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
Frank Costalonga - Programmed ArtProgrammed or Kinetic Art is an international art movement that has left an indelible mark on 20th-century art. Umberto Eco uses the term "Programmed Art" to present the historic exhibition at the Olivetti in Milan in 1962, organized by Bruno Munari. The great critic Giulio Carlo Argan calls it "arte gestaltica", while Lea Vergine will definitively establish its importance in Italy by describing it as the Last Vanguard, in the eponymous retrospective at the Royal Palace in Milan in 1984. The Programmed or Kinetic Art but also optical art have a common genesis: they arise from the innovative study, by artists, of the mechanisms of vision, optical and bright phenomena, in line with scientific advances from the post-war period onwards. All over the world, both informal and abstraction in painting no longer satisfy the search for young artists. Looking at Marcel Duchamp, Futurism - or more recent experiences such as the research of Bruno Munari,who already in the 1930s made "Useless Machines", and published the Manifesto of mcchinism in 1952 - we want to be able to create works that really involve the viewer, visually but also psychologically, and definitively overcome the concept of art as representation and expression: finally art becomes experience, and then it will be even environment. No in secondary importance, it is also the push of new artists to work in groups, so aggregations of artists are born who try to overcome the individualism of the figure of the artist: in Italy the first will be the MAC – Concreta Art Movement (formed around Munari himself) and later Group T in Milan and Group N in Padua. Important for Italian artists will be the experience of Azimuth, gallery and magazine animated by Piero Manzoni and Enrico Castellani. Although they are not expressly part of the movement, the innovative, monochrome, anti-figurative works of the two artists – along with those of their neighbours such as Agostino Bonalumi and Dadamaino, will be very important to pave the way for the experimentation of the Programmed Art. The Kinetic or Programmed Art movement is established thanks to contemporary ferments all over the world: Group T in Milan, Group N in Padua, GRAV in Paris, Group Zero in Dusseldorf. In America the trend is called Optical Art or Op-Art (as opposed to Pop-art, which dominated the scene in the 1960s). In Zagreb the movement finds a supporter in the critic Marko Mestrovic, who organizes the international events "Nova Tendencije"(New Tendency),in which all young Italian artists participate. Not only Enzo Mari, Manzoni, Bonalumi and Castellani, but also Getulio Alviani will be among the most active Italians in "Nova Tendencije", which will also become an international movement. Alviani'sworks, using the treated aluminum sheet, look for continuous visual tensions between reflection, visual ambiguity, apparent movement, light and vibration, using as a "motor" the visual interaction of the metal with the viewer's gaze. Marina Apollonio also joined the movement in 1965, encouraged by the encounter with Alviani, and as the latter uses modern industrial materials, to create structured works that transform into dynamic surfaces (metallic reliefs to alternating chromatic sequences) or that seek the apparent movement with optical geometric effects (Circular Dynamics). In Milan, the Arte Programmata is well represented by Group T, founded by Davide Boriani and Gabriele De Vecchi, to which Gianni Colombo, Giovanni Anceschi and finally Grazia Varisco are added. The group's first exhibition , Miriorama 1 , was in 1960 at the Pater Gallery (Gallery where Paolo Scheggi and Vanna Nicolotti will also exhibit at that time, with their three-dimensional canvases of several overlapping floors). Group T presents works in motion, consisting of mechanisms that animate them, without any representative intent. Colombo uses motors to move its surfaces; in those of Anceschi is the colored liquid that flows in tubes that can be moved by the hands of the viewer; while Boriani's magnetic surfaces use magnets and iron dust to get the work moving. Grazia Varisco creates works moved by mechanical motors and internal luminescence (variable light schemes) and structures in mobile industrial materials animated by multifaceted glass that breaks down its shapes. From the idea of work in motion through visual effects we then move to works that actually move on their own, or sometimes - in open break with the past - the viewer is asked to operate them directly with their own hands. Frequent exchanges and co-operations in exhibitions are with the N Group of