“Art for me has always been design.”
Getulio Alviani was born in Udine on the 5 September 1939.
His training took place in architectural studios and in the field of industrial design. Between the late 1950s and the early 1960s, he turned his research to the complex relationships between construction and realisation, working in teams with sculptors, architects and designers, as well as specialised technicians and suppliers of materials, in an in-depth investigation of the cognitive and perceptual mechanisms linked to the concept of Gestalt (form).
Between 1959 and 1960, the curator of the Gallery of Modern Art in Ljubljana visited the technical workshop in Friuli, where a barely 20-year-old Alviani was working; this resulted in the artist’s first solo exhibition at the Mala Gallery in Ljubljana in 1961. The exhibition was the beginning of a path of research in the field of art, which had, until then, been a distant world: “my interest in art…was linked to the things I was doing in architecture and laboratory experiments” (in Getulio Alviani. Exhibition catalogue edited by Giacinto di Pietrantonio, GAMec Bergamo, Skira 2005). Attention to theoretical rigour and formal precision brought Getulio Alviani closer to the artistic climate that was determining one of the aesthetic turning points of the 1960s, in those years, programmed and kinetic art, of which Alviani was one of the first, most lucid and constant exponents.
He experimented during those years with light and reflective surfaces, particularly aluminium sheets: this led to the creation of Vibrating Texture Surfaces, in which the cutter modulates the surface to produce different light refractions as the angle of observation varies.
In 1962 he took part in the fundamental exhibition Arte programmata, inspired by Bruno Munari and curated by Umberto Eco for Olivetti in Ivrea, and in 1965 he was invited to the MoMA in New York for the famous exhibition curated by William Seitz, The Responsive Eye. The museum acquired one of his Vibrating Texture Surfaces in the same year.
In the years that followed, Alviani’s research would also include the study of the relationship between light, surface and space. He met and frequently spent time with Lucio Fontana, Josef Albers and Max Bill, and his research evolved over time, maintaining the same design and formal rigour, towards two-dimensional and illusory surfaces, research into three-dimensionality, but also into the refraction of colour. Interrelazione cromospeculare, a dynamic environment with walls painted in primary colours and specular steel that rotate as the user passes, was created in 1969.
An eclectic personality, as time went by Getulio Alviani would combine artistic research with interests in other fields, without ever abandoning industrial design: he was a fine collector, curator, essayist, fashion and jewellery designer, director of the painting section at the Accademia Carrara (1976-1981) and director of the Museum of Modern Art Fondazione Soto in Ciudad Bolivar (1981 – 1985).
His works are in the collections of the most important museums in Italy and around the world: MoMA and Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt in New York; Lacma Los Angeles; Kunstmuseum, Düsseldorf; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna; GNAM, Rome, Mart di Rovereto; Gamec Bergamo; Museo Madre, Naples and GAM Turin.
Getulio Alviani died in Milan on the 24th of February 2018.
centro studi archivio e ricerche getulio alviani
Getulio Alviani. Exhibition catalogue edited by Giacinto di Pietrantonio, GAMec Bergamo, Skira 2005