Franco Mazzucchelli
A. on A.
ChertLüdde, Berlin
27 October 2023 – 3 February 2024
Coinciding with A. to A. at Klosterfelde Edition

ChertLüdde and Klosterfelde Edition are pleased to present an exhibition by Franco Mazzucchelli (b. 1939, Milan) in two chapters, A. on A. and A. to A., across both gallery locations in Berlin. Stimulating continuous spatial research and including the observers through physical participation, the exhibition offers an engaging overview of the Italian maestro’s extensive works.

Over the course of his decades-long practice, several generations have been involved in his artistic interventions, one example among the most recent being the Art on Art (A. on A.) series on view at ChertLüdde.

This selection of works, produced from 2010 onwards, includes modified pieces taken from three inflatable sculptures that were part of a public intervention in Cremona at Museo Civico Ala Ponzone in 2010. Made of PVC, the sculptures temporally became part of the urban fabric by encouraging the rather eager public to touch them, scribble on them, decorate them, and leave traces of their personal lives, thus transforming them into testimonies of collective existence.

Now hung indoors, the graffitied PVC works become evidence of people’s participation. Their signatures and marks act as traces of their temporary interactions, allowing the audience to become collaborators of Mazzucchelli’s artistic events which have literally been produced and signed by many hands. This series directly highlights the importance of the audience in a more general artistic discourse.

At ChertLüdde, guests can use markers provided by the gallery to draw on Mazzucchelli’s White Cone (2019) dissecting the gallery space.

The interactive aspects have been a core element of Mazzucchelli’s research since the 1960s when he first started exhibiting his PVC sculptures of various forms and sizes in urban and natural spaces or on bodies of water, in Italy and abroad. 

At Klosterfelde Edition, a selection of work from the 1970s is preserved in frames containing deflated fragments of PVC and photographic documentation of the sculptures during their respective interventions. Titled Art to Abandon (A. to A), these interventions shaped Italian public art while simultaneously reflecting the country’s technical and industrial advancements experienced in the late 20th century. Particularly noteworthy are the editions featuring elements from his 1971 intervention at Milan’s Alfa Romeo factory. During the factory lunch break, Mazzucchelli distributed his PVC sculptures, which subsequently caused the workers to engage with the inflatables. Many of the participants ended up returning late for work because of the impromptu event, causing a temporary delay in the production line. This moment of leisure and jubilation seems to oppose the tedium of the production chain, offering a loophole that becomes a political gesture.

At Klosterfelde Edition, Mazzucchelli’s artworks are also in dialogue with works by Hanne Darboven, Lara Favaretto, and Matt Mullican.

Together, the exhibition across two venues in Berlin surveys Franco Mazzucchelli’s practice through close consideration of the effect of art and how to invite a wider audience into artistic production and discourse. 

Artist Bio

Franco Mazzucchelli (b. 1939, Milan) lives and works in Milan. He was professor of Techniques of Sculpture at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan. His works have been shown in historical exhibitions, including the 15th Milan Triennale (1973), the 37th Venice Biennale (1976), and the 11th Rome Quadrennial (1986).

Known for his pioneering experimentation with synthetic materials in the 1960s, as well as his large-scale, public spatial installations that disrupted the quotidian conventions of local inhabitants, Franco Mazzucchelli has produced a decades-spanning, prolific body of work that extends to this day. His most well-known series A. to A. (Art to Abandon) consists of inflatable sculptures made of PVC that were at first abandoned in lakes and deserts before being left in public spaces across Italy such as squares, schools, and factories. The works temporally became part of the urban fabric, and the contact with passers-by activated their unexpected social roles: the public did not passively admire the artworks but was rather keen to touch them, move them around, play with them, and take them away. 

His later series, Bieca Decorazione, which translates to “pure decoration”, are works that, unlike their ephemeral A. to A. predecessors, reference their objecthood and the art market. A statement against the commercialization of art that seems at first to contradict itself, the Bieca Decorazione series relies on context and history for its value beyond mere commodity.

His inflatable sculptures and spatial installations have been displayed in several locations in Italy and abroad, such as Alfa Romeo Factory, Milan; the Fine Art Academy of Brera, Milan; Sforza Castle, Milan; Piazza dei Priori, Volterra; Bergamo; Varese; Lake Como; Camargue.

His works have been exhibited at MACRO –  Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome, Rome; Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz; Cité de l’Architecture, Paris; ArtScience Museum, Singapore; Kunsthalle Wien, Wien; Konsthall Lund, Lund; Center for Art and Media – ZKM, Karlsruhe; nGbK, Berlin; Museo del Novecento, Milan; Triennale di Milano, Milan; Villa Croce, Genova; among others.

Franco Mazzucchelli won the Alfredo d’Andrade 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award.