Felice Varini

Felice Varini /   Felice Varini

Switzerland 1952



Felice Varini
Felice Varini
June 6, 2016
Behind the pseudonym of Lor Dethal lies Nemanja Torlak, a writer for Widewalls intrigued and moved by diversity in art and in the lives of those who create it. It is often the unexpected that come forth and surprise us, and art is a world that allows it and makes it possible. David beats the Goliath daily, and writing about it is a pleasure.

Many of life’s situations require a different perspective in order to be fully understood and appreciated. Maintaining a straightforward mindset and view on things might keep you from seeing the bigger picture, one that might reveal an astounding truth that simply isn’t visible by the look of its parts. Implementing this exact principle in his art, Felice Varini plays with the space of many indoor and outdoor locations, providing the satisfaction of realization of the actual piece to those that are willing to change their perspective. Varini is best known for his geometric perspective-localized paintings made by using an unusual projector-stencil technique. Because of this interesting and seemingly non-poetic approach, his work is humorously labeled as an anti-Mona Lisa. Nevertheless, whether you see the formatted image Varini was aiming for or an abundance of abstract, fragmented pieces of the work, there’s a certain appreciation to be felt at the end of each road.

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painting like france mind Felice Varini - Cercle et Suite d'éclats, 2010
Felice Varini – Cercle et Suite d’éclats, 2010

In Preparation for the Piece

Having started his practice back in 1979, Felice Varini had always implemented the same principle in his works and they’ve certainly grown in size over the years. His initial implementations were mostly limited to indoor spaces, altering the perception of the viewer within the corner of the room or a hallway; today, his portfolio includes pieces that cover spaces as large as several consecutive buildings, and even an entire village. Naturally, a lot of preparation goes into each piece, both mental and practical. Before any type of specific calculations can even begin, Varini roams the space designated for his future painted artwork, making mental images and noting its history, the materials, and its function. Given the nature of his large-scale paintings, he decides upon a spot from which the artwork takes a whole different shape: a vantage point that pulls the three-dimensionality of the space down to the two dimensions of the piece itself. Varini’s paintings are typical for their single vantage point perspective, from which the viewer can see the entire paintings while from other view points the viewer can spot only a sea of fragmented, broken shapes. Varini wants his viewers to be aware of both possible readings of his works – his pieces certainly exist as an organized whole, but one can’t enjoy them completely if no being able to discern their fragments as well. My biggest concern is what happens outside the vantage point, said Varini about the nature of his work.

Felice Varini likes to search for and use a specific vantage spot from which an entire artwork takes a whole different shape, flavor and perspective

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painting like france mind design illusions new optical 2009 anamorphic
Felice Varini – Neuf Arcs de Cercles, 2013

Morphing the Latest, Trending Architecture

The representations of Varini’s works are simple shapes: circles, squares, triangles, or some combination of the mentioned. However, it’s not the shapes themselves that form the complexity of his large paintings but their realization in the eye of the viewer. Designating a specific vantage point, the artist plays with the perception of the one standing at that exact spot and the painted pieces that are abstract individually come together to form an image. Looking almost as if morphing the very structure of the area, his works create an illusion of depth that makes the air itself seem as a giant canvas. However, missing the given spot doesn’t mean missing out on the art of the piece. Concerned even more with what happens outside of the vantage point, Varini offers endless viewpoints as the piece meets the surface of the space, giving the viewers a chance for infinite unique interactions. Varini is fascinated by architecture as a backdrop for his pieces and he always seeks for the unusual, new spaces which contain varying planes of depth. Thanks to this variety of planes, Varini’s murals or installations can grow to be quite dramatic and strongly engaging.

