Regina Cassolo Bracchi

1894Medee, Italy | 1974Milan, Italy
Regina Cassolo Bracchi — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

© Regina Ritratto

Italian sculptor.

Regina Cassolo Bracchi’s work is notable for its light materials and dynamic forms. After academic studies, the Italian sculptor produced her first avant-garde works in the early 1930s. She was already interested in a synthetic language and the use of new materials: aluminium, wire, sheet metal, tin, and glasspaper. The fragile Sofà (Riposo) (1931–2), which Edoardo Persico published in the magazine La Casa Bella, is an example of her intuitive approach, the wish to capture the space around the form and to move its volumes in the air. The Futurist sculptures that she made after her association with the 1934 Manifesto tecnico dell’aeroplastica futurista, such as Aerosensibilità (Aerosensibility) and L’amante dell’aviatore (The aviator’s lover), break up the lines of the silhouette, giving the body a spatial dimension.

R. Cassolo Bracchi specifically chose aluminium to abstract the mass from the material, freed from the formal conventions of traditional sculpture. Inspired by the most recent international experiments, she combined the motifs of a mechanical world in the style of Fortunato Depero (1892-1960) with the levels of complexity found in a work by Alexander Archipenko (1887-1964). She used the traditional tailoring technique of pinned patterns for her sheet metal, which was folded like a handkerchief and extremely light. These ethereal structures evolved in her Futurist period, leading to endless experimentation with her concrete sculptures.

Moving steadily closer to abstraction and geometry in the 1940s, influenced by Giacomo Balla (1871-1958) but also fascinated by the perfect balance of László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946), R. Cassolo Bracchi continued experimenting with materials, introducing new mediums such as Plexiglas, acetate, and Rhodoid plastic. The small Struttura (Structure) of 1949 is the first example of a different use of Plexiglas, in the style of the Movimento per l’Arte Concreta (MAC) originating in Milan in 1948, with which R. Cassolo Bracchi became associated after being introduced to it by Bruno Munari (1907-1998) in 1951.
Embryonic pure shapes, circles and ellipses, mixed with simple geometric figures, triangles, and diamonds, create her radical abstractionism: moving, flexible, vibrant compositions that are the ultimate syntheses of motifs inspired by the plant kingdom and inherent laws of nature; geology on the one hand, and evocations of space on the other. Works such as Sputnik (1952) and its series of sketches illustrate the mirage of the moon race, momentum towards a cosmic sphere that R. Cassolo Bracchi sums up in a streak or trajectory. A movement in the void, a drawing in the air (with wire, for instance), an ideal synchrony between the lines of force of a futuristic matrix and Lucio Fontana’s nascent Spatialism (1899-1968).

Chiara Gatti

Translated from French by Thames & Hudson Ltd.

As published in Women in Abstraction © 2021 Thames & Hudson Ltd, London

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