On Tuesday 19 September 2023, the A arte Invernizzi gallery opened a solo exhibition of works by Nelio Sonego. The show retraces his artistic research in the “Orizzontaleverticale” series.
Sonego’s first works with this title, which translates as “Horizontalvertical”, appeared in 2003 and were the start of a creative cycle that is still evolving today, the latest of which can be seen in this exhibition. The ultimate origin of this series, however, dates back to the early days of his career. This was in the 1980s, when works in pastel appeared with rectangular modules multiplied in a cumulative process. It was here that the open rectangle made its initial appearance. It already displayed the interweaving lines that Sonego returned to in 2003, after two decades of work to distil the artistic form into its most elemental essence.
The exhibition starts with Rettangolareverticale (2003), where the trace thickens as the lines are repeated, and the insistence on the rectangular shape appear to replicate the boundaries of the canvas, taking them to the limit. It is the pictorial space itself that is challenged in the works from 2005 onwards, as can be seen in the first room on the upper floor. Here the repetition leads to a gradual deconstruction of the rectangle and the tones become brighter. This ends in an explosion of colour that is a distinguishing feature of the latest works in the series. The main body of works in the second room dates from 2010-12: here the artist’s hand traces not so much a reflexive form within the space of the canvas as a more material, and yet also more mental, form above and beyond its space. The painting appears to spill over the edge of the support, into the space, and into that of the viewer.
On the lower floor, works dating from 2023 show a further exploration of the space of the painting, now both in a physical sense (the canvas, but also the exhibition space), and in a mental sense (the space of observation). In these recent works, Sonego varies the thickness of the canvas and the peripheral space acquires greater optical significance, once again shifting the boundaries in the relationship between trace and space.
The exhibition thus offers two levels of interpretation. On the one hand it allows us to observe the evolution of Sonego’s painting, while on the other it lets us reflect on the various solutions to a problem that the artist has always dealt with: the relationship between the trace and space. Both physical and mental.
On the occasion of the exhibition a bilingual catalogue with an essay by Davide Mogetta, reproductions of the works on display, and an updated bio-bibliographic section has been published.