Tano Festa, Rome 1938 - 1998 Rome
Shutter (Persiana), 1963–64
ProvenanceGalleria Blu, Milan;
Private collection, Milan.
A central figure of the Roman Pop Art movement, he welcomed the formal rigor of the Neo-Dada approach, offering monochrome and isolated readymades. Amongst his masterpieces are the blinds, mirrors and windows that become the main support of his activity as a painter.
From 1963 he also began studying the major Italian masters; focusing on the Renaissance, especially Michelangelo's Sistine and Medici Chapels, interpreting them for the first time as advertising images. In 1965 he was invited to take part in the Quadrennial of Rome and then, after a difficult period of lack of creativity, he was invited to the Venice Biennale in 1980. During his last years, living in the outskirts of Rome, he gave birth to 'the light of Egypt', geometrical-conceptual works. In 1984 he appears on the television series "Artists in the Mirror" directed by Mario Carbone.
The present work is an isolated black monochrome which constitutes the epitome of Festa’s artistic production. 'Persiana' is the Italian for louvered shutter and alludes to Marcel Duchamp’s famous readymade Fresh Widow (1920). Duchamp’s title a pun for French widow and Persiana is translated as “persienne” in French, therefore it may be interpreted as another reference to Duchamp. The readymade is a wooden wardrobe and like Duchamp’s readymades, Festa borrowed this found object from the clothing industry. Besides, the Milanese dealer Arturo Schwarz made an edition of eight identical reproductions of Fresh Widow in 1964 under Duchamp’s supervision using photographs and descriptions of the original. Thus, Persiana presents a preamble to the influence of Duchamp within the Italian art scene in the 1960s. This conceptual work confronts one’s basic approach to the art canon by challenging traditional mediums such as painting and sculpture, as Duchamp had done several decades previously.
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