on the occasion of the 49th edition of the Salone Internazionale del Mobile
in collaboration with Fondazione Ermanno Casoli
LESS THAN AIR
Curated by Marcello Smarrelli
opening: Wednesday 14 April, 7 pm
until Friday 30 April 2010
Elica showroom – via Pontaccio, 10 – Milan
Wednesday 14 April at 7 pm, on the occasion of the 49th edition of the Salone Internazionale del Mobile of Milan (14-19 April 2010), Elica presents a project by Andrea Nacciarriti entitled Less Than Air. The project, in collaboration with the Fondazione Ermanno Casoli, showcasing in the Elica showroom in the Brera area, is curated by Marcello Smarrelli, artistic director of the foundation.
The idea of the project derives from the artist’s aspiration to visualize air: an element that is usually invisible, and that can be perceived only through the effects it produces, that is when it becomes wind and the pressure of its particles collides with matter. With a group of technicians of the Elica Tech Lab – the laboratory that develops research and certification for the Elica Group –, Andrea Nacciarriti carried out a series of experiments trying to give form and body to what is naturally invisible, and to formalize and make tangible the experience of air.
The attempt to make malleable and mild the behaviour of air particles has disclosed to the artist the possibility of activating air and producing a strong perception of its movements; in his work the particles function as indicators of the physical and conceptual potential of air – the most unpredictable and vital “material” there is, the one no one is untouched by.
The long phase of research and experimentation has led to the creation of several devices that will showcase in the Elica showroom. Such devices will diffuse currents of air that will modify the spectators’ perception of space, individually affecting each viewer.
“Its effects – explains Nacciarriti – are the only visible trace of the presence of air; air is one of the four elements, the one that is the basis and the origin of all things. To perceive air is just as complex as talking about it. Air is essential, yet intangible, usable but not completely governable, apparently it doesn’t exist, but it is its very presence that keeps us alive..”
The notion of air intended as arché – meaning the sole and eternal principle from which everything descends – dates back to the theories of the VI century B.C. Greek philosopher Anaximenes, who considered air the basis of all things. When air is cold, it condenses and becomes wind, cloud, water and lastly stone. When air rarefies, it dissipates and becomes fire. All natural transformations are thus explained as transformations of the air, being all things of the universe nothing but air at different levels of density. The universe is conceived by Anaximenes as a huge living organism that breathes the air in which it is immersed. Its breath is its life and its soul.
So air is more easily comprehensible as a concept than as an image. Air is that part of space that is not occupied by matter, it is the void of substance, it is an idea, it is the only dynamic presence in the seeming immobility of things, it is the other side of what is visible. With this project the artist will try to realize what is impossible, and try to tame the air. The Elica showroom will become a container of draughts, originated by the artist’s intervention and determined by the presence of the spectator, who will become part of the impossible organization of air and the receptor of its effects.