Fulvio Morella’s inclusive art: wood, textiles and braille on display in Rome
Solo exhibition of Fulvio Morella curated by Sabino Maria Frassà
February 21 to July 31, 2023
Monday-Friday 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. / 3:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Lungotevere de’ Cenci 4, Rome
Visits open to the public by appointment only by email or phone contact.
+39 06 39743229, +39 371 1733120
On Feb. 21, 2023 on the occasion of the 17th Italian Braille Day, the exhibition “Romanitas” by Fulvio Morella opened at Gaggenau DesignElementi in Rome. The artist, who has become known for bringing woodturning into contemporary art, presented an unprecedented cycle of textile works to better investigate the idea of limit, pivotal in his research. On display for the first time alongside the well-known wooden sculpture-paintings, visitors will be able to discover until July 31 the body of textile works, made by embroidering on fine Lelièvre Paris fabrics, white stars that go to constitute braille inscriptions of Nietzche and Seneca. These include the large Star Curtain, two paintings and the 71 bands made for the performance Romanitas.
With these works Fulvio Morella carries on his research centered on braille “invented” in Paris 200 years ago: in this alphabet the artist finds not only the basis of communication for those who are missing one of the senses (sight) but a universal value … a symbol of the possibility of the human being to overcome all forms of limits. Art thus becomes a valuable and unique bridge between people, countries and cultures: “Limits are horrible human constructs. Art can and should show them in all their weakness, evolve the perception of reality and thus improve the society of which it is not a mirror but a spur,” states the artist about his own vision of art.
Gaggenau’s Roman space becomes a valuable opportunity to reflect together, and thanks to Morella’s works, on the future: the artist in his works eclectically and inclusively fuses the visionary and prophetic philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche with the emblematic value of Ancient Rome. In the unprecedented textile works, as in those in wood and braille, the Eternal City is the very metaphor of human existence poised between gravitas and vanitas, which always return. Morella’s art, ever more kaleidoscopic and ironic, is charged with an unprecedented figurative dimension that invites us to go beyond the Curtain to become conscious creators of our lives.
The element that has always most characterized Fulvio Morella is the enjoyment of the work in a multisensory way, including through touch. The artist always specifies that “with your hands you not only make, but you know the World.” His works investigate the partiality with which we are able to experience the outside world through the use of our eyes alone. His study of the relationship between sight and reality led him to delve into braille, a language invented in 1823 by Louis Braille, which still allows visually impaired people to write as well as read and thus be an active part of the community. As of 2019, Morella is shaping the Blind Wood project in which he adds braille, intended as both an aesthetic and meaning-bearing element, to his early sculptures.
As the curator of the exhibition, Sabino Maria Frassà, explains, “this is a cycle of universal works in terms of fruition as well as meaning: sight, touch but also sound come together in the hands and eyes of the viewer who is invited to experience these works with all the senses. Evident is the futurist influence in his approach to language, which recently prompted the artist to complete his “holistic” path in art with the transformation of braille into stars. No longer only on wood but also on fabric, Fulvio Morella’s works see hidden and seductive braille messages in a starry sky.”
The fabrics chosen by the artist were donated by Lelièvre Paris-one of the oldest and most renowned weavers in the world-and are characterized not only by extreme elegance, but also by an incredible softness to the touch: viewers are thus “invited” to experience these textile works, to touch them and to physically overcome the large “Curtain of Stars” that separates the spaces of the Gaggenau showroom: this gesture becomes in the viewer an inner motor and spur of change, of being able to go beyond appearance and discover reality in all its magnificent complexity.
Fulvio Morella BIO
Fulvio Morella was born in Valtellina in 1971. Since childhood he learned to love wood in his father’s carpentry shop, which mostly produced fixtures. He has been working in the banking sector for years and has decided to approach wood as a matter of aesthetic research and no longer functional, although he loves the ambiguity between art and design. His works often at first glance evoke design objects with a clear functionality (especially vases and plates) which is negated through his own workmanship. Since the late 1990s he has moved beyond the woodworking techniques learned from his father to approach woodturning as the basis of all his works. Creativity has neither predetermined forms nor boundaries. His artistic pursuit is the consequence of continuous research-artistic and technical-on the material of wood and the interaction between wood and other materials. Instead, geometric forms, curves devoid of excess and frills are the hallmarks of his visual research. Nothing is accidental, and the striving for perfection and clean forms is a constant in his works. To pursue this ambition, for years the visual research has been only the last link in a long process of experimentation and design, not only material but also instrumental: fundamental for the artist is first and foremost the study and realization of working tools up to the goal of overcoming the limits of the material and the history of wood. Hence the need to conceive, design and often personally make much of the equipment used as well. An old slab lathe was thus mechanically repurposed for woodworking, numerous new accessories were designed and finally made by the artist himself. So many months of research on the instrumentation and entirely manual workmanship result in cycles of works that are always very limited, since Fulvio Morella does not believe in the seriality of the work of art: once he has surpassed the limit and completed his research on an expressive level, he proceeds with new research and new limits to overcome.
He has participated in numerous exhibitions, including the solo shows Pars Construens at the Gaggenau DesignElementi Hub in Milan, FIAT LUX at the Institute of the Blind in Milan, both created together with Cramum. Sotheby’s selected his work “Seagull Wings” for the 10th edition of the charity auction “Sorry to Bother You.” His works are in public and private collections, including the Braille Museum in Milan.