Gianni Colombo

(Milano, 1937 – Melzo, 1993)


Colombo studied at the Brera Academy in Milan. His first works, in 1958-59, were monochrome reliefs made of soft material which could be modified manually. Those were followed by the "Pulsating Structures," which were run off an electric motor. In 1960, with Anceschi, Boriani and De Vecchi, he founded "Gruppo T" to study the possibilities of changing the image by means of real movement. The investigation of the kinetic factor let to the designing of environments in the visual movement in which the viewer was involved and participated. For this purpose use was made of artificial light sources, direct or reflected. In 1962 Colombo took part in the organization of the international movement "Nouvelle tendance," and in 1964 he designed the first inhabitable environment using artificial light for the group's exhibition at the Louvre in Paris. He collaborated with his brother Joe Colombo in designing a number of stands for trade fairs and won a prize for design at the XIII Milan Triennial. Between 1964 and 1967 he produced various environments making use of artificial light, exchangeable structures, tactile-optical conditions of "bariaesthesia," "topoaesthesia" and "kinaesthesia," with the active participation of the viewers. He designed the Three Contiguous Zones environment and, in 1967, the After structures red, blue, green environment for the "Space of the Image" exhibition at the Palazzo Trinci, Foligno. Other environments followed, including Plastic Space, with which he began his research on the topological changes of geometrical figures. Other Colombo projects include "Chromostructures," objects in Plexiglas with lighting effects; "Sismostructures," luminous projections on vibrating mirrors; and "After Points," images produced by rhythmic flashes passing through rotating perforated screens. In 1968 he won the first prize at the XXXIV Venice Biennial. In 1969 he studied the changes of patterns obtained with electronic generators visualized on the TV picture tube and piloted with "wobbulators." NEG Bieloquence and Wobbulation was realized in collaboration with Gabriele De Vecchi for the "Eurodomus 3" exhibition in Milan. With De Vecchi he produced Aesthetic encumbrances for the "Amore mio" exhibition at Montepulciano. In recent years he has become increasingly interested in architectural design and in 1981 won the Kunst am Bau competition for a monumental construction in Berlin. He has taught architecture in Berlin and in 1983 designed a monument to the Resistance in Como. In 1984 he had an exhibition at the Padiglione d'Arte Contemporanea in Milan and a room dedicated to his work at the XLI Venice Biennial.

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