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Exhibition details

Opening / Event Date:
17 February, 2023
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Closing / End Date:
11 March, 2023
Event Category:
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Novalis Art Design is pleased to present “DIS-PLAY,” the first solo exhibition of Italian artist Riccardo TEN Colombo in Asia, supported by the Italian Cultural Institute in Hong Kong. The exhibition will showcase TEN’s new project “Cromoblock”.

Playing allows us to create a spontaneous relationship with objects, to transform their use, meaning and form, to unite the real with the imaginary, to create a connection with the world of childhood and to prefigure our future. This is how Riccardo “TEN” Colombo combines craftsmanship with industrial production, collective art with individual art through play within the works of the “Cromoblock” series. TEN chooses an aesthetic that “creates a bridge” between the avant-gardes of the twentieth century and the metaverse. In fact, on the one hand these works involuntarily take us back to those moments of childhood when we lay on a carpet composing shapes and imagining fantastic worlds (as written by critic Ilaria Bignotti). On the other hand, they connect to a visual tradition that starts from constructivism and cubism, passes through the optical-kinetic art of the sixties and reaches contemporary graffiti and the most recent crypto art.

In these works, Riccardo TEN Colombo, a Turin-based artist who trained in the field of street art and the hip hop and punk culture of the 1990s, stages the game. He arranges it in the limited area of a board, and offers it to the spectator, giving them the opportunity to scatter it and put it back together. TEN creates an engaging artistic experience, as suggested by the title of his exhibition “DIS-PLAY” organized at the Novalis gallery in Hong Kong.

“Cromoblock” is composed of metallic triangles on magnetic boards, whose position can be changed by both the author and the collector, in a continuous evolution of compositional possibilities. Influenced by the visual research of some optical artists, including Vasarely and members of the GRAV group. TEN Colombo refers to the gestalt theories of form psychology, exploring how what we perceive is not just the result of individual images, but of an overall structure that allows us to understand form as a whole, just like when we listen to a melody and can’t easily distinguish individual notes that make it up. TEN Colombo’s Cromoblock works in the same way: at first glance we see images, solid and colorful geometric shapes that emerge from a black background, three-dimensional bodies that float in space, coming towards us. Only after a deeper analysis do we discover that the works are not unique blocks, but compositions of multiple triangular shapes combined.

We are witnessing a democratization of art, and its transformation into a social experience, according to research that characterizes not only “Cromoblock”, but also all of TEN Colombo’s production, including his graphic and street art works. As the artist writes: “The pieces of Cromoblock, which can be moved and modified on the board, represent my vision of urban art that is constantly evolving. The walls of the cities are boards available to the community where nothing is permanent and the real work is constantly changing, composed of layers of paint and interventions of different people who participate in the creative process. For this reason, it is impossible to capture street art, but it becomes essential to grasp its transient and changeable essence.”

This achieved perfection of form takes us back to a feeling of reverential respect where the works cannot be touched but only admired from afar. On the other hand, the artist prompts us to question our patterns, to rethink our perceptions, to feel like an active part of that whole that is our contemporary era.


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