BY MARK ANDERSON
Discover the artistic fusion of braille and various materials in the captivating works created by Fulvio Morella, currently on display in Rome until 31 May, in collaboration with Gaggenau. Through the skillful combination of wood, fabric, and gold, the artist has gained renown for his innovative approach to incorporating woodturning into contemporary art.
Following its acquisition by the Braille Museum in Milan, Morella brings a collection of works to Rome that delve into the very essence of limitations. At the heart of the exhibition lies OCULUS, a remarkable chalcography paying homage to Rome and the profound human ingenuity embodied by the Pantheon. True to Morella’s artistic style, OCULUS is enhanced and “completed” by a Braille inscription, translated into French, English, and Italian, which reads, “Not always closed eyes sleep, not always open eyes see.” Additionally, showcasing his interest in the artistic process, the artist offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into this ambitious project, presenting the magnesium matrices and preparatory works created from 2021 until present alongside the final artwork.
“OCULUS” serves as a pivotal element in Morella’s contemplation of the future of human existence, drawing inspiration from the visionary philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche and the timeless virtues of Ancient Rome. Sabino Maria Frassà, the exhibition’s curator, elucidates: “Fulvio Morella has achieved a work that seamlessly integrates sight and touch, unraveling the unparalleled story of the Pantheon—a monument that has connected humanity with the heavens for millennia.
With a faithful adherence to his concept of eternal return, the artist reinterprets the reliefs by the great architect Andrea Palladio, paying homage to the pinnacle of human genius found within the Eternal City. Furthermore, the addition of gold accents in the final rendition of OCULUS bestows each multiple with uniqueness and alludes to the inner light, the true vision of knowledge, which frequently serves as the centerpiece of Morella’s artistry, where inclusivity and multisensoriality reign supreme.”
While Morella’s works instantly resonate with the public, their underlying meanings reveal intricate intellectual puzzles. Since 2019, the artist has produced Blind Wood sculpture paintings that seamlessly merge metal and wood with “Greek” braille, an alphabet elevated to the status of a graphic and decorative element. This ability to transform the ancient technique of woodturning into contemporary art has captured the attention of critics. Recently, Morella has also sought to explore other materials while maintaining a coherent artistic vision that exudes elegance and inclusivity. Through a collaboration with Lelièvre Paris, he has materialized a unique collection of textile works, with embroidered constellations adorning black fabric.
In these creations, the artist challenges the presumption that sight alone can grant a complete understanding of reality. Morella elucidates the origin of “OCULUS” with these words: “The world surrounding us is extraordinarily intricate, requiring us to immerse ourselves within it to truly grasp its essence. We are simultaneously limited and boundless beings.
Art unveils this delicate grandeur, an integral facet of our existence. Even in the darkest moments, we must recall that human brilliance has often emerged by transcending appearances. The oculus of the Pantheon acts as a window to infinity, serving as a metaphor for the possibility and necessity of perceiving beyond our physical eyes, to exist beyond and independent of our limitations.”
While the harmonious geometric shapes remain a hallmark of the artist’s style, Morella presents us with a genuine challenge—to delve beneath the surface of his works and embrace a multisensory experience that unveils what lies hidden “beyond the curtain,” with our eyes and, above all, with an open heart. By immersing ourselves in Morella’s art, we are invited to transcend mere visual perception and embark on a profound journey of discovery. It is an invitation to explore the depths of his creations, to engage our senses, and to unravel the intricate layers of meaning that lie beneath. Let us accept this invitation with open minds and receptive hearts, for in doing so, we can truly appreciate the profound beauty and boundless possibilities that Braille transformed into art presents before us.
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