contemporary art / history of art

Artwork of the Month / March 2023

Rubik Cube
Chiara Dynys

cast glass panes, gold leaf, light, frames
variable dimensions

The site-specific installation “Rubik Cube” by Chiara Dynys, is a composition of 16 single pieces of the artist’s series “Camini delle Fate” (Fairy Chimneys) on white ground and 14 rectangular colour fields arranged as a chessboard pattern. Over the course of the Bolognese art fair in February 2023, these squares occupied the three walls of the WEM gallery’s booth. Only one opening at the back allowed to enter a second room.

Each single chimney is made of a framed cast glass pane with a slit in the centre. This opening is filled by a gold leaf. The illuminated boxes vary in the colour of the glass, size and orientation. As single piece, especially when installed horizontally, could remind an opening of a fireplace. Moreover, they recall – a little bit less romantic – a radiant heater, like they were formerly installed in bathrooms or in our days for the warming of outdoor patios. In any case, the chimneys suggest the impression of comfortable warmth, in particular the ones in yellow and red shades. Even the ones with blue and green glass panes could be interpreted as gas-fired heaters.

By the chessboard arrangement and the colours – even though they are not only basic colours, and black is missing – the installation recalls the creations of art movements like De Stijl and Bauhaus, due to straight horizontal and vertical lines and the rectangle forms. Furthermore, the reduced and abstracted shape of the chimneys might be a reference. Nevertheless, also more recent inventions might come to mind: the Rubik Cube, as the installation’s title suggests. At first glance, the mostly square fields seem to be randomly arranged similar to the 3-D combination puzzle, before the solution. However, the positioning causes complimentary contrasts and colour gradients, which intensify and underline the radiation of the chimneys.

“Rubik Cube” is a successor project of the installation “Camini delle Fate” in the Villa Panza, Varese, Italy in 2021. Here the chimneys were fixed on a wide surface in a dimmed room. In consequence, the coloured light was dominant and reminded more to the artist’s source of inspiration: the Fairy Chimneys (Hoodoos) of Cappadocia, Turkey. These earth pyramids were shaped by erosion and transformed into early Christian churches and living spaces. The early inhabitants, often hermits, cut windows in the soft tuff and mounted fireplaces. By night, the effect of the lightening might have been similar to the installation in the Villa Panza. Moreover, the windows and doors are an element of transition. So, the contemporary viewer could enter the artwork to experience the power of light. The installation “Rubik Cube” goes even further since the visitor could literally enter the space and plunge into the ensemble of light and colours.

Chiara Dynys

Born in Mantua, Chiara Dynys started in the 1980s to exhibit her creations and had in 1985 her first solo show in the Castello Scaligero at the Lake Garda. Initially coming from painting, she uses various materials and media. Besides glass, ceramics, fabric and synthetic fusions, she early introduced photography and video in her oeuvre. Already in 1987, she made a video installation at the Castello di Belgioioso. Later she directed several short films, focussing on the human being and its environment and in space.

Correspondingly to the wide range of techniques, Chiara’s artworks are heterogeneous. Some are describing space in geometric forms; others are more organic. There are monochrome sculptures and installations in bright colours. All in common is a research for the real world, with a special attention to transcendence with the possibility to surmount the limitation of reality and discover the anomalies.

Light is also recurring in Chiara’s oeuvre. This could be illuminated books, to underline the enlightenment, which might occur through knowledge. On 21st May 2023 will be the presentation of the donation of the artist’s “Enlightening Grimoires” accompanied by video projections and theoretical interventions about the work at the Museo Fortuny in Venice.

Chiara’s light also could be warming, like in the installation “Rubik Cube” with its abstracted chimneys, which is our artwork of the Month of March 2023. A similar origin has the installation “Camini delle Fate” at the Villa Panza, Varese from 2021. However, here the Fairy Chimneys as openings stand for passage.

Another transition symbolises the photo sensible glass sculpture “Giuseppe’s Door”: the absorbed daylight will glow during night as metaphor of light as energy and source of life. Inside the Mart in Rovereto, visitors will find from 22nd April 2023 on seven other examples from “Giuseppe’s Door”. Also made of glass, but this time the doors are coloured. They will reflect kaleidoscopic light to allow the spectator to glance into new worlds. The solo exhibition “Chiara Dynys. L’ombra della luce.” (Chiara Dynys. The shadow of the Light) will be open until 27th August 2023.

Besides these upcoming shows, Chiara had numerous solo shows and participated in many group exhibitions in Italy and abroad. The works were presented in public and private museums and cultural spaces like Quadriennale di Roma; Musee d’Art Moderne, Saint’Etienne; Galerie de France 2, Paris; Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva; CIAC, Montrèal; Städtische Galerie, Stuttgart; Museo Cantonale di Lugano; Museum Bochum, Bochum; Kunstmuseum Bonn; Wolfsberg Executive Development Center, Wolfsberg; Museu Nacional de Belas Artes, Rio de Janeiro; Rotonda di Via Besana, Milan; Museo Carlo Bilotti – Aranciera di Villa Borghese, Rome; ZKM – Museum für Neue Kunst, Karlsruhe; Archivio Centrale dello Stato, Rome; Spazio -1, Collezione Giancarlo e Danna Olgiati, LAC, Lugano; MASI, Lugano; Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan; Museo del Novecento di Milano; Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Roma; Arkhangelskoye – VII Moscow Biennale, Moscow; ICAE Armenia, Erevan; Museo Correr during the Biennale Arte 2019,Venice; Mattatoio, Roma; Triennale Milano; Villa e Collezione Panza di Varese; Palazzo Maffei Casa Museo, Verona; MA*GA – Museo Arte Gallarate; Quirinale Contemporaneo, Rome; Reggia Contemporanea; Mart, Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto; Villa Reale, Monza.

Chiara lives and works in Milan, Italy.