Home Magazine Carving out Sensations - Giuseppe Tirabasso’s work

Giuseppe Tirabasso and his focus on complex human emotions: the artist shines light on the strength and importance of sensations.

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The mature language found in Giuseppe Tirabasso’s work shows a mastered simplicity, which can convey the most complex emotions. His work has evolved over the years, informing his artistic career.

Observing this artist’s work from the 1960s-70s and 80s, we see graphic lines and minimal shapes, strong colours and organic materials. Giuseppe Tirabasso has translated and condensed feelings in his work through different media, echoing the currents of the time – such as the Arte Povera movement.

Throughout this artist’s artistic career, at the centre we find the powerful and overthrowing intensity of emotions. The core is Pessoa’s ‘Sensationalism’ – a form of empiricism which places sensations, feelings and perceptions at the centre. 


Giuseppe Tirabasso, Aggressività I, 1980s, Courtesy of Looking for Art 


Since a very young age, the award-winning Italian artist Giuseppe Tirabasso, born in Montappone in the area of Le Marche, always had a sincere interest in the arts. He completed his education at the Scuola del Libro in Urbino and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Urbino. Later in his career, he went on to win numerous awards among which “Il chiodo di Argento” in 1965 and exhibited his work on many occasions – in Italy and internationally.

Using various techniques and continually looking for ways in which he could express himself fully, he has gradually developed a very strong visual and sculptural language.

With a professional career which gave him the possibility of extending his skills in printmaking, this artist has accumulated a vast and rich portfolio experimenting through the years. 

Indeed, thanks to his editorial experience Tirabasso was one of the first to start using screen printing– before it reached its peak in popularity with Andy Warhol. 

As an artist, he used screen printing and monotypes, unconventionally using the colour black. Despite this, although Giuseppe Tirabasso’s work is definitely graphic, it is far from being cold – from colours to shapes, everything depends on the sensations he aims at communicating.


Giuseppe Tirabasso, Senza Titolo I, 1980s, Courtesy of Looking for Art 


Indeed, when people were still marked by having experienced the war in the 60s, Tirabasso chose neo-expressionist brushstrokes to translate strong, powerful emotions. These emotions are those which the traumatic events of the war left like scars on humankind: suffering, raw pain, anxiety, all-encompassing sadness…

In Tirabasso’s research, the figurative soon became simplified. Slowly he gave more and more space to the emotions in his work.

Painted with rich oil paint using a palette knife, some works show innocent and distant figures engulfed by their emotions. Other works show a space broken by regular diagonal cuts – a grid in which the composition plays out. It is the fractured image of human existence – fragile, precarious and wrecked.

As mentioned, printmaking was not the only technique explored by Giuseppe Tirabasso. When invited to Mexico to present his works in a solo, he works on petal plates using an airbrush. 

However, the pinnacle of his career is represented by the image of the wooden beam. Featuring in many of his sculptures, the beam breaks into a three-dimensional space becoming a symbol of unavoidable tearing and excruciating pain – often contrasting with a human figure. 

Giuseppe Tirabasso’s artistic language became a sincere representation of human, artistic emotions – based on the sensations which trigger his memories, thoughts, reflections and gestures. His work is graphic, material, visceral. It is SENSATIONS.

1. Art is for me the product of sensation.
2. Sensation belongs to the individual, which in art is translated into gesture and matter, as an act of foundation.
3. I believe in a spiritual world that affects the modes of thinking, knowing and feeling. I have investigated my own self and have been pervaded by anguish that has 'discovered the root'. Artistic expression has become a requirement with which I have sought the synthesis of that pain.
4. I placed technique at the service of expressive needs, seeking in it the form of the idea.
5. Ideas are for me the foundation of the life of the individual, the sole creator of Sensation.
6. Listening arouses the struggle, which appears inexhaustible and uninterrupted throughout my life.
7. The Sensation in me arises from the memory of childhood, from the exasperation of work, from self-knowledge, from the lack of affection, from the female figure and the environment in its intimate precariousness.

(Giuseppe Tirabasso, first point from his Manifesto ‘SENSATIONALISM’)


Giuseppe Tirabasso, Angoscia I, 1980s, Courtesy of Looking for Art


Cover image: Giuseppe Tirabasso, Detail ‘Aggessività mentale’, 1980s, Courtesy of Looking for Art ©2021 Art Around S.r.l.

Written by Giulia Cami

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