Vinicio Momoli, the secret life of rubber

He has experimented with every material. He has painted, sculpted, cast and assembled. The Paduan artist, who made his name with his minimalist choices, now gives new life to rubber by transforming it into a work of art

by Flavia Motolese

Since his debut, Vinicio Momoli has based his art on the search for simplicity through the interplay of shapes, materials and colours. To describe and define his art, we need to transcend the form-painting and form-sculpture dichotomy as well as excessively rigid definitions of genre and style because his poetry lies precisely in his ability to intertwine different technical and formal elements to create something unique. Momoli chooses to work in a dimension that crosses the disciplinary boundaries of neoplasticism, informal matter and minimalism to have the opportunity to investigate the further potential of abstract patterns, perhaps also influenced by his contacts with the avant-garde scene in Paris and New York in the 1960s.

Before the concept of reuse, contamination or transition became popular, Momoli perceived the expressive potential of using extra-artistic materials such as materials from industrial production, leading him to approach the plastic and sculptural dimension. This poetics of matter is all about physicality and craftsmanship, a sense of empathy with things and, above all, a great amount of work on experimentation as a both manual and expressive act.

Vinicio Momoli

Vinicio Momoli was born in the province of Padua in 1942 and lives between Castelfranco Veneto and Paris. His background includes several experiences beyond national borders that put him in contact with avant-garde circles in Paris and New York. Since the 1960s, he has been developing his artistic language aimed at investigating sense and perception. In 1974 he exhibited at the Harrison Club Gallery in New York. After New York, he participated in the exhibition “Nouvelles Perspectives” at the UNESCO Bonvin Space in Paris. In the 1980s, his research also extended to environmental installations and multi-material sculptures. He has taken part in more than 200 exhibitions both in Italy and abroad, including participation at the Kuwait, Beijing and Venice Biennal festivals, where he presented “Nexiture Contact”, a permanent monumental sculpture installed on the island of Certosa, as part of the project “La Città Ideale” (The Ideal City).

Three-dimensional artworks with a strong tactile value, are visual synaesthesia, coloured plastic bodies that populate space, in which the articulated presence of volumes succeeds in expressing the full sense of the voluptuousness of matter. Rubber, which is used by the artist to give life to his works, takes on different consistencies and textures, bringing it closer to leather, paper, and fabric: this hybrid and ever-changing peculiarity makes it an ideal medium for a constantly evolving art.

Mutability is the most distinctive feature of Vinicio Momoli’s artwork, as it shows a unique ability to mould matter as something living and vivid.

You can feel the energy, the dynamism of pulsating matter in the colours and the black and white monochromes. There is no static nature, but rather the illusion of motionless movement in which design and randomness collide. Surfaces become creased, showing irregularities, and colour overlays which, although they tend to be opaque, reverberate light, absorbing it or entwining it within their folds and textures. Similar to inorganic skins, they record the complex becoming of things, the incessant change in physical reactions, like crystallised fragments of the processes involved in a perpetual transformation.

More than a surface, it is an actual landscape because an entire horizon of experience is enclosed in that dimension. The artist creates something that lies between abstract and imaginary geography, a kind of landscape of the unconscious, and a texture, a surface on which pure shapes and colours merge.

Through the creation of a sculptural language, a very close relationship of reciprocity is established between the artist and the creative gesture: Momoli dominates the matter and, at the same time, lets it imprint a semantic value, independent of his will, on his work. The artworks are based on their physicality, on formal and colour combinations and fascinate the viewer with their extraordinary ability to evoke sensory perceptions.


Mario Napoli is a true point of reference for artists, but also for those who want to approach the world of art collection.  The key to his success is his determination and ability to intercept contemporary trends. Mario Napoli lives and works between Genoa and Milan. He has been working in the field of art since 1975; he is an art director, art critic and art advisor. In 1994, he founded SATURA in Genoa, a centre for the promotion and dissemination of the arts. His ability to establish genuine relationships allowed him to create bonds and collaborations with critics, gallery owners and national and international cultural promoters. Vinicio Momoli is among the artists he has chosen to propose on this occasion. He was chosen among many others on the international scene, along with other highly talented authors such as Stefano Grondona, Peter Nussbaum and Piergiorgio Colombara, because he meets the requirements that distinguish true artists: having something to say, technical quality, uniqueness and lyricism.

This direct approach to the matter is an attempt to get closer to the origin of things, to the archetypal nature of the genesis of shape: artistic research traces how nature operates its perennial creation. The final intention seems to be to restore the sense of a vision that perceives the essence of being and explores the territories of the unknown in an artificial construction, but one that alludes to the world of organic shapes and the vitalistic turmoil of reality. Transforming defenceless matter into living, meaningful materials capable of inhabiting space: is the most important challenge overcome by this artist.

(Vinicio Momoli, the secret life of rubber – – January 2023)