Sergio Lombardo | 1/9 UNOSUNOVE

Sergio Lombardo | 1/9 UNOSUNOVE

curated by Simone Zacchini
01 oct 2018 – 01 nov 2018

Sergio Lombardo’s (Rome, 1939) second show at 1/9unosunove gallery presents to the public a substantial series of work formed after the artist’s recent experiments with Stochastic Paintings.

These are loosely based on Stochastic Tiling, in which the painting surface is made from a minimal, complete, and compact combination of tiles created by stochastic form-generating algorithms. The series presented here comes from this exploration of Tiling, called Quilting, in which forms are created using a combination of solely black and white stochastic tiles.

Next to some of the larger-sized compositions already presented at the Mudima Foundation in Milan last March, Quilting presents never before seen work in a smaller format. Unlike larger paintings, these new canvases are more fragments that appear random and incomplete on their own, but that potentially have an infinite number of possibilities.

The composition’s algorithms are similar to those used by Sergio Lombardo on works of a larger scale, but here the psychoactive potential of the form is enhanced by how the tiles are assembled, as the viewer’s field of vision is drawn to a surface made by a collection of images.

The pattern of each tile is even more striking with the use of black and white and is able to expand in four directions while allowing for a variety of combinations. This lends the work a “compressed” feel that activates a different response in the viewer than the sense of “vastness” created by big canvases.

The show can therefore be viewed as a fitting complement to the Mudima Foundation’s exhibition, and also as the latest evolution in theoretical research, as published in the catalogue Sergio Lombardo.

Stochastic Works 2012-2017 (Mudima, 2017) Artist and psychologist, Sergio Lombardo is among the major Italian artists who have reinvented the international artistic landscape since the end of the 50s. In his long career, beginning with his first Monochromes in 1958 which were characterized by a sort of programmed discontinuity, Lombardo has developed various types of work based on experimental methods and scientific study: Monocromi (Monochromes, 1958-1961); Gesti Tipici (Typical Gestures, 1961-1963); Uomini Politici Colorati (Politicians in Color, 1963-1964); Supercomponibili (Supercomposables, 1965-1968); Sfere con sirena (Spheres with a Siren, 1968-1969); Progetti di Morte per Avvelenamento (Project of Death by Poison, 1970-1971); Concerti di Arte Aleatoria (Concerts of Random Art, 1971-1975); Specchio Tachistoscopico con Stimolazione a Sognare (Tachistoscopic Mirror with stimulation to Dream, 1979); Pittura Stocastica e Pavimenti stocastici (Stochastic Painting and Stochastic Tilings, from 1980 to present date); Mappe minimali (Minimal Maps, 1996-2002). At the beginning of the 60s, Sergio Lombardo was one of the major players, along with other artists from the so-called “School of Piazza del Popolo”, of the historic, international avant-garde and Italian pop art. The work that followed, distancing itself from painting, appeared incoherent from a stylistic point of view when considering what preceded it, but it is possible to notice a progression if both are seen from a “theoretical evolution” lens, which Lombardo fully developed in the Seventies. At this time, his studies centered on Jartrakor and the Rivista di Psicologia dell’Arte. During this decade, through diverse devices and experimental methods, Lombardo studied aesthetic limits and the potential of perception as well as the role of the subconscious, offering a new take and interpretation on art based on the principles of spontaneity, expressive abstinence, and structuralism. On the basis of these reflections, Lombardo returned to painting and, until the beginning of the Eighties, worked on that which he defined Stochastic Paintings: a particular form of painting in which, through the creation of experimental procedures, the artist constructs evocative forms that are not based on brilliant and irrational inspiration, but on random algorithms designed by Sergio Lombardo himself. Over time, he honed his craft, inventing a variety of mathematical methods to generate “nonsense shapes” similar to the SAT, TAN, or RAN models. These create different perceived structures and offer the viewer a range of visual interpretations for the meaningless forms painted on canvas. Not coincidentally, among all the series of work which Lombardo used to test his theories, Stochastic Paintings received a majority of his attention for the longest period. Even now, he continues to focus on this series, as seen by his exhibition. More recently, this methodological experimentation has evolved in the aforementioned Tiling (Quilting), which takes on a series of experimental projects from the Stochastic Tiles from the Eighties and Nineties in order to make them even more complex and further enhance their evocative and suggestive nature. Clearly, this type of work has led to new problems regarding the composition’s aesthetics, combinations, and determination of colors to use for the forms that Lombardo had investigated in the context of eventualism. This called for testing new Stochastic procedures to create the forms, as seen on display in Quilting. Sixty years after his Monochromes, which were presented at his last show at 1/9unosunove and to which a recent volume was dedicated (Sergio Lombardo. Monocromi 1958-1961, Silvana Editoriale, 2018), these new pieces demonstrate that the work of Sergio Lombardo is still strong and continues to be cohesive with the principles of eventualism that have shaped his whole career.

Via degli specchi,