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Enrico Castellani

Enrico Castellani was born in Castelmassa, province of Rovigo, in 1930 and died in Celleno in 2017. In the early 50s he studied art and architecture in Belgium at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts and at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, very soon starting an artistic practice on the border between painting, sculpture and architecture, in search of a new paradigm. Active in the new Milan scene of the late 50s, he made friends and collaborated with Piero Manzoni with whom he founded the magazine Azimuth in 1959 and the almost homonymous Azimut gallery, proposing a total zeroing of the previous artistic experience. In that year Enrico Castellani produces his first extroflexed surface by probing the potential of the canvas under maximum tension: “Black Surface”. The white follows the black, with its plays of shadows and lights and the serial repetition of compositional rhythms, thus inaugurating a poetics of the “different repetition”. “White is not a color for me, but its absence. In my works I tend to be as objective as possible. The works exist for themselves, they are not meant to transmit any message”. Since the ’70s, Enrico Castellani has expanded his approach to include other materials, but his interest in a poetic marriage between painting, sculpture, architecture and space has never wavered.

Enrico Castellani has exhibited his works in institutions around the world. We remember the personals: Musée d’Art Moderne, Saint-Étienne (2012), Ca’ Pesaro, Venice (with Günther Uecker, 2012), Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome (2006), The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow (2005), Prada Foundation, Milan (2001), Galleria Civica di Arte Contemporanea, Trento (1999), Palazzo Fabroni Arti Visive Contemporanee, Pistoia (1996), Pinacoteca comunale, Ravenna (1984).

Among the most prestigious collective exhibitions in institutions: Palazzo Strozzi, Florence (2018), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2014), Palazzo Grassi, Venice and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2008), Centro Luigi Pecci, Prato (1998), Guggenheim Museum, New York and La Triennale, Milan (1994), Reina Sofia Art Center, Madrid (1990), Museum of Contemporary Art – Castello di Rivoli, Turin (1984), Centre Georges Pompidou , Paris (1981), Museum of Modern Art, New York (1965), Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1965, 1962), Palazzo Querini-Stampalia, Venice (1963), Städtisches Museum, Schloss Morsbroich, Leverkusen (1960).

Castellani took part in numerous international events, such as: Venice Biennale (2003, 1993, 1984, 1966, 1964), Documenta IV (1968), Sao Paulo Biennial (1965). In 2010 he received the highest honor in the field of arts from Prince Hitachi, Honorary Patron of the Japan Art Association: the Imperial Praemium for Painting.

Since 1997 Galleria Fumagalli of Bergamo has inaugurated three solo exhibitions dedicated to Enrico Castellani. That one of 1997 is accompanied by a catalog with texts by Annamaria Maggi and Marco Meneguzzo. In 2001 the second solo exhibition was organized with a publication that documents its work from 1959 to 2000; in the same year, in co-ordination with the Galleria Niccoli of Parma, Fumagalli proposes the anastatic reprint of the two issues of the magazine Azimuth of 1959-60. In 2006 the third solo show of the artist took place. In 2011 he participated in the collective exhibition “ACMN. Giovanni Anselmo, Enrico Castellani, Maurizio Mochetti, Maurizio Nannucci “, of which the catalog was published in 2018. In 2015 the Galleria Fumagalli curated the setting up of the personal “Enrico Castellani. Alla radice del non illusorio” at Galleria Cardi, Milan.