Story, Reliefs and Lines
Alberto zilocchi was born in 1931 in Bergamo where he receives his education and graduates as a dyer chemical expert. He begins his artistic career in the field of informal painting and in the mid-50s he attends the Avant-garde of Milan. He meets Lucio Fontana, Enrico Castellani, Agostino Bonalumi and especially Piero Manzoni who meets in Paris in 1952.
Piero Manzoni, in his diary, also talks about Alberto Zilocchi, for example on pages 94, 107-108, 116.
He signs the Manifesto of the Giamaica Bar in 1957 with Piero Manzoni and other visitors of that famous Milanese cultural meeting point, including Guido Biasi, Angelo Verga, Ettore Sordini.
At the end of the 50s his artistic career is also extended in the theatrical field: in October 1959 he makes the sketches of the set scene for the piece of Rubino Profeta “THE BIRTH OF SPRING” staged at the Donizetti theatre in Bergamo.
In 1960 Zilocchi exhibits with Lucio Fontana at the Galleria della Torre of Bergamo.
In December 1959 he takes part in the second exhibition of the Galleria Azimut in via Clerici in Milan (the first collective exhibition of the gallery) together with Manzoni, Anceschi, Boriani, Castellani, Colombo, Dadamaino, Devecchi, Mari and Massironi.
In the mid-60s Zilocchi approached the Zero Group in Düsseldorf: in the field of optical kinetic tendencies, artists such as Otto Piene and Heinz Mack proclaim a total cancellation of the previous pictorial-sculptural experiences and the opening of a new space of creative freedom (a "Zero Zone").
Set aside the old expressive methods and the more usual instruments, the works of art are opened to new materials (plastic inserts, metal, reflecting surfaces) and new artistic procedures (games of lights and shadows, dynamic effects, motor devices). It is in this context that Zilocchi makes his Reliefs.
"I have always been driven by the desire to express myself through low reliefs: reliefs on boards based on complex mathematical formulas creating solids and voids.
Solids and voids not meant to represent decorative but constructive purposes, creating a contrast of forms from a surface to space. [...]"
"[...] The rigid frames fade from a maximum of a few millimetres until it reaches zero, where a dual space stands out, based on a complex mathematical formula and the other open undefined formula reaches zero.
The reliefs are inclined by thirty or sixty degrees against the surface edge on which I operate to highlight the dynamic space, the incision; the standard means by which I operate on the surface is not a cut, a laceration, a physical operation, but calculation, size, self-control: it is the negation of all instinctual experience.
The animated relief surface is covered with a non-reflective white layer. The colour is chosen for a more dynamic space depicted by my structures through the changing play of light; the hedonistic view is left out by not using colours and by neutralizing matter."
The Reliefs are monochromatic boards painted in white-opaque, with geometric extroflections a few millimetres thick that create on the surface soft shades of shadow.
"Zilocchi makes certain relationships effective and he does so with radical simplicity. The raised surfaces, with just a little shade, do not affect the underlying surface, but they highlight it giving it that sense of open space and quiet, where the movements are so delicate as to be almost imperceptible. And it is precisely in this impulse, between culture and intellectual, that the structural situation of Zilocchi is formed".
In the 70s Zilocchi took part in various exhibitions throughout Europe and embraces the North European Conceptual Concrete Constructivist Art Movement, becoming an active member of the International Centre for the Study of Constructive Art (Internationaler Arbeitskreis für Konstruktive Gestaltung) established with the founding Symposium of Antwerp in 1976. It belongs to this period the series of lines, which the artist realizes throughout the 80s.
Symposium of Antwerp (1976)
Alberto Zilocchi has exhibited mainly in Northern Europe, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Poland, England, Lapland. In fact, it has a hundred active exhibitions, most of which carried out abroad. Moreover, we should not forget that Zilocchi, having joined the neo-constructivist movement, has actively participated in their meetings and Symposiums.
The Lines are canvases applied on boards or papers (very often square), in which the background white is crossed by black lines of thickness and number variable. In each composition a starting rigid geometrical scheme is then broken by the artist according to an anomaly introduced by a random element: the launch of a dice or the drawing of lots determine the increase in length of the lines or their thickness. “chance has much more imagination than us" Zilocchi said. In fact his goal was not to introduce disorder into an orderly structure, but to approach and make a logical order and a random order dialogue between them.
"... My interest right now is focused more on the rather vague field of Concrete and Conceptual Art, where the creative process is at least as important as the final aesthetic result...".
"... embracing the Concrete Movement is the key to understanding the most recent production of the artistic life of Zilocchi after Reliefs, when taking the cue from a rigid geometric structure, he introduces the pattern of variation elements left to chance in a counterpoint between rules and disorder in which the serialisation is a way to highlight the gap between rules and its consequences on the field of vision.
The meshes with which Zilocchi creates his frames follow constant organising principles, but their frequency is related to a limited number of random choices.
In some cases, the sign is magnified as if it were a detail from another work, in others, it becomes thinner, almost a topographical dot which in turn creates another image (a blotch) ... ".
(Catalogue of the Maria Cernuschi Ghiringhelli collection at the Museum of Contemporary Art Villa Croce in Genoa, 1991)
Extracted from the folder "Ein Künstler - ein Prinzip" ("An artist - a Principle"), realized for the "Internationalen Symposions Schloß Buchberg." (International Symposium of the Castle of Buchberg "), in which also took part Alberto Zilocchi.
My contribution to the problem of identification of the terms theme concept content in objects of concrete art is represented by these two examples of composition based on the superimposition
of a random structure on an elementary logical structure. The first example is presented in a didactic way by the graphic explanation of all the phases; of the second I have chosen only the final phase since the morphological structure is more intuitive. In both cases, the intention is to create a work with a possibility of polysemantic reading which then presents a choice of reading plans for the user. It seems to me that, on an intuitive level, these projects present an easy identification of certain basic figures such as order, symmetry, variety and their respective antinomies, which helps to give an impression of ambiguity that, even if it is not in my intentions at the beginning it is however reassuring to me: ambiguity is the antidogma. (Zilocchi)