MARCH 24 / JUNE 9, 2023

Piero Fogliati



Piero Fogliati – CITY POETRY

Piero Fogliati, City Poetry, Installation view, at Tempesta Gallery Milano, 2023

Ph Sarah Indriolo

Piero Fogliati, City Poetry, Installation view, at Tempesta Gallery Milano, 2023
Ph Sarah Indriolo


Piero Fogliati, City Poetry, Macchina che respira, at Tempesta Gallery Milano, 2023

Ph Sarah Indriolo

Piero Fogliati, City Poetry, Installation view, at Tempesta Gallery Milano, 2023
Ph Sarah Indriolo

Piero Fogliati “City Poetry”, Ermeneuti
Ph Sarah Indriolo


Piero Fogliati, City Poetry, Fleximofono, (also entitled Scultura sonante, sonorant sculpture) uses resonance to produce sound. It consists of springs fixed to a metal sheet hung from the ceiling which provides support and also acts as a diffuser or sound box. The springs are made in spring steel and arranged in a systematic pattern. Consequently, the piece creates a dual acoustic and visual effect. Indeed, Fogliati said that he had chosen springs because he had begun to take into account, in his sculpture, «the fact that physically it had to be light»

Ph Sarah Indriolo

campo autonomo

Piero Fogliati, City Poetry, AUTONOMOUS FIELD (1970) As part of the Fantastic City project, Fogliati decided to create a device that would self-program on a constantly variable basis, so that no two events would ever be the same. Like a sort of control tower, the device would then trigger a variety of content in the city, depending on the constantly changing input. The system would guarantee the non-repetitiveness of the output in each environment.

Ph Sarah Indriolo

Piero Fogliati, City Poetry, AUTONOMOUS FIELD, detail
Ph Sarah Indriolo

Piero Fogliati, Reale Virtuale, this piece consists of a hand blown fine glass flask placed above a projector created by the artist. The light is projected upwards so that the precisely regulated beam of light passes through the centre of the flask. The projector is contained inside a box so that it is kept hidden from view; placed in a dark space and apparently illuminated by its own light, the flask resembles a vessel used by an ancient alchemist, creating a truly striking impression. An object suspended from a nylon thread is placed inside the flask, more or less at the centre, creating an immaterial image of the object itself.

Ph Sarah Indriolo


Piero Fogliati, MECHANICAL PRISM (1967). This consists of a Synthetic Light projector and a white, vertical, disc-shaped aluminium support rotating at high speed, which collects and reflects the light, breaking it down into its constituent colours. The white disc (the “mechanical prism”) turns orange, purple, green, blue, with a gradual transition from one colour to the next. So the white disc will appear to be a small ball suspended from a white bar composed of continuously changing colours. The observer seems to be looking at a sphere of coloured air. The rotation produces an exhalation and a hiss that accentuate the sensation of immateriality.

Ph Sarah Indriolo

successioni luminose

Piero Fogliati, LUMINOUS SEQUENCES (1967). With Successioni luminose, Fogliati obtains a light effect that can completely disorientate the observer and overturn the physical laws of “matter”. The piece consists of a white light projector and a vertical disc-shaped aluminium support painted white, revolving at high speed.

Ph Sarah Indriolo

Piero Fogliati, CITY POETRY, Ermeneuti

Ph Sarah Indriolo




Foro Buonaparte 68, Milano

Critic Text

Piero Fogliati: the artist-inventor who colored the rain.

A semi-imaginary interview* by Daniele Perra.

*The answers are taken from the video Piero Fogliati. The poet of light (2003), in which the artist talks about himself and from some texts annotated on his drawings.

According to Fran Lebowitz, a writer who has suffered from writer’s block for more than forty years and a caustic American humorist, there are “only four types of artists: choreographers, writers, composers, and painters.” To her radical, rigid, debatable, and undeniably anachronistic categorization, I would add the fascinating and timeless figure of the inventor. The one who experiments without interruption, who “puts into action,” who rejoices in seductive new devices and successful “contraptions,” as only a curious child can do. And Piero Fogliati was a tireless inventor. A visionary, multifaceted artist with boundless imagination, he transformed mechanical and electrical “gadgets” into multisensory and atmospheric works, playing with light, movement, and perception. He imagined a fantastic city, but his works have a strong connection to nature and some of its elements: the wind sounder, the air sculpture, the water in water sculpture, the sonorization of lakes and rivers. Because alongside the reality of industry and technology, for which Fogliati had a certain fascination, he always contrasted the transformation of the environment and landscape.

I have never had the opportunity to meet Fogliati or interview him. If that had happened, our conversation would have gone something like this.

Thanks to science and technology, you have fantastically surpassed the limits of the painting. I used the word “phantasmagoric” because I find it in line with your versatility and your imaginative inventor’s gaze.

My work consists of moving beyond the two dimensions of the traditional painting through the use of technological means. That is, using procedures that infiltrate, stimulate the mechanism of perception, it is possible to awaken those latent forces, those entities that we have within us but do not use.

I have always had a great passion for technology and science, but I have tried to invent a garment to rest on the objects of science, on phenomena. A garment that would allow the phenomenon itself to be isolated but to allow this phenomenon to come out. An inversion that reaches our minds.

“I am a scientist who betrays science.” That is, an artist-inventor who calls his works inventions and his drawings fixations.

First, I take possession of all the means at my disposal and then betray science because instead of using it to make consumer objects, practical things, I use all my knowledge to direct my results, my inventions – call them what you will – to obtain an aesthetic fact.

The sounding sculpture Fleximofono (1967) seems to simulate the sound of wind or waves against rocks; in Liquimofono (1968), you can hear the sound of liquid elements; Anemofono (1968) appears to generate a strong wind; in Evolving Eurhythmics (1970), a small white ring, animated by an electric motor through a thin nylon thread, might seem like a suspended body in motion, a floating bird. It is the disruptive and uncontrollable force of nature. It is its elements that penetrate the fantastic city.

Everything has its own center that needs to be unveiled. I try to penetrate into reality by uncovering its hidden secrets. I wanted to insert a presence that goes in all directions parallel to the everyday and the existing city. I desired to aestheticize a part of the city to make our homes livable in a pleasant way, to see decorated skies, to color the rain, and to make lakes and rivers sound.

To invent is to play. To think is freedom. Art is a game. Like life. The game means expansion. I have constantly changed my work in order to draw from various fields, from optics to mechanics, to put together the knowledge necessary to create these means of our times. Thinking is very beautiful. With thought, you can go far. You can allow yourself to navigate between universes, thinking about all the possibilities with great openness. And I do this not as a scientist but as an artist, and as an artist, I am absolutely free to think.

Light can create ghosts. Only with light can I create mental images of different types. Images that we see with our eyes but in reality, those images do not exist. Art in my case becomes pure energy. A defined energy, available to those who observe it. In Chromatic Aura (1970), for example, one observes white illuminated rods and then realizes that flashes of colored light are emitted from these rods. I am searching for everything that is hidden in us. I am presumptuous and perhaps even megalomaniacal in wanting to see the color of the soul. If I knew what light was, it would be too big a thing.

Light can color the rain. Projected onto moving bodies, light is revealed in separated colors. One can see raindrops being colored with prism colors. The city appears colorful and becomes fantastic.