Pure luminous sensitivity: Paolo Radi

by Alessandro Trabucco


“For me, the materials are those that in this moment, altogether, evoke the light: wood, acrylics, then the perspex and the PVC”.

The Roman artist, born in 1966, so expresses himself closing an interview released in 2004, a dialog where many suggestions emerge, referring to the long and articulated journey followed in his own aesthetic research.

Cultured references to the art of the Humanism, the Renaissance and the Baroque, up to that of the “pure sensitivity”, searched and achieved by the abstract artists of the beginning of the Twentieth Century, obviously Kandinsky, Malevic and Mondrian above all, up to the contemporary masters like Castellani, Bonalumi and Achille Perilli.

Paolo Radi - Con-fusa- luce cm. 139x96 2008 perspex e pvc

Con-fused light, cm. 139×96, 2008, with melted light

Paolo Radi - Il cielo sottratto al tempo cm. 120X200 perspex e PVC 2013 Courtesy AnnaMarra Contemporanea

The Sky stolen from Time, cm. 120×200, perspex and PVC 2013, Courtesy Anna Marra Contemporanea

Paolo Radi - Doppia scena dell'invisibile 2010 cm. 153x115

Invisible’s double scene, 2010, cm. 153×115

Paolo Radi’s works are not easy to categorize, on the contrary, they escape from any definite and restrictive definition in the contemporary artistic landscape, they live in their own dimension, silent and ethereal, distant “light-years” from the hubbub and the provocation of so much current production.

Starting from the materials employed, that we could almost consider as typical of the world of the art, that is acquired among the traditional ones for a long time now, and from the still completely manual approach to his own work, Paolo Radi’s works are in the middle among the sculpture, the painting and the architecture, and they create mysterious tridimensional objects that evoke forms both archaic and sci-fi at the same time, not identifiable with manufactured goods familiar to us, therefore without any precise temporal reference, but placing themselves on a visual level completely detached from any connection to a constant and definite “present”.

Paolo Radi - Di luce propria 2013 Santa Maria in Montesanto Roma

Paolo Radi - Di luce propria Santa Maria in Montesanto Roma 2013

Own light, Santa Maria in Montesanto, Rome, 2013

Paolo Radi - Door to door Salerno 2012 Installazione site specific

Door to door, Salerno, 2012, site specific installation

Paolo Radi - Onnipervasivo Door to door Installazione site specific Salerno 2012

Omnipervading, Door to door, site specific installation, Salerno, 2012

They are anyway regular and harmonious geometrical shapes, studied by the artist through a well-defined project, achieving outcomes of great elegance and refinement.

Works that relate with the surrounding space in an homogeneous way, almost natural, stimulating the bystander’s eyes to a slower and more concentrate observation, inviting to a silent and contemplative meditation.

In Paolo Radi’s works, the light seems to spring from the inside, they seem sculptures that live with their own light, catching the emanation of environmental light, filtered by the opal and milk-like coating of the perspex that covers entirely the object and softens the contours and therefore reducing its physicality.

In this way, the actual knowledge of their being material is lost, looking as evanescent, almost immaterial, a pure form of light, filmy and impalpable.

Paolo Radi - Illuminatoaperto cm105x116 2007

Enlightenedopen, cm. 105×116, 2007

Paolo Radi - Necessita del destino 2011 cm. 103x196 Courtesy Antonella Cattani Contemporary Art

Destiny’s Necessity, 2011, cm. 103×19,6 Courtesy Antonella Cattani Contemporary Art

Paolo Radi - Vuoto in sospensione 2013 cm. 100x150 White & White Museo Bilotti Roma

Vacuum in suspension, 2013, cm. 100×150, White & White, Bilotti Museum, Rome


Paolo Radi, Drift on memory, 2010

Paolo Radi - Deriva della memoria cm 80X80  2010

Drift on memory, cm. 80×80, 2010

The light, that radiates from the inside of Paolo Radi’s works, is an emanation derived from the environmental light, captured and emitted outwards again.
A soft, delicate light, that confers a nearly sacred appearance to each work, as if it were an object coming from the unknown, a supernatural apparition.
Own light and reflected light, at the same time, anyway difficult to distinguish what the real energy source is. The artist can emphasize, in this way, the impenetrable and mysterious character of the presence closed in the transparent opaque wrapping, like a silkworm, wrapping that keeps warmth, life, energy and light.
The work “Deriva della memoria” (Drift on memory) is one of the most significant examples of this creative practice and places Paolo Radi’s work on an aesthetic level out of any scheme either arranged beforehand or conditioned by the prevailing trends, that keeps constant over time a continuous evolution with new materials and new chromatic and formal solutions.

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