Home Magazine A retrospective on Pino Pascali at Fondazione Prada in Milan

Pino Pascali’s exhibition is divided into four sections which offer a view of his "Arte Povera" on his most original and important aspects of his practice. 

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Fondazione Prada presents a retrospective on the Italian artist Pino Pascali from March 28th to September 23th 2024.

The exhibition is curated by Mark Godfrey, who presented the exhibition through a speech this morning 27th March at the venue. By Godfrey's words, the exhibition is the fruit of an in-depth research which lasted more than three years. Pino Pascali is an Italian artist born in Bari, Italy, in 1935. He moved to Rome in 1955 to study scene painting and set design at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma. He worked as an assistant scenic designer for many television productions and in 1965, Galleria La Tartaruga in Rome hosted his first solo exhibition. At the age of 32, in 1968, Pascali died in a tragic accident, the same year of his solo presentation at the Venice Biennale. Despite his young age and short time into the art world, only 4 years, he is a renomated artist who has contributed extensively in the Italian and international post war art scene. 

Pino Pascali. Le decapitazione della scultura, 1966. Canvas on wooden Structure. Fondazione Prada, 2024.

The exhibition takes over Fondazione Prada, presenting 47 artworks of the artist in three buildings of Milan's location: The Podium, The Galleria Nord and The Galleria Sud. Pascali is celebrated for his innovative approach to sculpture. He explored the relationship between sculpture and stage props, with the use of materials found in anyone's everyday life, such as kitchen tools. For instance, he used steel wool to create large installations. The four parts of the exhibition are separated but complementary perspectives to give a whole view on the artist's career. These being, his approach to the exhibition making, the materials he uses, his relationship with photography and his approach to group exhibitions, show how his works are still very influential. He is defined as ‘exhibitionist’, who dedicated most of his time to exhibition-making as to refining his work in the studio. 

In the Palladium, the first floor of the exhibition is dedicated to the 13 exhibitions that Pascali did before his death. As Godfrey stated, “they recreated five of them and a bit”. The first one inspired by the one Pascali did at the Galleria La Tartaruga in Rome in 1965. Here, the artist grouped both pop-art with works inspired by Manzoni's death, understanding Rome’s architecture and its capacity to attract tourism. The second exhibition is the one from Sperone Gallery in Turin, representing the ‘Armi’ series. Here objects representing weapons have been exhibited, made from car pieces covered with green paint. In 1968, he exhibited at L’ Attico Gallery in Rome the series ‘Animali’, where he created animals both fantastic such as dinosaurs and real ones using wood covered with canvases. The last exhibition represents some of the objects used during the Venice Biennale, such as Cesto, Contropelo, Pelo, Ponte Levatoio and Solitario. 

The second part of the exhibition, on the second floor of the Palladium, is a documentation of the materials used by the artist for his sculptures, which included industrial materials. It represented how Pascali sourced them, their use in commerce and how they were used by other artists. Each area focuses on a specific material, such as dyes, canvas, earth, fake fur, steel wool, foam, rubber, car components, hay and scrubber. The works are represented alongside magazines and filmed videos, to give the audience an understanding of the context in which they were used. This part of the exhibition, shows what was happening in Italy during the 60ies and the changes the country was experiencing. 

Pino Pascali. Pelo, 1968. Fondazione Prada, 2024.

The third part is developed in the Galleria Sud. It represents the relationship of the artists with photography and photographers. This legendary photograph was taken by Ugo Mulas, Claudio Abate and Andrea Taverna and Luca Maria Patella. Pascali understood the importance of photography in art making and the importance of documenting the art shows, but with a unique approach in which he plays with his artworks. He didn’t mean to educate the audience with his pictures or to be seen as a performer, it was just a suggestion about the engagement the audience could have with his works. The first room is a collection of a series of pictures, the four rooms that follow represent four artworks with four pictures enlarged into billboard sizes displayed on the side. The works are: “32mq di Mare circa” (1967), Vedova Blu (1968), Cinque bachi da da setola un bozzolo (1968), and Cavalletto (1968). 

Pino Pascali. 32mq di Mare Circa, 1967. Lo Spazio del'immagine. Fondazione Prada, 2024.

The last part of the exhibition takes place in the Galleria Nord. Here it explored the contribution Pascali made in three important group shows; he was part of a large community of artists. He made special works not as solo, but which created a dialogue with other artists as well as the same use of materials. The exhibitions are: “Fuoco Immagine Acqua Terra”, Rome, 1967. Cinquième Biennale de Paris, Paris 1967 and “Arte Povera”, Bologna 1968. In this section four renomated works from Pascali are displayed, “Ricostruzione del Dinosauro (1966), 1 metro cubo di terra (1967), 9 mq di pozzanghere (1967) and Fiume con Foce Tripla (1967), which are placed in dialogue with artworks by Alighiero Boetti, Agostino Bonalumi, Mario Ceroli, Luciano Fabro, Piero Gilardo, Jannis Kounellis, Eliseo Mattiacci, Gianni Piacentino and Michelangelo Pistoletto who exhibited alongside him.

The exhibition at Fondazione Prada is a spectacular view on the impact Pascali had on the "Arte Povera" art movement and the important contribution his art had and still has. His works take over the spaces of the Fondazione giving to the audience the opportunity to explore the Italian genius, or artist and his unique imprting.

Cover image: Pino Pascali. Photograph by Claudio Abate. Courtesy of Kooness.

Written by Kooness

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