Opus Motus – My playful marble inlay designs

With Opus Motus, I began experimenting to challenge and play with the theme of coloured stones, seeking to explore new territories in the promotion of stone materials. This research was inspired by the opus sectile, the old art of creating marble inlay designs: the ancient marble cladding characterised by mid- and large-size slabs sometimes salvaged from existing works, to be shaped and recomposed in complex geometries.

The coloured semi-precious stones, enclosed stably in the flooring and in the wall claddings stand witness, even today, to the extraordinary creativity and manual skills of our predecessors. Today my intent is to set into motion and play with the effects that the dynamics and our perception of colours have to offer.
The result is the chromatic sum of the various lithotypes, each characterised and selected for its particular colouring as assessed by the RGB (Red Green Blue) composition indicated by the trichromatic colourimetric system. The dynamics of these inlaid and rotating marble disks, with their consequential “perceptive overlapping”, mixes the colours by summing them in a sort of “stone metamorphosis” so as to produce new stones with surprising colours.

 

 

Even the design of the composition, subject to the kinetic effect of the rotation, is deconstructed and then reconstructed in a new arrangement. The spectator-actor moves the lever mechanism to gradually increase the radial speed and witness a wonderful transformation. In addition to the two chromatic mixing effects and the geometric rearrangement, a third effect – an optical illusion – can be perceived as the various elements of the marble design apparently move in a disjointed rotatory motion. This particular illusion is the combined result of three factors: the rotation speed, the design that determines the arrangement of the elements at a specific interval, and the light source. The artificial light source, which is also stroboscopic, together with the perceptive capacity of our eye, triggers a consequential clockwise or counter-clockwise effect.

These particular effects could be obtained with simple pigments placed on any support, but the desire to create them exclusively with natural stones gives this experiment a new twist. And herein lies the innovation, both intriguing and fascinating, that justifies the use of this age-old material with highly significant symbolic connotations, without which this experiment would be meaningless.

 

 

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Last picture by Ilaria Stella.

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