To Dream, to Collect


  • About the Artist
  • Curriculum Vitae

Mario Ballocco (Milan, 1913-2008) was a crucial figure in twentieth-century Italian art and culture.
A creative experimenter, he was a man of countless interests and a precursor in many spheres: an abstract painter of great consistency, he made a fundamental contribution to the spread of design and to research into colour and visual perception. Aspects of aesthetics and science, of communication and teaching, and of theory and technique all came together in him in the most exceptional way.

After studying with Aldo Carpi at the Accademia di Brera, in 1947 he was in Argentina, where he came into contact with Lucio Fontana. Back in Milan in 1950, he founded Gruppo Origine (whose members included Alberto Burri, Giuseppe Capogrossi and Ettore Colla) and launched and directed the magazines AZ (from 1949 to 1952) and Colore. Estetica e Logica (from 1957 to 1964).
In Milan he curated industrial design and aesthetics exhibitions and one on the history of photography (at the Fiera in 1952 and 1953 respectively). In 1958 came the 1ª mostra del colore, which was held at the Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnica “Leonardo da Vinci”.

Ballocco was also the inventor of “chromatology”, an interdisciplinary method for solving “visual problems of collective interest”, which ranged from the colour of ambulances to that of exercise books for elementary-schools. His aim was to banish monotony “which makes us come into the world with white, live with grey, and die with black.” In the early 1960s Ballocco introduced chromatology as a subject of study at the Accademia di Brera, and later he also held courses at the Carrara in Bergamo and at the Polytechnic University of Milan.
He twice exhibited at the Venice Biennale with tribute-solos (in 1970 and 1986), and his works are now in the collections of important museums in Italy and abroad.


Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Ascoli Piceno, IT
Galleria degli Uffizi - Collezione Autoritratti, Florence, IT
Pinacoteca Civica, Jesi (Ancona), IT
Villa Mimbelli, Livorno, IT
Cantiere del '900, Collezione Intesa San Paolo, Milan, IT
Accademia di Brera - Fondo Disegni, Milan, IT
Centro Studi e Archivio della Comunicazione, Parma, IT
Gabinetto delle Stampe - Università degli Studi di Pisa, Pisa, IT
Galleria d’Arte Contemporanea, Rieti, IT
Collezione Farnesina - Ministero degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale, Rome, IT
MACRO Museo d’Arte contemporanea Roma, Rome, IT
VAF-Stiftung, Frankfurt , DE
MART Museo d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Rovereto (Trento), IT
Fondazione Sartirana Arte, Sartirana (Pavia), IT
GAM Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e contemporanea, Turin, IT
Archivio Storico della Biennale di Venezia, Venice, IT
MACBA Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Buenos Aires, AR
Neue Galerie am Landeemuseum Joanneum, Graz, AT
Museu de Arte Contemporanea - Universitade de São Paulo, San Paolo, BR
Museum Bochum, Bochum, DE
Stadtmuseum, Gelsenkirchen, DE
Museum of Modern Art, Eilat, IL

Works by Mario Ballocco

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