Born in Castelmassa, Italy, 1930 - 2017

 

ENRICO
CASTELLANI

Enrico Castellani is regarded as one of Italy’s most important living artists. Born in Castelmassa in 1930, he studied art and architecture at Belgium’s Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts and École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, respectively, in the early 1950s and soon began a practice challenging the confines of painting, sculpture, and architecture in search of a new paradigm.

 

A catalytic figure in the European post-war avant-garde, he founded the Azimut gallery—and the related journal Azimuth—in Milan in 1959, with Piero Manzoni. They organised international exhibitions and published essays that opposed the dominant art movements in Europe at the time, and promoted the idea of an art that did not imitate but instead sprang self-referentially from its own techniques and materials. In 1959 Castellani also showed his now celebrated Superficie nera pieces for the first time.
To make them, he worked his monochrome canvases with a nail gun to produce a relief-life surface that induced light and shade effects through alternating depressions and raised areas. In the 1970s and 1980s, he expanded his approach to include other materials; but Castellani’s focus upon a poetic marriage of painting, sculpture, architecture, and space has never wavered.

 

Enrico Castellani is regarded as one of Italy’s most important living artists. Born in Castelmassa in 1930, he studied art and architecture at Belgium’s Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts and École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, respectively, in the early 1950s and soon began a practice challenging the confines of painting, sculpture, and architecture in search of a new paradigm.

 

A catalytic figure in the European post-war avant-garde, he founded the Azimut gallery—and the related journal Azimuth—in Milan in 1959, with Piero Manzoni. They organised international exhibitions and published essays that opposed the dominant art movements in Europe at the time, and promoted the idea of an art that did not imitate but instead sprang self-referentially from its own techniques and materials. In 1959 Castellani also showed his now celebrated Superficie nera pieces for the first time.
To make them, he worked his monochrome canvases with a nail gun to produce a relief-life surface that induced light and shade effects through alternating depressions and raised areas. In the 1970s and 1980s, he expanded his approach to include other materials; but Castellani’s focus upon a poetic marriage of painting, sculpture, architecture, and space has never wavered.