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Pietro Consagra

Pietro Consagra was born in Mazara del Vallo in 1920 and died in Milan in 2005. He attended the schools in Palermo and then moved to Rome in 1944 where he attended the Academy of Fine Arts to complete his studies, but retired shortly before graduation, considering the institution too turned to the past. On 15 March, 1947, with Carla Accardi, Ugo Attardi, Piero Dorazio, Mino Guerrini, Achille Perilli, Antonio Sanfilippo and Giulio Turcato, he signed the manifesto of the “Gruppo Forma”, published on the single issue of the magazine “Forma 1”. Declaring themselves as “formalists and Marxists” , the young artists of “Forma 1” want to affirm the aesthetic value of pure form as the sole end of the work of art. Starting from 1948, Consagra’s idea of sculpture came to a more dematerialized plastic, in bronze compositions with a limited thickness, no longer admitting the plurality of points of view, but conceiving an exclusively frontal fruition. In the frontality, the presence of the sign breaks and is articulated in overlaps, thanks to the emptiness that becomes part of the work. In 1964, when Pop Art entered the Venice Biennale, Consagra approached the color by experimenting with painting on nitre and aniline enamel, as if it were a reaction to novelty and a way to further reflect on his work. In the 90s the research continues, turning to new projects, always consistent with the fundamental elements of poetics: the sense of frontality in the continuous diversification of his work, the dematerialization of sculpture, the relationship between sculpture and architecture. In those same years some of his great sculptures are arranged in the streets of Milan, Rome and in the park of the Palazzo d’Orléans in Palermo. Until the early 2000s, he worked diligently on important exhibition projects.

In addition to the numerous participations in national and international exhibitions with the “Gruppo Forma”, there are many solo exhibitions in institutions: MART, Rovereto (2018), Italian Institute of Culture, London (2017), Museo di Castelvecchio, Verona (2007, 1977), European Parliament, Strasbourg (2003), Center of Art, Cairo (2001), Museion, Bolzano and Galerie der Stadt, Stuttgart (2000), National Gallery of Modern Art, Rome (2000, 1993, 1989), Palazzo d’Orléans, Palermo (1998 ), Insitut Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt (1997), Academy of Fine Arts of Brera, Milan (1996), Hermitage, St. Petersburg (1991), Palazzo dell’Arengo, Rimini and Museo d’Arte Grafica, Gibellina (1981), Chiostro di San Nicolò, Spoleto (1979), Salone Annunciata, Milan (1976), Palazzo dei Normanni, Palermo (1973), Museum Boymans van-Beuningen, Rotterdam (1967), Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels (1958).

Among the numerous group exhibitions in institutions: Palazzo Strozzi, Florence (2018), Museo del Novecento, Milan (2017), The Solomon R. Guggenheim, New York (2012), National Gallery of Modern Art, Rome (2011), Peggy Guggenheim, Venice (2008), Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2007), Musée des Beaux-Arts, Montréal (2006), La Triennale, Milan (2004), MAMAC, Liege (2003), MART, Rovereto (2002), Museum of Argenti, Florence (2001), Jízdárna Prazského Hradu, Prague (1998), Palazzo Ducale, Venice (1995), Museo della Permanente, Milan (1994), Institut Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt (1988), Museo Civico, Gibellina (1986), Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires (1971), Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris (1968), The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (1967), Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf (1961), Musée Rodin, Paris (1960), Museu de Arte Moderna, Sao Paulo (1959), The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (1958), The Brooklyn Museum, New York (1957), Tate Gallery, London (1953), The Art Institute of Chicago (1952), National Gallery of Modern Art, Rome (1951), Palais des Beaux-Arts, Paris (1948).

Are also mentioned the numerous participations at the Venice Biennale (1993, 1982, 1972, 1968, 1964, 1962, 1960, 1956, 1954, 1952, 1950), Rome Quadriennale (2005, 1999, 1992, 1986, 1973, 1965, 1955 ), Documenta, Kassel (1964, 1959) and Sao Paulo Biennial (1955).

His relationship with Galleria Fumagalli began in 1996 when, on the occasion of the exhibition hosted by the Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan, the publication of the volume “Scultura e architettura” was promoted by Giovanni Maria Accame and Gabriella di Milia. In 1997 the first personal exhibition was presented in the gallery spaces, accompanied by the “Banche e Panche” catalog; in the same year an anastatic reprint of the theoretical booklet “La città frontale” was published, written by Pietro Consagra in 1969. In 2002 he exhibited again at the Galleria Fumagalli proposing a series of sculptures made with polychrome marbles and, on that occasion, the volume “Pietro Consagra. Pietre Consagra” was published, curated by Ada Masoero.