Since the early 1970s the artistic practice of Marco Bagnoli (Empoli, 1949) has been divided between drawing, painting, sculpture, environmental and sound installation, combining in a pervasive synthesis, aesthetic fact and scientific statement, the visions and theories of color and iconological research, ancient skills and a mobile experience of space and time, in which the work explores the ramifications of thought, becoming the matrix of knowledge, both rational and intuitive. Some of the most prestigious Italian and international museums have devoted solo exhibitions to his work, including the Castello di Rivoli-Museo d’Arte Contemporanea in Rivoli-Torino (2000, 1992), IVAM of Valencia (2000), the Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci in Prato (1995), Magasin-Centre National d’Art Contemporain in Grenoble (1991), The Contemporary Art Museum in Lyon (1987), the Centre d’Art Contemporain in Geneva (1985) and De Appel in Amsterdam (1984, 1980). Together with his participation in the X Biennale de Paris, Paris (1976), the Venice Biennale (1982, 1993, 1997), Documenta, Kassel (1982, 1992) and Sonsbeek, Arnhem (1986), the artist has intervened, with site specific works, in places of great historical, artistic and architectural significance such as the Pazzi Chapel, the Octagonal Hall of the Fortezza da Basso, the church of San Miniato al Monte, the Boboli Gardens and the Stazione Leopolda in Florence, and the rooms of the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena.
The work by Marco Bagnoli in the collection, entitled La Voce. Nel giallo faremo una scala o due al bianco invisibile (“The Voice. In yellow we will make a ladder or two in invisible white”), was originally presented as part of the project L’ALBERO DELLA CUCCAGNA. Nutrimenti dell’arte, curated by Achille Bonito Oliva, and produced by Seda International Packaging Group. A first version of La Voce was created by the artist in 1975, in the form of a ladder built into the wall of his studio-home in Milan. Crossing it diagonally, descending and ascending, the work established a linear arc and a bridge facing into the “empyrean” (Germano Celant) in relation to the earth, or to the immaterial as to the material, in this way uniting physical experience and the metaphysical dimension. The rungs of the ladder were set closer or further apart in keeping with a trellised perspective drawing, a scale of harmonic tones, frequencies that converged on an external visual point and, at the same time, remained parallel to the threshold. In its second version, made of iron, the ladder was supported instead on a single point that made it objectively unstable in ascent but symbolically solid, precisely because of the use of a material such as iron. Set up a third time by Adachiara Zevi in 2009, at the excavations of Ostia Antica, La Voce occasionally acquired the symbolism of Jacob’s ladder, with the names of the angels drawn at the sides.
In the version presented at the Madre the work again changed its conformation, in temporary combination with another work (Janua Coeli, 1988): it developed within the room located in the second courtyard of the museum, until it outgrew it up into the roof and expanded outside. Resting on the light source of a “tired machine,” as the artist wrote, the voice emitted by an ampoule expands into a sound reverberation that flows through the prolongation of the radial pattern of the rungs of the ladder, at a point outside the room. The text issued by the work consists, in this latest version, of the “menu of a Neapolitan meal, punctuated according to a mathematical order and combinatorics of dishes that, in the end, proliferate unabated: every word is a flash” (Marco Bagnoli).