Emilio Scanavino, The Tactile Sign of the VoidLondon
I per (The x), 1970
Oil on board
150 x 150 cm / 59.06 x 59.06 in
During the 1970s, Scanavino increasingly spent his time in his Calice Ligure studio; his manner became simple and focused on grids or geometrical architectures, which reflected his thinking about the objectification of painting. In 1973, the Kunsthalle in Darmstadt dedicated a vast and analytical retrospective to him. The exhibition was also shown twice in Italy, at Palazzo Grassi in Venice and at Palazzo Reale in Milan. In 1976, Scanavino alternated his artistic activity between Paris and Italy, where in 1977 he presented an important exhibition at Studio Marconi in Milan. Crucial to Emilio Scanavino’s works from the 1970s was the idea of the germination of geometry as he developed a more conceptual manner in his painting technique. 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 present work, created a year earlier, can be seen to perhaps reflect this more political and aggressive thought process of Scanavino and utilises the grid, which is yet another of Scanavino’s archetypes. The presences or “signs” which hang like broken life yet which at the same are bound with a string-like material, could be alluding to Scanavino’s sympathies with the Latin American people who disappeared. Through his application of dripping 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. The artwork described above is subject to changes in availability and price without prior notice. Where applicable ARR will be added.