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Aldo Tambellini - Artists - James Cohan

ALDO TAMBELLINI, Black Zero, installation at Tate Tanks, 2012, Photo: Gabrielle Fonseca Johnson

Aldo Tambellini is an iconoclastic artist, who was a formative figure in expanding art media in the early 1960s. He charted an independent path beginning with paintings then exploring new technologies-- hand-painting slides (Lumagrams), films, projections, and video—integrating these new media into a new art form that synthesized visual art, theater, music and dance into visceral, sensory, multimedia installations. Critics and artists recognized Tambellini as an originator of new media art, “Electromedia,” as he coined it. He performed “Electromedia” events in the streets, the churches, and in the theaters of New York generating a sensation. By the end of the decade he established his own club, “The Black Gate,” in collaboration with Otto Piene, advertised as the only club in New York City devoted to multimedia. An intermedia innovator Tambellini exerted a considerable influence on the succeeding generation of new media artists. Woody Vasulka regarded “Tambellini’s and [Nam June] Paik’s concerns in the sixties as the true and direct inspiration to our generation of ‘synthesizing artists’ ” (1992).



Aldo Tambellini - Artists - James Cohan
ALDO TAMBELLINI, Untitled, 1964, Duco, acrylic, and sand on paper, 35 x 35 in. (88.9 x 88.9 cm)

Moving to the lower east side of Manhattan in 1959, Tambellini established a dynamic presence as an artist, activist, and curator of cultural events. By 1961 he was creating a distinctive visual vocabulary of circles and spirals and had settled on his signature color—BLACK. He endlessly regenerated his restricted vocabulary in a variety of media, establishing continuity from his paintings through his projections, videos and photography. Tambellini evolved to black circles and spirals intuitively. These were his instinctual responses to the new scientific and social reality of the postwar era. Particularly, the scientific discoveries in physics and aeronautics, revealing the existence of the atomic and galactic universes and irretrievably altering society’s worldview of humanities physical and spiritual relationship to the micro and macro cosmos. Tambellini visualizes the duality of physical reality and philosophy through the opposites of black and light, the polar forces of nature. For the artist black and light are the embodiment of nature’s force fields that energize his works of art and are the substance [foundation, essence] of his visual metaphors. “Black is the beginning. It is birth, the oneness of all, the expansion of consciousness in all directions.” “Light is energy, and the same energy which moves through us is the energy which moves through the universe. It is the same energy we have discovered in the atom.”

                                                                                         -Written by Joseph Ketner

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