The intention of the exhibition – staged in October 2012 at the Palazzo della Ragione in Padua – was to reinterpret the artist’s creative history through the drawings that represent the concept and design phase of his video-installations, which have themselves been shown in some of the leading museums and at some of the most high-profile contemporary art events in the world. The drawings formed part of a major Plessi-designed installation that takes in the entire space of the hall: the “electronic flow” of fire and water that constitutes the most recognisable feature of his work.
The route meanders like a “flow” of thoughts, changes, rejections, delineated on sheets and off-the-cuff sketches, produced when a compelling idea came to him, in little books in which we can chart the development of the initial design – like secret thoughts, not intended for public consumption – which were presented at the exhibition with a view to spotlighting the artist’s main activity, which is design. The exhibition thus serves as an investigation into the workings of the creative process, in which the drawing represents the constituent skeleton of the finished piece.
Fabrizio Plessi’s project thus creates an affecting dialogue between the language of the sign and that of video, through which the history of his expressive output has taken shape. In the exhibition, a large video-installation, projecting out into the space of one of the pre-eminent examples of mediaeval architecture in Padua, criss-crosses its way through the entire structure via two different “currents”. One is created by the bundling up of hundreds of sheets that record the genesis of the works that have made the artist’s name; the other by an uninterrupted sequence of monitors, which recalls the visual vibration of water, fire and lava, and their incessant flow.
The catalogue, which includes a number of critical essays, was edited by Annamaria Sandonà, and was produced by the exhibition’s technical sponsor, Peruzzo Industrie Grafiche S.p.A. Other sponsors included Argos Energia.