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Grazia Varisco

Schema luminoso. Variabile 3D, 1964

Wood, Perspex, adhesive tape, fluorescent tube, electric motor

50 x 50 x 7,5 cm

© Artist

Photo: Gerhard Sauer


Among the artworks at the now legendary exhibition Arte programmata. Arte cinetica, opere moltiplicate, opera aperta, mounted in 1962 at the showrooms of the Milanese typewriter company Olivetti, was Grazia Varisco’s first motor driven lumino-kinetic work. Several years prior to that, while still a student at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, she had produced material pictures and assemblages done in plain colours, in which she already worked with the effects of light and shade on various surfaces, such as corrugated card. Thanks to a grant from Olivetti, she was subsequently able to realize an elaborate box object, incorporating light sources and moving elements, which gave plastic form to the idea of a “living space”. As a member of Gruppo T, a group of young avant-garde artists who strived to tune in to the advances made by science and technology, Varisco also focused in her work on space and time – grasped as permanently changeable factors – as well as on human perception.


With her series of works under the title Schemi luminosi, Grazia Varisco created a number of luminescent boxes which produce a rotating image that changes, like a kaleidoscope, through shifting grids and superimposed elements. The light and the movement prompt visual perceptions of a complexity that incite the viewer to see in an active and aware manner. Schema luminoso. Variabile 3D [Luminous pattern. Variable 3D] from 1964 consists of a circular disc with a black angular pattern that is set in motion inside its case by a motor. The front of the construction is closed in by a pane of acrylic glass bearing the same pattern. When set in rotation, the patterns produce ever-new structures that give the impression of a space billowing out gently or more strongly. The contrast between the background lit up by a fluorescent tube and the black lines in the foreground allows a profound sense of spatial depth to open up. Space, light and movement unite into a fascinating image that changes with every blink of the eye.


Grazia Varisco

1937 born in Milan

Lives and works in Milan