On Fragility and Power is an impressive work that provokes strong emotions.  This modular work displays a keen dynamism. Federico Gori created this work after carrying out extensive studies on the ability of metals to "take on" another identity – in other words, to create on its surface something that was and is indelible. Like photographic film, the artist “exposes” the copper to a chemical process that allows the oxidation to be controlled, and thus reveals a specific decisive capacity.  It is not this scientific process, which permits the work to manifest itself, which interests the artist, who refuses to attach importance to the expressive medium being used in an attempt to serve as a means of reflection on the theme.  Rather it is a willingness to deepen those ties generated between the support – thin copper plates here, aluminum ones elsewhere – and the content, pursuing an overall synthesis, the source of the compositional harmony that Gori has sought (...).

With On Fragility and Power, Gori has managed to offer the viewer a sampling of what lies beneath our feet, almost marking out the path that accompanies our existence towards the indescribable. The very title that Gori has given the work, a summary of monologue taken from the film Stalker directed by Andrei Tarkovsij, is nothing but a metaphor of our presence on this earth, a journey that leads to an ever profound consciousness of self.

For the Palazzo Strozzi exhibition, the metal elements, arranged horizontally on the floor of the four-sided portico, were crowned by a large cork oak, creating a highly intimate dialogue, have been separated (materially but not conceptually) in its new and definitive placement at Vannucci Piante, where the natural element has been omitted and the installation is now arranged vertically.

As a consequence, contrary to what one might have thought, the work has taken a renewed vigor, showing itself to the observer for what it truly is, removed from any context that might compromise its integrity. In the Florentine installation, this spontaneous creation from nature merged with the severe Renaissance proportions of the building that welcomed it, creating a timeless dialogue between these only seemingly different two entities that, in reality, are essentially identical in their very perfection. Everything suspended in an instant that would last forever (...). Here, Gori has opted for an extremely linear setting.  The 150 copper plates making up the work are arranged in six rows and twenty-five columns, in such a way as to form a large rectangle that completely invades the wall on which it is located (...).

The circle thus is closed with the discourse returning to an analysis of the universal and the specific discussed earlier. It is a reflection that occurs constantly in Gori’s art, as if to emphasize his need to continue studying a phenomenon, not summarily, but rather methodically, always confronting an empirical reality, since limiting oneself to the surface precludes the possibility of being immersed in the phsyché, and Gori would never abandon this wonder.

Niccolò Bonechi, Federico Gori, On Fragility and Power, from the catalogue of the exhibition Di fragilità e potenza – AA.VV. – ed. Gli Ori Editori Contemporanei, Pistoia 2013.


DI FRAGILITA' E POTENZA / ON FRAGILITY AND POWER - copper engraving, natural oxidation – cm 857,5 x 202,5 – 2013. photo credits: Bärbel Reinhard