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Space, energy and a centuries-old concept

Edgardo Mannucci places before us an unknown object, the abstract sculpture entitled "Idea 4/1972." We are challenged, left alone to learn what it signifies.

An evocative, lingering sense of beauty is produced by the exceptional lyricism of the sculpture. Essentially, it consists of two forms attached to the same originating base. A thin rod, delicate and flexible, spirals determinedly from left to right around its axis, the more substantial trunk winding up slowly, sinuously, right to left.

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The dynamic energy of these opposing motions acts as a stabilizer; if the two elements were going in the same direction they would surely fall over. The word "going" is intentional; so taut and tense are they, so aware of each other, our mind's eye has them still moving.

Italian abstract sculpture presents an intensely broad and exceedingly varied register. Mannucci likes to draw out curves, to accentuate the charm of the expressive line. True, he has loosened the bonds of the past to venture into the unknown, but art's long story is an unforgettable part of his heritage.

Here the taller twisting shape is of corroded metal in which openings have been cut to permit the entrance of light, whose reverberations cause the insets of blown colored glass to glisten and glimmer like huge precious jewels.Purposely or not, because of its almost barbaric majesty, this piece recalls gold ornaments found in tomb excavations of the Mycenaean bronze-age culture --nity of today.

There is at times discernible in Mannucci's work a bit of playfulness; perhaps he means only that we should not be completely subservient to rules. An artist recreates continually his universe and every day looks for unique ways to make the fantastic image become reality.

Always crucial to a spectator's original reaction is the spatial relationship between him and the sculpture. "Idea A" exerts a particularly strong response in its ascending contrary movements, their diverse manners of expansion and the cohesion between them. Mannucci has dramatized the aesthetic pleasure to be derived from perfectly equilibrated geometric impulses.

Mannucci had something to say and has said it with intelligence and sensibility. We too must feel, render ourselves present, justify our inclusion as members of this age of fresh horizons.

What is his message? Certainly the meaning will differ from viewer to viewer. As for us, we think the mental and social inspiration behind "Idea 4" was a centuries-old concept: two objects, tendencies, people, can be independent , responsive each to his inherent nature and yet be sustaining, reinforcing, and enhancing to the other.

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Recent years have seen radical changes in the vocabulary, syntax, and goals of art. New rapports are offered by the many artists who have chosen not to represent nature. Their work, besides being a declaration of personal freedom, is a manifest of confidence in our ability to perceive and understand.

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