. to A. (Priori Square, Volterra), late 1970s. Photograph, PVC from the original inflatable artwork, felt-tip pen and paint on photographic paper. 40 × 30 × 3 cm. Photograph by: Trevor Lloyd. Courtesy the Artist and ChertLüdde, Berlin.
Franco Mazzucchelli, “A. to A. (Priori Square, Volterra), late 1970s. Photograph, PVC from the original inflatable artwork, felt-tip pen and paint on photographic paper. 40 × 30 × 3 cm. Photograph by: Trevor Lloyd. Courtesy the Artist and ChertLüdde, Berlin.
Franco Mazzucchelli, “Volterra”, 1973. Video. Stills from the original documentation. 4’03’’. Courtesy the Artist and ChertLüdde, Berlin.