It is not easy to discuss Vincenzo Agnetti: eclectic author, philosopher, highly sophisticated conceptual artist. As solitary as he was determined in his multifaceted creative path; great in everything that he succeeded in expressing, pursuing an existential restlessness that also governed within him rapid rhythms for the deepest meditations, sometimes ungraspable to us at first impression in their linguistic and conceptual complexity. An artist to whom I owe a great deal: he forced me to study and to read, to overcome the apparent contradictions and sometimes the paradox with which he clothed the crude reality of our life. His entire work, poetic and artistic, rests on the combination of two elements of thought: logic and intuition. In a constantly unstable equilibrium, oscillating between these two elements of thought.
When I think of Agnetti, the first thing that comes to mind is his "dimenticare a memoria" (forgetting to remember), which occurs in many of his works (or sometimes runs transversally through them). "Forgetting" means to be reborn and to be reborn again, because forgetting can push you towards the pursuit of something greater, something new; it can force thought and creativity to cross new horizons. In this sense, Agnetti even arrives at the repudiation of the written word - fundamental to him - in favour of the "sign", like the use he also makes of the "spoken" word on the "written" word.
His work seems to be focused on the ability to escape categories too defined to be flexible, too precise to be creative and innovative. His work, for me, can be summarised in the "idea of the idea"; as in his affirmation that "prima del bello non esisteva il brutto" (before the beautiful, the ugly did not exist); like his essence of the unknown: "esattamente come tutte le cose finite prima di essere" (exactly like all finite things before being).
This "assioma" of 1971 (of the three X, as we call it) is the first Agnetti to come into our home. An extremely moving work for me: a sort of nullifying of language. There is no longer need for words, which were nevertheless so important to the artist, the positioning in space of a simple sign like an X suffices. A monument to the unexpressed.
It is no surprise that this very axiom should have been published in Domus magazine (November 1981, n. 622), in an article marking Agnetti's sudden death, with essays by Tommaso Trini, Pierre Restany, Ronald Feldman and others.