Designating a specific vantage point, Varini creates an optical illusion for the viewers to spot and , if standing at the exact spot

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Felice Varini – Archi e Corone, 2003

Felice Varini at the pavilion Paul Delouvrier

The pavilion Paul Delouvrier is one of the best places to experience Varini’s installations. It is also the third-largest park in Paris. Here, three of Varini’s creations share such a limited space, which altogether leaves the impression that Varini exceeded even his own already enviable technical skills. The pavilion is a 1,000 sqm beautiful building made by a Catalan architect Oscar Tusquets in the early 90s. Nowadays, in the age of easy photo sharing, Varini’s geometric style appears dynamic and even trendy. However, in person, his installations reveal their hidden side and it becomes clear that they are not entirely simplistic. Varini’s geometric shapes dance and play, stretch or shrink, forming an appealing network of intertwined shadows. They also playfully intersect various window panes, creating a stained glass effect. La Villette En Suites is in fact not the first time that Varini has realized a multi-perspective work. However, this project was particularly challenging because it deals with the public space and Varini had to utterly dedicate himself to understanding and feeling this amazing architectural piece with all of its attributes as well as its shortcomings.

The pavilion Paul Delouvrier is one of the best popular places to experience Varini’s colossal installations

Felice Varini - La Villette En Suites - Photo Credits Andre Morin
Felice Varini – La Villette En Suites – Photo Credits Andre Morin

Master of Colossal Optical Illusion

Uncanny by definition, the whole practice of the Swiss artist brims with suspense and a higher sense of things. Whether you’re familiar with his principles or not, it’s hard to escape the feeling of being a part of something bigger when viewing any of Felice Varini’s paintings. Although you might miss the play between dimensions if you don’t catch the intended image, the fragments of each individual work can be considered an artwork in itself, separate from the complete picture. With so many viewpoints attainable in regard to the piece as a whole, each of Varini’s artworks provides an enticing complexity that easily pleases any eye.

Felice Varini lives and works in Paris.

Featured image: Felice Varini – image via zimbio.com.
All other photos courtesy of the artist.

