The complex universe of Fabro came into our home with this piece conceived in 1964 and realised in 1969. The work consists of a grid of polished stainless steel pipes. The other examples (all "unique", in a very limited edition) belonging to this series all differ from each other, either in the type of metal used, or the final form of the grid that is "cut" by the artist, at entirely different points in the metallic structure. In fact, in the centre, one or two horizontal bars are always cut in half. The entire structure then appears "distorted" by the traction exercised at its vertices. Fabro's aim was to see the "sense" that a material takes, when it changes from one form to another. "In order to achieve this sense", Fabro explains, "the two forms must be compresent and the new form must seem as though unresolved by the previous memory". I interpret it as the forms settling, preserving the memory of their origin.
In any case, when we acquired this beautiful and rare work, we were immediately fascinated by its capacity to "hold" the space and by the lightness that it managed to impress upon it, through its linear structure. In addition, the refraction of the light, on the polished steel pipe, creates an interesting play of light/shade according to the position of the source of the lighting. In electric lighting, the phenomenon is highlighted even more, because the shadow of the grid is projected onto the wall in a doubling effect of the metal structure, which amazes and intrigues at the same time.
We have always thought, and still do, that no work by Fabro ever leaves the viewer indifferent: in each of his structures he leaves something powerful, that stems from his strong personality, from his complex linguistic approach, from his desire "to exert an influence" on the reality of things and the material.
'Just as a bent piece of iron expresses the force that was exerted on it, just like a thrown stone gives a centre to the borders of a puddle, a finger indicates the direction of a gaze; in the same manner, we move in space by means of solicitations of impressions’
(Luciano Fabro cited in Luciano Fabro, exh. cat.Tate Gallery, London 1997, p. 12).
Luciano Fabro’s art is founded on the premise that the artist should not posit any fictional or illusionary realities but rather facilitate an understanding of life by highlighting the nature of reality as it already exists. Proceeding from the aesthetical view that material ultimately determines its own spatial form, Fabro declared that ‘the artist is always the person who is at hand to enable things to go to the right place - not to assign a place to them, because they already have their place.’ In early works like Struttura Ortogonale (Orthogonal Structure) he aimed to awaken the viewer to an objective awareness of this inherent magic lying within such simple elements as space and material. He wanted, he said, ‘to show the viewer how to read the experience, the things themselves. (Luciano Fabro quoted in Luciano Fabro, exh. cat., Tate Gallery, London 1997, p. 12.)
Towards this end he began what he described as a ‘new experiment on the logical organization of the form as a consequence of dynamic processes and the appreciation of the same dynamic processes’ by applying certain structures to a degree of ‘dynamic stress’ in such a way that they revealed these processes upon themselves in an especially clear way. (Luciano Fabro, In Vademecum, exh. cat., Milan, 1965, unpaginated) Struttura Ortogonale conceived in 1964 and executed in 1969 is a simple orthogonal grid made of stainless steel which has had several of its central bars cut halfway through and which has then been pulled apart to reveal the forces of traction acting upon itself. ‘I took a metal grille’, Fabro said, ‘cut one or more transverse rods in half and then deformed it by pulling on its ends. I was pursuing a precise aim: seeing the sense that a material takes on when it shifts from one shape to another. To get this sense it is necessary for the two forms to appear to be simultaneously present, for the new form to appear to be unresolved from the memory of the previous one. This occurs in nature, for example, through tension/flexion (which I had already employed) but in this case I wanted the design of the material itself to contain the temporal ambivalence and the spatial pulsation…When I speak of form in the case of Struttura Ortogonale, I’m not thinking just of the perimeter or the shell or, to be precise, of the structure, of the form in as descriptive sense, but also and more reasonably of the form in the Active sense of taking form, of taking on shape and image: in the sense of nature and in the sense of art. In art it stems from the finishing of a movement. It seems certain to me that this is as true for one art as it is for another…It is as easy to begin forms as it is difficult to finish them: only for nature is this natural.’
(Luciano Fabro, quoted in Luciano Fabro, exh.cat., Naples, 2008, p. 113).