Carlo Bernardini


by Valentina Pinto

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Carlo Bernardini was born in Viterbo in 1966. He started out his career in the early 90s with an abstract painting that concentrated on the dialectical relationship between line and monochrome, diversified moments of representative conception of space-light.
The light, however, will be identified later with the luminescence of phosphor, through lines and veilings, creating layers of white colour, visible in two distinct and autonomous visual conditions.

The first one is the vision in the real light, while the second corresponds to the vision in the dark, almost like a photo negative of the first one.
During the first half of the 90s, Bernardini starts dealing with the third dimension in his works. At first he has steel pipes come out of canvas or a board that cast real shadows; then, since 1996 he has been planning and working on big optical fibre installations, stainless steel and optical fibre sculptures-installations, OLF (Optical lighting film) surfaces and electro-luminescent surfaces that the viewers perceive in a different way and in a different form, depending on where their position in the space is.

This research carries Bernardini to presenting his works in 1996 at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome for the XIIth Quadriennale; the works carried out on a more than five-metre board, where he intervenes with pigments and phosphor, creating visual duplicity and making use of Wood light.
The use of optical fibre as a new medium, during the latter half of the 90s, leads Bernardini to conceive the possibility of designing space through darkness, using this really thin light line and transforming the environment into artwork itself.

In 1997 he writes Divisione dell’unità Visiva, a theoretical essay published by Stampa Alternativa.
In the 1990s Bernardini works in Rome and has his first personal exhibit in 1999 in Spaziotemporaneo in Milan, the city where he later moves. In the late 90s the first environmental installations in big outside spaces were commissioned to the artist; among the most important ones are the installation at the Galleria Nazionale della Pilotta in Parma (1998), the environmental project in Reggio Emilia in the spectacular sixteenth-century location of the Chiostri di San Domenico (1999) and the great installation in Padova, realized in via Fiume, at the Palazzo della Ragione (2000). In 2002 Bernardini is invited to the XXth Triennale in Milan and to Sculpture Space, Utica (New York); the year after that to the XIVth Quadriennale at the Palazzo Reale in Naples.
He is a two time winner of the Overseas Grantee award of the Pollock Krasner Foundation in New York receiving grants in 2000, 2005 and in 2010, and in 2002 wins the Targetti Art Light Collection White Sculpture award.

In 2004, with the Brasilian film-maker M.Sobral, he presents at the Bruna Soletti Gallery La Quarta Direzione dello Spazio, a visual experimental hypothesis where inside of the optical fibre installation, interactive videos of abstract light in movement are activated in the passageway of the viewers aiming at the creation of simultaneous overlapping of dynamic perception over the static one.

In 2005 he is invited to present an environmental installation at the Accademia Nazionale di San Luca in Rome.
Given the aspects of the evolution of vertical forms in his works, the choice of materials and the technical development, in 2000 he starts travelling to New York whose appealing, rational, vertical and luminous architecture, with its reflections of the urban skyline, is crucial to the conception of new sculptures, where the linearity underlines the movement and the upward push creates luminous geometry in empty space.

Among his most important international exhibitions it is worth mentioning the great exhibition in 2004 at Museo Paço Imperial in Rio De Janeiro and in 2007 the presentation of the installation Event Horizon at the Swing Space in New York.
The project Light Waves is realized in 2008, a permanently installed artwork at the entrance to the Brindisi airport, where Bernardini generates an impalpable sense of total space, modifying the perception of place through the use of the interaction between his prismoid light sculptures and the audiovisual installation.

In the same year he also presents a gigantic environmental installation in the Umbracle of the Ciudad De Las Artes y de Las Ciencias in Valencia, placing his light geometries inside a dialogue with the renowned architectural work of Santiago Calatrava. At the same time, he projects an installation for the La Nau Museum of Valencia University that extends in height over three floors of the exhibition room, creating a drawing that changes according to the points of view and the movements of viewers who find themselves both inside and outside the artwork.
A further experimental development of the language can be seen in Interrelazioni nello Spazio at Rivara Castle, where the only optical fibre installation eluding the physicalness of the walls, englobes at its inside three rooms and a corridor, passing from one side to another without continuity.

Again in 2008, his personal exhibition at Museo di Lissone takes place, where he presents not only a spectacular intervention in the Museum rooms, but also an impressive aerial installation outside the Museum. Likewise, in the beginning of 2009 he presents Codice Spaziale in Piazza S.Stefano in Bologna, for Art First at the Bologna Fair.