Padua, formed shortly after Group T, by young people from architectural and industrial design studios: Alberto Biasi,Ennio Chiggio, Toni Costa, Edoardo Landi, Manfredo Massironi. They too embrace the new concept of art and are particularly active in popularizing it (for example, bringing to Padua the exhibition "The new artistic conception", by the Azimuth Gallery, in 1960), and accentuate the importance of the conceptual approach: the exhibition "No one is invited to take part" is a striking example. From Group N, the personality of Alberto Biasi,the group's animator, emerges that addresses in his works the themes of kineticism and visual perception, among the first works the "Trame", in which he studies the interference of the movement of the gaze on layered surfaces, and the "Optical-dynamic reliefs", lamelular structures with contrasting chromaticisms that "activate" thanks to the interaction with the viewer, who moves makes active use of a work in consequent optical movement. Edoardo Landi instead seeks the involvement of the viewer with the optical stimulation given by geometric and elementary forms, excellent examples of Optical compositions for a research that will continue even in the 70s. The Italian painting is complemented by figures who also operate in other cities, such as Franco Costalonga who conducts an in-depth research on optical effects in the work, as in chromokinetic objects in which he will experiment with countless combinations with the use of spherical mirrors. Costalonga participated in the founding of the "Dialettica delle tendenze" and "Verifica 8+1" groups with other Venetian artists in line with the international trend of Programmed Art in the 1960s. The success for the Programmed Art is evidenced by the exhibition of the same name in 1962 at the Olivetti store in Milan, then repeated at the company's headquarters in New York and at the 4th Biennale of San Marino (titled Beyond the Informal) in 1963, and will be definitively sanctioned with the incredible success of the exhibition The Responsive Eye,organized in 1965 by the MoMa in New York (180,000 visitors), in which almost all Italian exponents were exhibited, from Enrico CasteIlani to Getulio Alviani,from Group T to Group N, along with the greatest international artists from Josef Albers to Victor Vasarely. Tags: Programmed Art - Kinetic Art - Optical Art - Agostino Bonalumi - Getulio Alviani - Manfredo Massironi - Alberto Biasi - Franco Costalonga - Vanna Nicolotti - Kinetism - Chromokine Object - Victor Vasarely - The Responsive Eye - Concrete Art Movement - Grav - Group Zero - Bruno Munari
Frank Costalonga - Analisi di Mercato
April 2020. The demand for Franco Costalonga's works is quite constant and is concentrated mainly in "cylinders" and " chromokinetic objects ". In recent years the prices of the works for sale of Costalonga have had a constant increase, but do not reach high values for the most disparate causes, first of all the preponderance of a strictly local market with many works present in the gallery and secondary auction houses. This is a real shame given the genius and pleasantness of the works. To have a term of comparison, the cylinders of 30x30 cm are sold at a price of just under € 2,000 while the chromokinetic objects of 50x50 cm are sold at the price of about € 7-8,000.
December 2021. With the mitigation of the anti-Covid-19 measures and therefore with the attendance of the gallery by collectors as well as with the restoration of the trade fairs we are witnessing a growing interest in the works by Costalonga for now focused mainly on chromokinetic objects. Currently the prices are still constant but with a tendency to grow. So the time is right to invest in the works of Costalonga
Tags: Franco Costalonga - Costalonga - chromokinetic object - cylinders
Frank Costalonga - Contributi
An embroidered phrase by Boetti "Things are born from necessity and chance" is well suited to Costalonga's works called"Cromokinetic Object". The characteristic of these works is not the reflection of the hollow and chromed hemisphere, but the colored cylinder inserted in it whose reflection causes a shape of two bands of opposing colors that resemble an airplane propeller and that rotate, enlarge and shrink depending on the movement of the viewer. As Franco Costalonga recounted, he discovered by chance the effect of the cylinder when one day by chance he realized that a pencil resting on a hemisphere caused variable reflections depending on its position. From here to introduce the cylinder into the hemisphere the step was short: thus the chromokinetic objectswere born.
Tags: Franco Costalonga - Costalonga - chromokinetic object