Marius Lut Folding Fields

One of the most significant works by the Italian artist Alighiero Boetti made in the late 1960s is a Plexiglas plate entitled ‘Nothing to see, nothing to hide’. The small object is leaning on the white wall of the exhibition space, in the essentiality of the piece, simple material and shape, just leaning on the wall like the artist just passed by to leave the work almost accidentally, gives to this work a very important role. The title ‘Nothing to see, nothing to hide’ refers to the extreme visibility and the most deep concept of display.
This element of display is central in the research of Marius Lut. Often his research has a dialogue that goes over the surface of the works and invades the ’back’ of the piece or the ‘front’. In fact, we see that many of his pieces are conceived in order to show the wooden stretcher, the structure of the piece and the wall at the back. Sometimes it shows mirrors or other surfaces that reflects the space in front of the work.
The dialectic between the visible and invisible that occurs regularly in the work of Lut is shown by the folding of the surface that on the one hand shows the other side, revealing the back, and on the other hand it hides the other part of the canvas.
A special tension between structure and subject is the evident element in the work of Marius Lut. This aspect is shown clearly in the recent release of Onestar press entitled Untitled / 147 poses of wooden frame and fabric / 2011, The Hague NL. In the book we have 147 images of a textile set on a wooden structure that is leaning on the wall. In the sequence of shots we perceive a slight movement of the textile caused by a draught coming from the open window on the left. This tender movement creates a dynamic of reflection on the materials of the work. The simplicity outlined by the combination of the unstretched canvas set on the wooden frame gives a certain regularity to stress out all the small details.
There is in this sequence a rhythm between the folding and unfolding that in a certain way it could lead us to the metaphor of explaining and hiding something. The perfect explanation of the function of the artistic process where we are always open to discovering the border between the knowledge and the obscurity. The act of folding has the meaning to discover or cover something. A metaphor that remains fundamental in the art practice. Also the concept of an exhibition is based on the dynamic of folding and unfolding. To exhibit has the double meaning of creating a problematic condition in order to find a solution, and then to start again on a problematic. The folding/unfolding act is the basis of the display, the basis of the cover and uncover.
The folding of the surface becomes a central element of the work of Lut. The black textile is related to the etymological derivation of the word ‘fold’, that in many languages comes from explaining.
The fold hides, but when it comes to be unfolded it shows, explains. In this perspective the fold, often in the work of Lut referred to by a diagonal, is based on the concept of the simplicity. A simplicity that permits concentrating on the small differences, on the details, like the 147 shot of Untitled. But in general his body of work has in the combination of form, colour and structure a com- mon denominator of a deep research in the essentiality.
The complexity comes when the simple geometric forms are combined with the frames. Where the structure and material start a specific inter- ference with the space. The wooden element suggests to be the stretcher of the canvas, but the special formality shows that it refers to a sculpture on which the painting is hanging. The painting itself is characterized by a multitude of foldings. The wooden structure creates a difficulty in the dynamic of the surface of the plastic. A dynamic that is highlighted by the numerous foldings that also suggest a tri-dimensional condition of the plas- tic surface. The fold always implies an interruption of a linear condition.
The tension of the plastic sheet that is released by the stretcher is brought back on the strong harmony of wrinkles that are generated by this freedom of tension. The formal outcome of these wrinkles leads us to the classical motive of drapery that in art history from the ancient Greeks until modernity has always fulfilled a more complex role than a mere decoration. It was to highlight the complexity of surface and to trigger the dialectic between the visible and the hidden dimension.
On this strong essentiality of forms and material there is an interest in the work of Lut to investigate a sculptural dimension. Even if we clearly see that in his body of work the sculptural element is not evident, in his research of display there is a very specific dimension on what is the continuity of the painting in a broader spatial dimension.

Lorenzo Benedetti