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Light installation ‘BLANK’ by Felice Limosani seeks to colour the world with a purpose

The Italian artist with the light installation BLANK at the Milan Design Week 2022 draws on its metaphorical meaning rather than a simple word synonymous with the void.

by Dilpreet BhullarPublished on : Jun 10, 2022

The term blank, when used as a noun, evokes the space punctuated with silence; if referred to as an adjective, it hints at the empty expression; and as a verb, it suggests disruption in the course of action: ensued by a gap. The moment marked with a blank, inexorably, suggests a need to rekindle the spark for a new beginning. The experience of the flash of a blank state of mind or an empty, invisible space is expected to fill the void. Gauging the ideas synonymous with a blank while illustrating the Japanese architect and conceptual artist Shusaku Arakawa’s works in an essay, The Arrow in The Mind, the Italian writer Italo Calvino mentioned, “Is the blank also a colour? The blank is the colour of the mind. The mind has a colour that we never see because some other colour always passes through our minds and superimposes itself on our gaze.”

The Installation BLANK in Green Light | Blank, Milan Design Week | STIRworld
The installation BLANK in green light Image: Courtesy of Felice Limosani

The words by Calvino stand as an inspiration for the light installation BLANK by Felice Limosani, created for the Targetti Foundation presented at Milan Design Week 2022. The large-scale installation can be visited at the Il Castello Art Gallery in the Brera Design District. Targetti Foundation is known to promote the intimate link between light, art, and architecture. The artist, an interpreter and innovator of digital humanities, Limosani has the term BLANK illuminated by lights as a way to let the viewers pause and experience what it means to read the term blank. At the first glance, it could be mistaken as a work of technology or meant to serve a purpose, but for Limosani the installation is not about another term. It carries a metaphorical meaning that implores one to reflect upon the way of life. The colourful play of lights around it at once invites the viewers to see how the parallel run of light changes the appearance of the floor. As if it is a suspension across the “atmosphere, aesthetics and art”.

BLANK, a digital representation of the on-site installation | Blank | Milan Design Week 2022 | STIRworld
BLANK, a digital representation of the on-site installation Image: Courtesy of Felice Limosani

In an interview with STIR, Limosani explains about his inspiration for BLANK, “Any English-Italian dictionary translates blank with the word empty, but it also refers to the colour white. Italo Calvino's incipit gives rise to other meanings that led me to reflect: is the colour of blank a faded hue devoid of consistency or an invitation to unprecedented discoveries? Is it a white space where one gets lost or is there a larger space beyond its enclosures? Is the colour of the mind that empty space that we can fill as we wish or as we should? For me, blank does not mean 'getting lost' but 'discovering'.”

Artist Felice Limosani | Blank | Milan Design Week 2022| STIRworld
Artist Felice Limosani Image: Courtesy of Massimo Listri

Limosani is known as an innovator in digital humanities who swiftly creates works at the intersection of humanities, digital culture, art and design. Towards this end, it leads to a novel way of perception, knowledge and dissemination. The sensorial play of the immersive installation BLANK emerges from his aspiration to forge a relationship of expression between visual and sensory. Limosani talks further about his work embedded in digital technology and culture, “Humanism passes through new ways of thinking that, like design, must represent something as useful and sustainable as it is aesthetic and emotional. The digital component is not only that of technologically advanced lighting or fully computerised sound presence but also wants audience interaction. Through photographs, videos, posts and comments - people become an integral part of that 'digital culture' who, through direct involvement, will move from the physical experience on-site to that of online sharing. In this dimension, art manifests itself spontaneously, creating something that was not there before.”

The Installation BLANK in Pink Light | Blank, Milan Design Week | STIRworld
The installation BLANK in pink light Image: Courtesy of Felice Limosani

Besides the presence of digital humanities, the large body of work by Limosani also reimagines the architectural spaces with their geometrical dimensions. The light if makes the invisible visible, it also shifts the trained sense perception. To give an example, the artist’s latest installation Dante the Eternal Poet is another fine reconfiguration of the classic poem The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri and digital technology, carefully installed in Brunelleschi’s Renaissance chapel. To create an immersive experience around the installation, Limosani digitalised 135 tables of the illustration of a poem by the French engraver Gustave Dorè. The walls, ceilings and the domes of the chapel were brightly illuminated with the video and image projections of the illustrations.

In Blue Light, the Installation BLANK | Blank, Milan Design Week | STIRworld
In blue light, the installation BLANK Image: Courtesy of Felice Limosani

“For me, the concept of the large-scale lives in the meaning of things, whether small or large, must be enriched by going beyond the experience of the moment. Calvino's textual labyrinths allude to the fact that every path is nourished by multiplicity, diversity and complexity which, through imagination and concreteness, lead to new realities. My work is dedicated to the supreme poet, I entitled it 'Dante, The Eternal Poet' as a wish. If his thoughts were to run out, it would be the end of love, the only technology that 'move il cielo e l'altre stelle' (Paradiso, XXXIII v. 145),” expounds Limosani.

The art installation BLANK is not to be equated with the phenomenon of tabula rasa but rather acts as a reminder of, as Limosani says, “the void is not only a physical mental and spiritual dimension, but also a white space waiting to be coloured with awareness, knowledge and humanity.”

Preview of the installation BLANK by Felice Limosani at Targetti Foundation Video: Courtesy of Studio TISS

The installation BLANK is on display at Milan Design Week, Milan until June 12, 2022.

STIR takes you on a Milanese sojourn! Experience Salone del Mobile and all the design districts - 5vie, Brera, Fuorisalone, Isola, Zona Tortona, and Durini - with us. STIR’s coverage of Milan Design Week 2022, Meanwhile in Milan showcases the best exhibits, moods, studios, events, and folks to look out for. We are also excited to announce our very own STIR press booth at Salone del Mobile - Hall 5/7 S.14, Fiera Milano RHO.

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