Frank Costalonga
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Franco Costalonga (Venice, 1933).

He began his training as a self-taught, attending only later, as a private individual, the local School of Art, where he followed the teachings of Remigio Butera. After making his debut as an engraver and etcurrist, obtaining the first prize at the 50th Collective of the Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation in Venice, he approached painting, elaborating a vast series of paintings, characterized, in a subtle chromatic modulation focused on the scales of reds and pinks, by the free and aerial expression of elegant graphisms of mediated Lycinian and Wolsian matrix. In the second half of the sixties, after becoming part of the Dialectic Group of Trends, Costalonga will then be elaborating, through the use of new materials, the original tensioned surfaces, generating three-dimensional shapes. These new procedures will later lead him to approach Bruno Munari, president of the "Sette-Veneto" group, in connection with the Sincron Operations Center of Brescia, directed by Armando Nizzi, thus deepening his interests in new kinetic-visual experiences. For these new creations, in 1967 Costalonga was awarded at the 55th Collective of the Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation, while the following year, one of his works "Cromo-kinetic Object-sphere" of plexiglass will become part of the Guggenheim Collection. Visual operator also active in the field of furniture and design, Costalonga has obtained numerous awards in these sectors.

After experimenting with all the possible combinations of spherical mirrors, with which he participated in the 1970 edition of the Venice Biennale, in 1973 the Venetian artist conceived a new element: a small cylinder whose top was cut at 45 ° and colored. First as single units and later assembled into modules of sixty-four, these simple elements gave life to geometric representations, whose shapes changed in chromatic intensity in correspondence with the interaction of the user with the work and the action of light on the chromatic surface. The "Painting objects on brightness gradients", this is their name, expanded the field of application of chromatic research - whose theoretical relevance is fundamental for Costalonga - being able to have an almost unlimited programming of their combinations. The subsequent expansions (otherwise called "Modular Destructurations"), opposed instead, to the modular and regular system of the modules, a fragmentary and peripheral use of the cylinder that responded to the expressive freedom of the artist.

At the same time as the cine-visual experimentation, in the seventies Franco Costalonga elaborated, always starting from a single modular element, first the "Helical structures" and later the "Structures on symmetry movements", conceived as a set of flexible or rigid plastic components, combined in a geometric texture with an upward orientation.

In the meantime, he has participated extensively in national and international exhibitions including: the XI Quadriennale in Rome in 1966, the traveling exhibition The Arts Council of Great Britain in Venice in the same year; Trigon 71 - Urban Intermediate in Graz. In 1972 he took part in the exhibition Grands et Jeunes d'aujourd'hui - Art cinetique-Peinture-Sculpture at the Grand Palais in Paris, in 1974 at the InternationaIe Kunstmesse-Art5 in Basel and in 1976 in the exhibition Comtructivismo at the Universidad Central in Caracas. Subsequently, starting from 1978, he joined the 8+l Verification Center in which, during the eighties, he deepened his research characterized by the use of reticular plastic material to generate movements and variations in symmetry. In 1986 he was invited to the Art-Science-Color section of the XLII Venice Biennale.

In 1990, after a long period of inactivity, Franco Rossi, to whose gallery the artist had already been linked in the past, provided the starting point for a new realization that involved the help of small circular mirrors hung with a thread of nailon inside colored geometric structures. Moving randomly, due to the effect of the air, the "Moving mirrors" reflect the light and color of the sides inside the structure.

Still in the context of the movement, but this time on the side of the active participation of the user with the work, the "Tensoforme" are born, composed of an openwork sheet and an elastic fabric, on which it is possible to intervene by modifying the surface through a magnet placed on the back of the panel.

In the early nineties Costalonga reconsidered metalized PVC again by adapting it, in thin sheets, on the uniformly lined surface of a rigid support. In this way he creates the "Pseudo-reliefs" where the light (possibly grazing) has a fundamental role: in contact with the mirror sheets it produces an area of light reflection and a shadow area which circumscribes a deceptive relief.

Also for the "Riflex" was used, albeit in small fragments, the pvc lamellar material; placing it on the support with a criterion of thickening and rarefaction obtained solutions of chromatic-luminous refraction of great effectiveness.

With the "Structuring" and the "Destructuring" Costalonga returns to deal, after many years, only with the painted surface: it intervenes with the airbrush to reproduce geometric structures that in a second phase deconstructs.

The most recent results of the experimental research, in addition to the "Mokubi2", which are the latest three-dimensional variants of the "Picture Objects", are the "Extreme Consequentials" and the "Modular Curves (Mokurve)". The first, made with high-vacuum metalized thermoplastic material, result from the cleaning of the molds of the cylinders assuming random shapes; the latter are obtained instead from the concatenable and modifiable set of curved modular elements. Further evolution was finally made to the "Mokubi" with the term "Mokudue s." These are modular elements placed on a triangular lattice that when assembled visually render the appearance of a cube in axonometry. The painted surfaces of the individual faces create an additional vibration that further enlivens the overall image.

The last few years have been marked by important exhibitions, at the Castle of Ljubljana, at the Matalon Foundation in Milan, at the National Library of Cosenza, at the f.22 Modern Art Gallery studio in Palazzolo sull'Oglio where in 2008 he presented "Forty years of visual research" and at the Santa Caterina Museum in Treviso.

Since the two thousand years he has also been present in exhibitions on international kineticism such as "Le Parc, Garcia Rossi, Demarco and other testimonies of kineticism in France and Italy", Rome and Spoleto, "Kineticism forty years later", Turin, "Alberto Biasi, Testimonies of kineticism and programmed art in Italy and Russia, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, "Kineticism from the origins to today", Zagreb and "Kinetického", National Museum of Modern Art in Prague.

In 2002 thechromokinetic ball object purchased by Peggy Guggenheim was exhibited at the exhibition "Themes and Variations, Post-war Art of the Guggenheim Collections", Venice, and in 2007 in Verona in the exhibition "Peggy Guggenheim, a love for sculpture".

Franco Costalonga dies on 19 June 2019

Tags: Franco Costalonga - Costalonga - cylinders - painting object on brightness gradients - pseudirilievi - riflex - kinetics - chromokinetic object