Shapes of Worlds of Shapes
The Flat – Massimo Carasi hosts Leonardo Ulian’s solo exhibition in its spaces for the third time.
Entitled “Shapes of Worlds of Shapes” the exhibition investigates the idea of contemplating other universes, triggering
innovative mental circuits, at this pivotal moment in human history.
Leonardo Ulian presents an idealistic but fundamentally optimistic vision since it allows for renewal and reinvention.
His artistic process combines symbolism, geometry, sound, magic, frontier science, and theatrical drama. Channelling
the suggestive power of different materials from lead, copper, and steel to ready-made objects such as metal chains,
electronic components, 3d printed elements, and sports equipment, Ulian explores the risk of representing a chaos
capable of generating new contemporary macrocosms.
The exhibition includes Techno Atlas works, new towering sculptures from the Scultopia series created with tennis
racquets that resemble humanoid figures, almost aliens, and a sound tower of interacting objects.
According to his vision, the exhibition’s initial point is the piece “Techno Atlas – 007, Ognun bale cun so agne”: «The
two specular Italies, one made of lead and the other out of a gold acrylic mirror, in my view, stand for dualism or
possibility. A proverb in Friulian is also engraved on the Italy made in gold, the language I speak in my area of origin in
Italy. I have chosen this saying because it carries an activating force that, ideally, can produce a transmutation».
An interesting definition of this friulian proverb is given by the poet, musician, and writer Luigi Maieron: «The true
meaning of the sentence, ognun bale cun so agne (everyone dances with his aunt) implies the relationship between
behaviour and necessity; as if to say that everyone lives as they can. It is used to explain a decision that may seem
bizarre or simply to rule that there was no other possibility. The saying takes its cue from the fact that dancing was
one of the main entertainment, very widespread, learning was an aspiration and achievement, and aunt more than a
parent exercised the natural predisposition to teach. There was just that much confidence that allowed us to learn
even among so many mistakes, counting on her benevolence. We move poised between the aspiration to celestial
spirituality and the tendency to enjoy the material joys of earthly life».
With a new representation of the world maps, the artist’s interest in contemplation, evident since the Technological
Mandala series, advances and overcomes the notion of geometric equilibrium. Recalling the Rorschach projective
test, the perfect symmetry of the two maps creates a third, separate picture, as in the psychological test, which is
connected to the first two but entirely different from the originals. Ulian’s curiosity about new ways of seeing the world
raises issues, concerns, and possibilities while simultaneously releasing the imaginative and meditative capacity for
alternative utopian futures.
«I enjoy using geometry to infuse energy into my works that have hardly anything to do with the rational thinking
connected with geometry». The new towering sculptures, like the titans of Greek mythology, which he defines as
humanoids instead, are a primordial and sophisticated typology of creatures, a clash of materials that are sometimes
discovered in the studio after years of rest, other times reasoned and then unearthed, or even happen to be a part of
this new cosmology of works by chance.
The drama of his vision can be seen, for instance, in the sculpture “Scultopia #06 – The Humanoid with a flower in its
mouth”, which, despite its unsettling and frightful appearance, is a positive figure for Ulian. The title of the piece is
taken from a play by Luigi Pirandello. The play’s protagonist employs the metaphor “the flower” to describe the
disease that would soon result in his death. Aware of his situation, he makes the most of the little time he has left by
living it intensely, observing and describing with maniacal detail things of daily life that would otherwise be
A Sound tower of objects linked by copper wires creates an interactive device, with theremin and movement sensors,
that, thanks to the sound generated, leads the entire exhibition in a suspended time dimension.
Meanwhile, Within the so-created device, a prepared tape cassette plays a slowed-down version of Beethoven’s
“Sinfonia No. 5 op. 67” in a tape recorder. This composition, not surprisingly, was one of several messages aboard the
two Voyager spacecraft launched into space in 1977 to establish possible contact with new life forms in other worlds.
SHAPES OF WORLDS OF SHAPES
17 November 2022 > 14 January 2023
The Flat – Massimo Carasi
via Paolo Frisi, 3 (MM Porta Venezia) – Milan 20129 – ITALY
from Tuesday to Saturday > from 2.30pm to 7.30pm or by appointment