YearExhibition TitleMuseum/GallerySolo/Group
2015 La Villette en suites Pavillon Paul-Delouvrier et Galerie Est de la grand Halle, ParisSolo
2015 Zigzags pour le château et Ellipse de bancs rouges - Domaine de Trévarez, Saint-Goazec, FranceSolo
2015 Le Silo Marines 2015, Collection Françoise et Jean Philippe Billarant, Marines, FranceGroup
2015 Objectif gare Un parcoure artistique événement vers le pôle Muséal, Lausanne, SuisseGroup
2015 Au rendez-vous des amis Convegno - Esposizione Internazionale, Fondazione Palazzo Albizzini Collezione Burri, Città di Castello, ItalyGroup
2015 Lugano mostra bandiera Lungolago di Lugano, Lugano, SuisseGroup
2015 Flower For You Buchmann Galerie AgraLugano, SuisseGroup
2014 Felice Varini arte-ria, co Christoph Zürcher, studio d’architettura SIA, Locarno, SuisseSolo
2014 Felice Varini Studio Trisorio, Napoli, ItaliaSolo
2014 Avec et sans peinture MAC VAL, musée d’art contemporain du Val-de-Marne, Vitry- sur-Seine, FranceGroup
2014 Drawing in Space Monica de Cardenas Galleria, Zuoz, SuisseGroup
2014 De Unie Hasselt-Genk, BelgiqueGroup
2014 Optima Mihi in Chartis Galerie Römerapotheke, Zürich, SuisseGroup
2014 Bleu Brut, Expérience Pommery # 12 Reims, FranceGroup
2014 Private Choice 29, bd Saint Martin, Paris 3ème, FranceGroup
2013 Felice Varini Porin Taidemuseo Pori Art Museum, Pori, FinlandSolo
2013 Zig Zag di Triangoli per il Pilastro Buchmann Lugano, via della Posta 2, Lugano, SuisseSolo
2013 Felice Varini Nio Dansande Bagar Bildmuseet, Umea, SuèdeSolo
2013 Across the Buildings at the Canalside Steps, Granary Square, King’s Cross, LondresSolo
2013 Double Disque évidé par les Toits Château de l’Emperi, Salon-de-Provence, FranceSolo
2013 Suite d’éclats Hab Galerie, NantesSolo
2013 Des Cercles, des Toits, des Façades La Maréchalerie, Versailles, FranceSolo
2013 Des Cercles, des Toits, des Façades Festival Plastique, Danse, Flore, Le Potager du Roi, Versailles, FranceSolo
2013 Le Silo Marines 2013, Collection Françoise et Jean Philippe Billarant, Marines, FranceGroup
2013 DYNAMO, Un siècle de lumière et de mouvement dans l’art, 1913-2013 Grand Palais, Paris, FranceGroup
2013 Etre Humain et le Savoir Ensemble Vie Biennale Internationale d’Art Contemporain de Melle, Melle, FranceGroup
2013 Théâtre du Monde les collections de David Walsh Museum of Old and New Art et du Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, la maison rouge, Paris, FranceGroup
2013 Private Choice 40, rue Paul Valéry, Paris 16e, FranceGroup
2013 3 days in Paris galerie Jean Brolly, Paris, FranceGroup
2012 Six arcs en scène œuvre in situ dans l’avenue des Grésillons, Théâtre de Gennevilliers, Gennevilliers, FranceSolo
2012 Mémoires contemporaines 2 9 place Edouard VII, 75009 Paris, FranceSolo
2012 Theatre of the World MONA, Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery, Tasmania, AustralieGroup
2012 One piece at a time Point Ephèmère, Paris, FranceGroup
2012 Inside Studio E1 Une proposition de Gabriel Jones, ParisGroup
2012 D’une maison à l’autre Chez Odile Repolt et François Huet, Watermael-Boitsfort, BelgiqueGroup
2012 Pour que les murs se souviennent Galerie Aline Vidal, Paris, FranceGroup
2012 Theatre of the World Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart Tasmania, Australia, à partir du 22-062012Group
2012 Marche dans la couleur Musée Régional d’art contemporain Languedoc-Roussillon, Sérignan, FranceGroup
2011 Felice Varini Buchman Galerie, Agra (Lugano), SuisseSolo
2011 Felice Varini Galerie Römerapotheke, Zürich, SuisseSolo
2011 Le Silo Marines 2011, Collection Françoise et Jean Philippe BillarantGroup
2011 Mr Memory Galerie Martine Aboucaya, Paris, FranceGroup
2011 Beispiel Schweiz, Entrenzungen und Passagen als Kunst Kunstmuseum LiechtensteinGroup
2010 Point-virgule Felice Varini Seung-Hye Hong Centre Culturel Coréen, ParisSolo
2010 Felice Varini Studio Trisorio Napoli, Napoli, ItalieSolo
