Emilio Scanavino, Genoa 1922 - 1986 Milan
The Endless Alphabet, 1974
LiteratureCatalogo generale, n. 1974-96;
1964-74, Verifiche e proposte, exh. cat., Genoa 1974;
F. Pola, Emilio Scanavino. The Tactile Sign of the Void, Venice, 2016, p. 132
Exhibitions1964-74, Verifiche e proposte, Galleria Rotta, Genoa, 1974;
Emilio Scanavino. The Tactile Sign of the Void, London, Robilant + Voena, 4 Oct.-11 Nov. 2016
In 1971, Scanavino moved for some time to Rome and was invited to the São Paulo Biennale with Alik Cavaliere. Together the two artists realized an installation entitled Tribute to Latin America, which consisted of a large altarpiece in homage to the martyrs for the freedom of Latin American peoples; it comprised of nine wooden panels painted in oil with bronze, silver and aluminium sculptural inserts. The panels were divided into 156 boxes in line with the iconography of Scanavino’s Alfabeti senza fine, each bearing the name of a martyr for freedom who had mysteriously disappeared and whose documentation was found by Cavaliere and Scanavino in the consulate registers in São Paulo. The work was censored for its subject “of a political and therefore extra-artistic nature”. Once it returned to Italy it became a symbol of freedom, sought after by a number of public institutions and gallery owners.
The Endless Alphabet can be seen to reflect this increasingly political and aggressive thought process of Scanavino and utilises the grid, which is yet another of Scanavino’s archetypes. The bound, string-like material, could be alluding to Scanavino’s sympathies with the Latin American people who disappeared. Through his application of paint, the scratched and bound surface and his use of the colour red, it is clear that the artist intended to create a powerful and highly dramatic image.
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