Gabriele DeVecchi Italian, 1938-2011

Gabriele Devecchi (b.1938 - 2011 Milan, Italy) was an artist, designer, architect, goldsmith and teacher. His artisan family and the attendance of the art school of Brera are key elements of his education. Thanks to his father, a sculptor and an engraver who experienced the Futurism before the war and industrial design in the post war period, Devecchi was introduced to the art world at a juvenile age.
After the end of the high school, he started working at this father’s silver workshop. In 1959 he founded Gruppo T with Giovanni Anceschi, Gianni Colombo and Davide Boriani. He began producing kinetic and programmed artworks, interactive environments, multiples, interventions at the urban scale.
Since 1962 he participated actively in the manifestations “Arte programmata” organized by Olivetti in Italy and in the USA. He took part to important events together with other members of Gruppo T, such as the Fourth International Biennial of San Marino “Oltre l’informale” and the various editions of the international exhibitions New Tendencies in Zagreb, Venice, and Paris. Together with the kinetic and luminous environments, he is the author of a memorable installation, which represents the peak and the quintessence of a somatic art of interaction, “Scultura da prendere a calci”.
Since 1962 he managed and art directed the family silver workshop. In the same years he started collaborations in other fields of design: furniture, product, exhibition and urban design. In the seventies he participated to many artistic activities that marked a critique to the traditional organization of the art system, such as “Volterra 73” curated by Enrico Crispolti. At the same time Devecchi manifested a strong attention to the social implications of his activity of esthetic research. The sign unifying the articulations of the different areas that Devecchi practiced is the consideration of ambiguous and unstable things in space and time: not shapes but processes open to external interventions in order to unforeseen metamorphic continua.
Also in the field of design applied to silver and in his projects for artifacts made of gold, porcelain or glass, Devecchi tended to produce objects that are ironical conveyors of ever-changing messages and of dialogical relationships with users. This experimental tension is confirmed in the many years of teaching commitment for the design discipline, which moved from the concrete and perceptual manipulation of materials towards modeled and theoretic information.