Toni Costa - Dinamica visuale, 1966

Toni Costa

Italy 1935 - 2013

Kinetic Art

Toni Costa
Toni Costa
Male
Italy
1935
November 14, 2013
Ok, I know it's so damn corny to quote somebody just to describe yourself, let alone Confucius, but this quote says all about my relationship with Widewalls, so forgive me for doing this: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Am I forgiven?

Kinetic art emerged during the course of the twentieth century and had its major developments in the 1950s and 60s. In that time, in Italy, a group of artists founded the Group N (Gruppo N or Il Gruppo Enne) which carried out experiments with light, projections and reflections associated with the movement. One of the founding members of the group was Toni Costa, a highly creative and innovative artist born in 1935 in Padua, a city in Northern Italy’s Veneto region. He created many visual-kinetic works of art and had his debut solo show in 1961 at the Galleria Enne in his native Padua.

Toni Costa - Dinamica visuale, 1979
Toni Costa – Dinamica visuale, 1979

The Gruppo Enne

Toni Costa first came to prominence in 1959 when he founded the groundbreaking Gruppo N along with Edoardo Landi, Manfredo Massironi, Ennio Chiggio, and Alberto Biasi. The pioneer figures in the field of Optical Art – and more specifically, Italy’s Arte Programmata movement – they declared themselves “experimental draftsmen,” free from any plans or artistic tendencies and sharing in the search for a new definition of art through the mix of traditional and non-traditional art materials in works that border between two-dimensionality and three-dimensionality. They often integrated painting, sculpture, architecture, and industrial production in their work. Gruppo Enne favored collective creativity over the individual pursuit of art. The first works to come out of this group weren’t even individually signed, but rather marked with the group’s initials.

Toni Costa and Gruppo N fused painting, sculpture, architecture, and industrial production in their work

Grupo N - Alberto Biasi, Ennio Chiggio, Toni Costa, Edoardo Landi and Manfredo Massironi, 1960
Grupo N – Alberto Biasi, Ennio Chiggio, Toni Costa, Edoardo Landi and Manfredo Massironi, 1960

Nobody Is Invited to Intervene and Other Shows

In 1960, Toni Costa took part in the debut Gruppo N show in Padua. The exhibition was entitled Nobody Is Invited to Intervene, and it provokingly hinted that the viewer should not to go to the show. The artist and the Gruppo Enne exhibited their works collectively throughout Europe including in Belgrade, London, Paris, Rome, Zagreb, and at the Venice Biennale in 1964 as well as at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The Gruppo N disbanded in 1967, however, Costa has continued to create and exhibit his work until his death in 2013.

Featured image: Toni Costa – Dinamica visuale, 1966
All images copyright © the artist

YearExhibition TitleMuseum/GallerySolo/Group
1960Nobody Is Invited to Intervene (Gruppo N)PaduaGroup
1961Art Abstrait Constructif Internationale Denise René Gallery, ParisGroup
1961Zagreb BiennialZagrenb, CroaciaGroup
1961Toni CostaGalleria Enne, PaduaSolo
1963San Remo BiennaleSan Remo, ItalyGroup
1964Venice BiennaleVenice, ItalyGroup
1964Nouvelle TendancesLouvre, ParisGroup
1966Aspects of Contemporary ArtGalleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, RomeGroup
1969Toni CostaGalleria Barozzi in VeniceSolo
1973Toni Costa Galleria Lorenzelli in MilanSolo
1983Show dedicated to Programmed and Kinetic artPalazzo Reale, MilanGroup
2001Show dedicated to Programmed and Kinetic artGalleria d’arte Niccoli, ParmaGroup.