2010 Felice Varini Studio Trisorio Roma, Roma, ItalieSolo
2010 Felice Varini Square with four circles New Haven, Etats-UnisSolo
2010 Felice Varini Galerie Xippas, Paris, FranceSolo
2010 De leur temps (3), 10 ans de création en France. Prix Marcel Duchamp, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la ville de Strasbourg, 06-1110, 13-211, Strasbourg, FranceGroup
2009 Cercle et suite d’éclats Vercorin, SuisseSolo
2009 Les sens de la visite Blandy-les-toursSolo
2009 The audacity of imagination Galerie Römerapotheke, Zürich, SuisseGroup
2008 Markus Raetz Felice Varini (les halles), PorrentruySolo
2008 Felice Varini Demisch Danant, New-YorkSolo
2008 Wall Works Buchmann Galerie, LuganoGroup
2008 Singapore Biennale 2008 SingaporeGroup
2007 Une saison Suisse Cloître de l’abbaye St. Vaast, Musée des Beaux-Arts, ArrasSolo
2007 Felice Varini in Berlin Filiale, galerie Römerapotheke, BerlinSolo
2007 Felice Varini La maison Rouge, fondation Antoine de Galbert, ParisSolo
2006 A l’abbaye Saint-Jean d’Orbestier Le Château d’OlonneSolo
2006 Felice Varini au 18, rue Antoine Bourdelle, ParisSolo
2005 Felice Varini Galerie Catherine Issert, Saint-Paul de VenceSolo
2004 Felice Varini Studio A, Museum gegenstandsfreier Kunst, OtterndorfSolo
2004 Felice Varini Galerie Xippas , AthènesSolo
2003 Felice Varini Galerie Odéon 5, ParisSolo
2003 Felice Varini Centre d’art contemporain, château des Adhémar, MontélimarChâteau de Suze-laRousse,Solo
2003 De bas en haut et de long en large Musée des beaux-arts, Rouen, et Galerie du Bellay, Mont-Saint-AignanSolo
2002 Felice Varini Galerie Jean Brolly, ParisSolo
2002 Felice Varini Centre d’art contemporain Bouvet Ladubay, Saint-Hilaire (Saumur)Solo
2002 CCS2002 Centro Cultural Corp Group, Caracas, et. Chacao, CaracasSolo
2001 Hier und Jetzt Gallerie Hoffmann, FriedbergSolo
2000 Segni Castelgrande, BellinzonaSolo
2000 La Bourse et la Vie Ancienne Bourse du travail, ValenceSolo
2000 Accademia d’Architettura Mendrisio, et Via Borgovico 33, CômeSolo
1999 Felice Varini Clinica Æsthetica, New YorkSolo
1999 Felice Varini Studio Trisorio, NaplesSolo
1999 Felice Varini Chapelle Jeanne d’Arc, ThouarsSolo
1999 Felice Varini Museo Carrillo Gil et La Torre de los Vientos (Arte in Situ), Mexico CitySolo
1998 Felice Varini Galerie Jennifer Flay, ParisSolo
1998 Felice Varini La Criée, centre d’art contemporain, RennesSolo
1997 Points de vue sur Wolsberg WolsbergSolo
1997 Felice Varini Yvonne SenoufProjects, New YorkSolo
1996 Felice Varini Galerie Le Sous-Sol (org. galerie Jennifer Flay), ParisSolo
1996 Felice Varini Château de Fraïssé-des-CorbièresSolo
1995 Felice Varini Galleria Primo Piano, RomeSolo
1995 Felice Varini Faux Mouvement, MetzSolo
1995 Felice Varini Château de Villeneuve, fondation Émile Hugues, VenceSolo
1994 Felice Varini Hôtel Huger, La FlècheSolo
1993 Felice Varini ARC, Musée d’art moderne de la Ville, ParisSolo
1993 Felice Varini Helmhaus-Vorhalle, ZurichSolo
1993 Felice Varini La Filature, scène nationale, MulhouseSolo
1992 Felice Varini Le Consortium, DijonSolo
1992 Felice Varini Galerie Jennifer Flay, ParisSolo
1991 Felice Varini Galerie Arnault LefebvreSolo
1990 Felice Varini Galleria Primo Piano, RomeSolo
1990 Felice Varini Galerie Martina Detterer, FrancfortSolo
1990 Felice Varini Galleria DiagrammaLuciano Inga-Pin, MilanSolo
1988 Felice Varini Pavillon suisse, Biennale de VeniseSolo
1988 Felice Varini Kunstmuseum, WinterthurSolo
1988 Felice Varini Domaine de Kerguéhennec, centre d’art contemporain, LocminéSolo
1987 Felice Varini ARTEL, StrasbourgSolo
1986 Felice Varini Galerie Claire Burrus, ParisSolo
1986 Réversible ARC, Musée d’art moderne de la Ville, ParisSolo
1986 Felice Varini APAC, NeversSolo
1985 Felice Varini Église des Jésuite et Grange à l’Évêque (org. Musée cantonal des beaux-arts), SionSolo
1981 Felice Varini Usine Pali-Kao, ParisSolo