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Focus on works



Getulio Alviani (Udine, 1939), Surface with vibratile texture, programmed work No. 3165, 1963, aluminium on plywood, Cozzani collection


This work perfectly exemplifies the wholly new intentions cultivated by the so-called Kinetic or Programmed Art, an art trend which appeared at the beginning of the 1960s and was particularly widespread in Italy and Europe, later developing into Optical Art, above all in the USA. Movement and a technological framework are the two distinctive elements, as well as the intervention and ‘collaboration’ of spectators, who are invited to activate the work or who modify the perception of it with their movement. This work, made with industrial material (aluminium) and processing, aims at stimulating and varying the observer’s perceptive mechanisms through the illusionist effects of movement and three-dimensionality produced by the different degrees of roughness of the metal surface. The concept of ‘multiplied’ art is very important: art produced in collaboration with industry in many copies, art for everybody, combined with a function for the involvement and cultural stimulation of the whole of society. 



Enrico Baj (Milan, 1924 – Vergiate, 2003), Old Mamayauk, 1996, assembly on felt,  Battolini collection

Enrico Baj is internationally known and acknowledged as the founder of the so-called Nuclear movement and as a tireless experimenter and manipulator of the most varied materials; an acute, ironic, irreverent interpreter of man and mankind. In the 1990s, he dedicated himself to the use of felt as a support for his representations. He experimented a lot with tribal masks, as in this case, paying homage to fantastic primitive civilisations with imaginary names.





Giuseppe Capogrossi (Rome, 1900 - 1972), Silk screen print 1969-1970, 1970, silk screen print on paper applied to board, Cozzani collection

This large silk screen print, over 2 metres tall, comes from the Cozzani collection. In the collector’s house it was positioned in a very original way on the bathroom ceiling, with several other works. It well represents that particular experimentation with the sign which this Roman artist conducted from 1950 on, based on the repetition, variation, composition and concatenation of very similar elements. The most used element is the tetradent, which looks like a kind of comb made up in fact of four teeth. It is a pure abstract invention which however recalls archaic primitive shapes; it generates an imaginary infinitely variable kind of writing, but also a musical structure consisting of a precisely orchestrated rhythm and movement.





Jean Dubuffet (Le Havre, 1901 -  Paris, 1985), Figure au basement bleu (Figure with a blue base), 1971, polystyrene and acrylics, Cozzani collection

Dubuffet’s work marks a turning-point and a moment of innovation in 20th  century art because of his original interest in primitive, spontaneous  expression which is typical of the imagery of children, madmen and misfits. In fact he coins the definition Art Brut (Coarse Art), which proposes the spontaneity and brutality of a narration and representation that is intentionally free of any convention, in the name of an irreverent counter-culture. For many three-dimensional works like this, the artist uses alternative, anti-classical materials like polystyrene.





Lucio Fontana (Rosario di Santa Fè, 1899 - Comabbio, 1968), Concetto spaziale (Spatial concept), 1965-66, Mixed technique on canvas, Cozzani collection

Lucio Fontana was the founder and guiding spirit of Spatialism, the breakthrough movement created in 1946. The concept of the renewal of the “medium” of the artwork was fundamental, as was rejection of the traditional distinction between painting, sculpture and architecture. Fontana “violated” the canvas, making holes and cuts in it and introducing into the painting the third and the fourth dimension, that of time. In this singular “Spatial concept”, a single large hole in the canvas seems to simulate a kind of rip in an illusory sheet of gilded bronze.





Renato Guttuso (Bagheria, 1911- Rome, 1987), Boys looking for crabs (Ragazzi che cercano granchi), 1949, oil on canvas-lined paper, Premio del Golfo (Gulf Award) collection

This work won first prize in the first post-war edition of the painting competition dedicated to the Gulf of La Spezia. The painting belongs to the cycle entitled ‘to Scilla’, and reflects this author’s constant attention to the lower classes. In this case, sea-workers are the protagonists; the young fishermen are shown during night-time fishing, using a simplified, abbreviated structural and chromatic approach. The narrative and the composition of the work follow a clear circular scheme.





