Nadia Costantini
Artistic currents

Nadia Costantini was born in Mirano (Venice) in 1944, she trained at the Istituto Statale d'Arte and then at the Venetian Academy of Fine Arts, where she followed the courses of Bruno Saetti and Carmelo Zotti. In the sixties his painting was affected by the abstract-informal formation and his proposals, which were born from an emotional tension, were translated on the canvas with intense colors, vigorous signs and full-bodied matter. The result was compositions variously aimed at encroaching beyond the constraint of the space-framework, with stylistic oscillations that a posteriori must be evaluated as moments of introspective analysis, as a path necessary to identify one's own figure from which to proceed with determination. Much of these works have been lost or destroyed by the artist herself; unfortunately, let's say today, considering that those "survivors" are qualitatively interesting. In the following decade the detachment from the abstract-informal took place gradually, at intervals, beginning to rationalize the compositions with the insertion of photographic images, creating collages of faces and figures evocative of real events. In 1978 she was one of the founders of the Verifica 8+1 group, which for thirty consecutive years kept a gallery active in Venice-Mestre – with the intention of functioning as a documentation and information center, also favoring educational purposes – which has become a reference point for Italian and foreign artists engaged in the search for new languages. In the meantime, the turning point towards total rationality had matured: in fact, definitively abandoned the gestural brushstroke, the image now took shape based on geometric elements, previously studied and designed to express optical dynamisms. Then began the series of Surface Modulations, in which on compact and dark backgrounds the color, soberly organized with sign rigor, became vibrating light thanks to both tonal and contrast modulations. This production, which lasted until 1990, was followed by a first incursion into the three-dimensional with works made with sheets of soft polyethylene, conceived so that from a part left whole departed strips cut ad hoc to form different volumes. These stripes had to fall bitely into space, making it become a participatory element of three-dimensionality. Supple and apparently light were made in small and large sizes. After a long pause for reflection, the artist returned to painting in 1998 with the rhythmic "Surface Scans" – still under continuous study and development – characterized by a palette with disruptive lighting effects, in which the colors combined to enhance each other – in a relationship of light-shadow, often orchestrated by the domination of black – become a constructive element of compositions that produce illusionistic optical games; in the sense that they can give the impression of projecting elements or, on the contrary, recessed, depending on the intensity of the concentration with which they look at each other. In parallel, it resumed the creation — now carried out systematically — of three-dimensional works using plastic materials with the already experimented working method of the single sheet partially cut into strips. With more complex inventions he obtained unprecedented results of aesthetic suggestion combining in the same work the double value of two-dimensionality and three-dimensionality. These works, in fact, when they are "closed" — one could almost say "in a state of rest" — are flat and furrowed by cuts; they are those cuts that will allow them once "opened" to reach out into space, or to hover in it light and voluminous. "Cutting, uniting, grouping, tensioning, forcing bands that arise from simple geometric shapes and then freeing themselves in fluctuating spatial directions, this is the meaning of my research aimed at empathically structuring the space": this is the poetics of this artist, explained by herself. The more recent adoption of steel, polished or in a satin version, increases the amazement of the combination of volume and lightness, since these works seem even more sculpted in the air. Variously called Torsions, Surface Flows or Floating, their natural derivation from the pictorial work is evident, and the author explains it well: "as the pictorial bands moving dynamically in apparent three-dimensionality in the field of the painting give rise to complex forms, as well as the plastic material and the cut steel, also in bands, which I use as a three-dimensional artistic language, it develops in more complex and elaborate configurations than the original ones". Configurations that to be fully grasped require the observer to look at the work from several points of view, to detect how much it changes in shape, giving the impression of being more sculptures in one. Since 1968 Nadia Costantini has dedicated herself to teaching at the art institutes of Venice and Padua, where she held courses in pictorial decoration (lacquer and gilding), decorative painting (fresco and other mural techniques), drawing from life and finally visual education, becoming passionate about the latter subject and experimenting with her students works focused on optical illusions, on the ambiguities of the form, on the apparent three-dimensionality, up to the kinetic forms. To close the portrait of this artist, who lives and has her studio in the Venetian hinterland, it should be noted her shy temperament, her secluded work, which – it must be said – has not benefited a deserved notoriety of her "programmed" works, made with wise and extraordinary formal finesse. Among the exhibitions with his works to remember those in Venice at the Galleria Bevilacqua La Masa in 1969 and 1981; those in which he participated together with the artists of Verifica 8+1 in Venice-Mestre, Turin, Brescia, Bergamo, Florence, Rome, Bologna; and the most recent at PaRDeS contemporary art research laboratory in Mirano-Venice and in 2010 at the Civic Museum of Santa Caterina in Treviso.

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