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Piero Fogliati

6 April - 1 May 2021 | EXTENDED UNTIL MAY 15TH | Osart Gallery, Milan and Artsy Online Viewing Room


“After finishing my military service I went to work in a body shop with the idea of learning how to form and shape sheet metal. That was when my ideas began to become clearer; what I wanted to do was replace the material that I used for painting – pigments – with another, technological, medium.”


- Piero Fogliati




Osart Gallery is delighted to present a solo show devoted to the Piedmontese artist Piero Fogliati (1930-2016).

Piero Fogliati was unique as an artist in that he succeeded in using elementary ‘fragments of technology’ to create complex machines that temporarily produce inconceivable magical effects of sound and light.

These are sculptural machines that intrigue and perplex the observer when they are inactive, transforming themselves in a poetically spectacular and unpredictable manner. His sculptures/installations, designed from the 1960s on, accompany us in the discovery of surprising spectacles that Fogliati himself defined as ‘garments placed on scientific objects’. These works, which were hand-crafted by the artist, once activated succeed in triggering an interaction that engages both work and observer, so that the sound-vision spectacle fuses with the emotions and memories of every one of us. 

A series of drawings are also on display, to better explain the creative process and the perfection of Fogliati’s work. On the one hand these illustrate the design and creation of his sculptures/installations, while on the other hand they also highlight his incredible imagination in surprising new images. These images recall the Città Fantastica, the Fantastic City projected in his mind, filled with the very works that are now actually on display inside the gallery.


Fogliati’s works jump out of the frame to occupy the space, involving light, sound and movement. The project of the Fantastic City was carried forward for decades; although it was never actually realised on environmental scale, it was conceived to enter the urban space, comprising lights, sounds, water and atmospheric events.

For this very project Fogliati imagined a light that could colour the rain as it fell. It had to be a white light that would be broken down into its chromatic components when it illuminated the movement of objects. This was how what he called ‘Fantastic light’ or ‘Synthetic light’ came into being. Then these studies on light gave rise to works such as the Svolazzatore cromocangiante (Chromoiridescent Flutterer), the Prisma meccanico(Mechanical Prism), the Rivelatore Cromocinetico (Chromokinetic Detector), and Reale virtuale (Real Virtual). The Ermeneuti (Hermeneuts) and the Fleximofoni (Fleximophones) also derive from the projects for the Fantastic City and are linked to that of the  Auditorium a rumore (Sound Auditorium), capable of correcting and filtering the sounds of the city.

Another of Fogliati’s dreams was that of creating a rotating body suspended in the void: this idea led to Euritmia Evoluente (Evolving Eurythmic), consisting of a ring hanging in the air which, through the energy imparted by movement, twists in the air like a beam of white light until the movement is stopped. 

Finally, the Macchina che respira (Breathing Machine) and the Ditteri (Dipterans) recreate the movements belonging to the world of living organisms. Here it is not a question of imitating life, but of taking some of its characteristic aspects and giving them to machines, which thus come alive.


All the works on display involve the viewer at multisensory level. They move, vibrate and change depending on the light or the movement of the air; they breathe and they make sound. Fogliati’s utopian machines come to life, and succeed in arousing the most unexpected wonder.

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