A generation of artists emerged in Italy in the second half of the 20th century who, influenced by a questioning of the nature Piero Manzoni’s artwork and the ground-breaking concept of Lucio Fontana's space, and turning to the use of simple, everyday materials (that is, stripped of any auratic encumbrance), realised a series of works that, without relinquishing a kind of poetic awareness of the world, were profoundly critical of industrialisation and consumer society. Of these artists, grouped together in numerous exhibitions under the term "Arte Povera", Luciano Fabro (Turin, 1936 - Milan, 2007) was the one with a more emphatic connection to the emergence of a new and revised approach located in the tradition. Thus he explored the creative possibilities and perspectives that, in a country like Italy, continued to open the ruins of the past.
By mixing a reflection on classical problems related to the history of sculptural practice –the tension between weight, balance and density; the relationship between sculpture and architecture– with an exploration of themes such as the need to rethink the sculpted object, and its relationship with the viewer and the spatial context it is inserted in, as well as the potential and implications of working with transparency and flexibility, Luciano Fabro was an influential figure in the expansion and redefinition of the limits of sculpture, which he always formulated as an instrument in the critical assimilation of space.
This exhibition, the first retrospective devoted to the artist since his death, assembles over fifty works that reflect the audacity, strength and complexity of Fabro's work; a body of work that is key to gaining an understanding of the new roads contemporary sculpture has travelled down. It includes some of his first metalinguistic exercises focused on transparency (Impronta, Mezzo Specchiato e Mezzo Trasparente...), a broad selection of pieces pertaining to two of his most emblematic groups of works –Italia, an acute and incisive portrait of present-day Italy through recreations using diverse materials from his unique cartographic contours, and Piedi, a key component of his reflection on the relationship between sculpture and space– in addition to one of the better-known materialisations from his Habitat series (where he proposes a redefinition of architectural space through sculptural intervention), or pieces such as Lo Spirato, where marble is used with an equally ground-breaking inclination in dialogue with tradition.
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