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Action and Reaction: A Conversation with Nunzio

by Laura Tansini

Installation view with Untitled, 2005, burnt wood, 300 x 445 x 545 cm. Photo: Paolo Pellion, Torino.

For more than 20 years, an inexhaustible curiosity has driven Nunzio to provoke accidents in the process of making that force him to look for different, unexplored ways of proceeding and to find new solutions. His 2005 exhibition at New Galleria Persano in Turin surprised everyone. In the huge space, he partially rebuilt two wooden cottages he brought from Croatia. His first intervention in an existing structure, this work modified the perception of space without changing its basic character. When Nunzio went to Croatia, he intended to buy old wood from derelict cottages at a cheap price. Once there, he had the inspiration to keep the basic structure of the cottages and to work inside them, converting them into works of art. He did the whole work before disassembling the cottages, transporting them to Turin, and re-assembling them inside the gallery.

Untitled, 2005. Burnt wood, 300 x 628 x 545 cm. Photo: Paolo Pellion, Torino.

Entering the gallery, viewers saw the outside of what had been the ground-floor rooms of the two cottages. Walking around them revealed the artist’s intervention. The first room was open: one wall missing, the interior burnt like Nunzio’s wood sculptures, the longest wall carved with long bent lines. The black of the burn and the dynamism of the incised lines changed the atmosphere of the space and its meaning—no longer inside a simple country cottage, we were inside Nunzio’s work. A door led into a second room, where a portion of the back wall resembled a sort of vanishing point. Here and there, fire-blackened beams leaned against the walls; taken from the roof, they testified to the metamorphosis enacted by the artist.

The re-ordered elements of this work created new perspectives, giving a bewildered view that led to emotion. Indeed, it was the emotional enchantment of the work that restored interpretational stability to an art that abstains neither from poetic abandon nor from the conceptual exactitude of persistent experimentation.

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