Joseph Kosuth (Toledo, Ohio, 1945), Ob-ject (Art as Idea as Idea), 1967, photographic transfer onto cardboard, Cozzani collection

The work is a negative photographic enlargement of the word “object”, taken from an English/Italian lexicon. This cycle of works, which can be identified as belonging to the so-called “tautological conceptual” style, is founded on the concept that the only possibility left to art is to be both the subject and the object of one’s own language, thus giving rise to the redefinition of the art object. The panel was originally joined in sequence to others of identical size, with enlargements of other lemmas (nothing, ultimate, meaning etc.), the aim being to emphasise that the sense of a text is never expressed once and for all, but is destined to shift continually in relation to the context.





Cristiano Pintaldi (Roma, 1970), Untitled, 2000, acrylic on canvas, Premio del Golfo (Gulf Prize) collection

Pintaldi’s intention is to reproduce the optical procedure of the formation of the video image. His paintings re-propose an electronic type of decomposition, in which the elementary unit of the information displayed on the screen is the red, green and blue Pixel. The figure, constructed by the meticulous, manual fitting together of these innumerable elements, is recomposed in the observer’s view. In this case, the reference to the video context is a double one: on the one hand the simulation of the technological procedure; on the other the quotation of a personage from the early age of TV science fiction productions, Commander Ed Straker from the series Ufo. The artist has precociously understood the pervasiveness of virtual reality and given it significance.




Mimmo Rotella (Catanzaro, 1918 - Milan, 2006), Untitled, 1961, décollage of posters on canvas, Cozzani collection

With décollage, this artist invented a new form of experimentation and visual communication, based on the application of shreds of poster onto canvas. The use of the stripped and torn poster, which nonetheless vehicles content and messages, transforms it from an ephemeral object into a testimony and evocation of an era. The choice and the overlapping of the fragments however still point to calibrated compositional intentions carefully thought out by the artist.  In this case he matches a document regarding the Ardeatine massacre (1944) with an advertisement. This work reflects the artist’s adhesion to Nouveau Réalisme, a movement which abandoned the traditional tools of representation and chose to use real-life objects.





Daniel Spoerri (Galati, 1930), Tableau-piège, s.d. (Picture-trap, s.d.), assembly, Cozzani collection
Starting from the 1960s in Paris, this Romanian artist undertook the career of figurative artist by creating the so-called “picture/traps” which he himself describes thus: “Objects found by chance in situations of disorder or order are fixed onto their support in exactly the position in which they are found. The only thing which changes is their position in relation to the observer. The result is declared to be a picture, the horizontal becomes vertical. Example: the leftovers of a lunch are glued to the table and, with the table, are hung on the wall”. This is the moment of the formation of the group of the Nouveaux Réalistes to which Spoerri adhered and which preached the obsoleteness of easel painting.





Helmut Sturm, (Furth im Wald, 1932 - Pullach, 2008), Infernalezza (Infernalness), 1962-63, tecnica mista su tela mixed technique on canvas, Cozzani collection

The CAMeC has a highly significant, almost unique collection in Italy of Die Gruppe Spur. The name of the coalition which was born in Germany in 1958 and broke up in the early 1960s can be translated as “trace, footprint, imprint”. Founders and members: Lothar Fischer, Heimrad Prem, Helmut Sturm and Hans Peter Zimmer. The manifesto entitled The Avant-Garde is Undesirable! was compiled in 1961; this was a heated, debunking invective against aesthetics and the contemporary art market, the dominant European culture. The coalition invented a kind of expressive paroxysm of forms consisting of an over-abundance of clots and drips, which had an almost organic, vital power. The narrative and figural dimension, expressed in larva-like references to the human figure, is also important. Both the painting itself with its powerful visual impact, and its Italian title, make explicit reference to the composition and the dramatic content of Pablo Picasso’s Guernica.





Emilio Vedova (Venice, 1919 - 2006), Vie del mondo (Roads of the world), 1953, tempera on canvas, Premio del Golfo (Gulf Award) collection

Vedova is one of the main figures of the renewal of post-war Italian art. This painting is particularly important because it is one of the first expressions of his abstract/informal experimentation, which is very particular and distinctive for the vehemence and domination of the gestural component (in some ways recalling American Action painting) and for the use of a restricted colour-scheme. Here, as elsewhere, whites and blacks dominate, contrasted with sparingly-dosed bright primary colours.