In 2009 Bernardini takes part in D.U.M.B.O. Festival in New York, presenting his installation and in Twister project for the Lombardy Museums’ network.
He completes a great environmental sculpture for MAM – Museo Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Gazoldo degli Ippoliti (MN) and an installation at GAM in Gallarate, where he makes the optical fibre run through the Museum space, combining the upper and lower floors.
The same year he finalizes a great optical fibre prism and OLF film entitled Fantasma di Duchamp, for an exhibition at Museo d’Arte Villa Ciani in Lugano, Switzerland.
His three most recent solo exhibitions are: the project Codice Progressivo dello Spazio at the Velan gallery in Turin, in Milan at Grossetti Arte Contemporanea, where the optical fibre crosses and goes beyond the gallery walls and at Delloro Contemporary Art in Rome, where he completes an installation, that starting from overlooking buildings, penetrates and develops at the inside of the exhibition rooms.

In 2010 Bernardini is invited to the XIII edizione of “Luci d’Artista” (Artist’s Lights), in Turin, and to the NIMk – Netherlands Media Art Institute, Sonic Acts, The poetics of space, in Amsterdam.
The same year he finalizes a great installation Crystallization Suspended, to the Artlight Domaquarèe, Redefining Centre, CityQuartier DomAquarée, in Berlin, and Space interrelations, to the Theater a/h Spui, Spuiplein, Todaysart, in The Hague – L’Aia.

In 2011 Bernardini takes part in Kinetica Art Fair Prewiew, to The Arc Show, Business Design Centre, in London, and to the Kinetica Art Fair, Ambika P3, University of Westminister in London. At the same time, he projects Vacuum an environmental installation at the Delloro Arte Contemporanea in Berlin and an installation Drawing of the Vacuum, at Bocconi Art Gallery, to the Bocconi University in Milan.

In Rome he completes the great environmental installations, The Corner’ s Revenge, at MACRO – Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, and La Luce oltre la Materia at the Church of Santa Maria in Montesanto.

In 2012 Bernardini is invited to the FAD festival de arte digital, to the Funarte fundação de arte in Belo Horizonte, to the Meet in town, Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome, and to the Claim, Lützowstraße 70 in Berlin.

In 2013 Bernardini is invited in London to the House Peroni with the installation Infinity, in Metz at the “Nuit Blanche” with the project Submerged Breath on the water of the river, in Digital Life to the MACRO Testaccio in Rome, and in Catanzaro to the historical exhibition Artisti nello Spazio, gli ambienti da Lucio Fontana ad oggi, to the Complesso Monumentale del San Giovanni.

In 2014 at Prato he presented Light Walk, a great installation in collaboration with Museo Pecci, between the door of the Emperor’s Castel and the medieval Cassero, a path between the interior and the exterior through the light on the Castle recreates the ideal conjunction with the part of the formwork now missing. The same year he finalizes a installation at the 4th edition of “The End of the World Biennial” in Mar del Plata, and at the 17th edition of the Islamic Arts Festival in Sharjah to the Sharjah Art Museum, United Arab Emirates.

In 2015 Bernardini is invited in Curitiba to the Bienal de Curitiba at Museu Oscar Niemeyer, with the project Invisible Dimensions, in Pop Austin 2015 in Austin (TX) and in Bratislava for Sculpture and Object XX, with a site-specific installation to Milan Dobeš Museum.

In 2016 he presented Invisible Dimensions, a great environmental installation at “The Door of Milan” in Malpensa Airport (Terminal 1), Orbital Trajectories to the Palazzo del Broletto in Como, and an installation at the Global Innovator Conference 2016 to the 898 Innospace in Beijing.

In 2017 Bernardini is invited to the second Bienal Internacional de Asuncion, Significar lo Imposible, at the UPAP, Una Universidad Todo un Pais of Asuncion, in Effimera, Suoni, Luci, Visioni, at the MATA of Modena with the work Oltrelimite, at the Politecnico of Milano with Suspended Space and the installation for Incorporeal Flicker, exhibition to the Wanlin Art Museum of Wuhan University in Wuhan.

Carlo Bernardini lives and works in Milan; he teaches Multimedia Installations at the Fine Arts Academy of Brera in Milan.

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