15 Sep 2016

EMILIO CAVALLINI talks to Eva Zanardi about kinetic and op art and exhibtion at GR gallery

EMILIO CAVALLINI talks to Eva Zanardi about his art and exhibtion at GR gallery

by Eva Zanardi

I have known Emilio Cavallini for over 20 years and I consider him a dear friend but you have my word that I will stay utterly objective. After all these years, I still marvel at Emilio’s boundless, irradiating energy and positivity.Always ready to praise someone, always ready to forgive, no matter what. We met in Milan in the early nineties and we immediately bonded. I instantly felt drawn in by his exuberant and gregarious personality. At that point, Emilio was at his peak fame as a fashion designer and he hired me as a model for many of his whimsically original fashion shows. Needless to say we had a ball. I have always known that he personally created and designed his groundbreaking pantyhose patterns, something that set him apart from all the other fashion designers. One day, I had the privilege of observing him at work, in his studio/laboratory. Emilio, with the help of applied mathematics, was creating perfectly interlocking patterns out of stubborn lines and shapes that didn’t want to collaborate. Like a mad scientist, Cavallini was guiding and submitting chaos into order. The resulting art works are at once muscular yet ethereal, their beauty lies both in their objective elegance and grace and in their deeper conceptual strive of trapping the infinite in the finite. It was then that I understood how he channeled his peculiarly boundless energy. When talking about Emilio’s work, it’s simply unchallenging to find analogies with the great mythological weavers like Penelope, wife of Odysseus and her genial ruse, the Three Parcae, the personifications of destiny, Ariadne’s thread and the Minotaur labyrinth, etc.… In those ancient myths the thread always appears as a metaphor for the act of connecting and disconnecting, a tool to control and release chaos. In continuing this narrative, Emilio Cavallini uses his threads as a leash to connect with, trap, tame and finally crystallize chaos/energy. Simply put, Emilio makes energy tangible.

  1. EZ) I would like to start our conversation by asking about the title of your exhibition at GR gallery New York: Harmony Runs On A Thread” Could you tell us how this title came about and what you mean by it?
  2. EC) The title of the show derives from the idea that the thread  represents  the  quest  for harmony, beauty and symmetry which, according to the laws of mathematics  that  govern  shapes  and  patterns, materializes beyond time and reality. I see my works as the materialization of an abstract music symphony transformed  into  an  actual object.
  1. EZ) In the past 10 years we have seen a worldwide comeback of Kinetic and Op art, do you have an explanation for this phenomenon? Having experimented for years with both, do you have an “insider view” on why lately the public seems to be receptive and responsive to these movements?
  2. EC) Kinetic and Optical art are not really coming back: they never went away. They exist as the visual outcome of the prolific conversation between art and science. They both focus on the direct observation of nature and the geometric principle of optics and perspective and on the latter’s evolution through time. In my Optical work, by creating a sort of perceptive instability, I stress the infinite combinations of reality and how our observation of them shapes my artwork. I try to distract the focal point from the objects themselves to the complex relationship between them.

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