The work of Massimo Bartolini (b. 1962, Cecina) conjures a particular energy between the gallery space and the viewer. Using both artificial and natural materials, he creates installations of heightened sensory intensity, interweaving sounds, images and light effects. He has created evocative spaces suffused with perfume, or others distorted by elevating the floor. Landscape is a recurring theme in his work – for the artist a landscape is a space of abstraction as much as nature, a site of meditation on permanence and impermanence. During an exhibition, the artist often transforms the gallery into a metaphorical landscape, permeated by cultural and biographical elements.
Water often features in Bartolini’s work – an element that symbolises for the artist the eternal renewal of life. Untitled (Wave) (2000), which was exhibited at MoMA PS1 and at Documenta 13, is an outdoor installation in the form of a controlled wave, constantly in motion in a confined space. Bartolini’s Dew series (2013–ongoing) are delicate abstractions, often marked by a horizon, that have a calm, almost monochrome appearance. Yet a closer inspection reveals a surface that the artist has treated with an artificial dew, giving the impression that the paint might evaporate – and the artwork transform – at any moment. Music is another recurring motif for the artist. The exhibition Four Organs (2017), at Turin’s Fondazione Merz, was devoted to a selection of Bartolini’s sculptural works that produce their own highly individual compositions.