Born in Padua in 1937, Alberto Biasi is one of the foremost exponents of kinetic art in Italy, as well as a co-founder of the Gruppo N, which included Ennio Chiggo, Toni Costa, Edoardo Landi and Alfredo Massironi. The optical-dynamic experiments the group realised between its creation in 1959 and dissolution in 1967 led to Biasi being exhibited alongside Enrico Castellani and the Nine Tendencije movement in Zagreb, making him one of the instigators of the movement of Arte Programmata (‘Programmed Art’).
Biasi’s first series of works, entitled Trame was constituted of cotton gauzes, metal wires and perforated cardboard overlaid to create wefts through which light would filter in a constellation-like effect that changed in relation to the viewer. Taking this relationship between the artwork and the spectator even further, Biasi started making his Oggetti Ottico-Dinamici in the early1960s – thin strips of PVC radiating from a central point and twisting equidistantly towards a geometric wooden frame. As the suspended object vacillates and the spectator moves around it, the immobile strips become animated with morphing geometric shapes. Thus the artist elaborated the concept he called ‘virtual kineticism’, and which he would explore throughout his career, particularly in his Rilievi Ottico-Dinamici, where the plastic strips are attached over a painted and later even patterned and printed surface to create ever-more intriguing works.
A great innovator, this multi-faceted artist also created Ambienti (‘Environments’), immersive installations with light and colour that blur the senses, creating a feeling of visual, spatial and temporal instability for the spectator. These include works Light Prisms, an installation from 1962 with light, prisms and motors that was exhibited at the Venice Biennale two years later. Biasi’s experiments with kineticism continued after the dissolution of the Gruppo N with the Politipi – a complex extension of his optical-dynamic works comprising actual moving parts.
As well as 12 exhibitions with the Gruppo N including The Responsive Eye at the MoMA in New York and numerous solo shows, Biasi’s work was presented at the Venice Biennale, the Sao Paulo Art Biennial, the Rome Quadriennale and most recently in the AZIMUT/H Continuità e nuovo exhibition at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in 2014.