Francesco Lo Savio – Tano Festa: The Lack of the Other

Francesco Lo Savio – Tano Festa: The Lack of the Other

ZKM | Center for Art and Media

Left: Francesco Lo Savio, © Private Collection.
Right: Tano Festa, © Private Collection, Foto: Elisabetta Catalano.

June 4, 2011

Francesco Lo Savio – Tano Festa
The Lack of the Other
7 May–7 August 2011

Exhibition at ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art
Lorenzstrasse 19
76135 Karlsruhe, Germany
T +49 (0)721/8100-1200
info [​at​]

With the exhibition “Francesco Lo Savio – Tano Festa. The Lack of the Other,” the ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art, presents the artistic work of Francesco Lo Savio and Tano Festa, and makes visible the artistic impulses and innovations of their time. Although their significance for the art world remains undisputed, the brothers have seemingly nevertheless faded into obscurity. Since the beginning of the 1960s, they were among the pioneers of a new generation of artists that replaced Informel, Tachismus, Abstract Expressionism as the art of gestural expression by a new concept of art, which responded both to new, visual mass culture as well as mass production. Even before the appearance of Pop Art and Minimal Art, they confronted the creative gesture of art with the principles of industrial production, and created works that were always one stride ahead of their times.

The exhibition “Francesco Lo Savio – Tano Festa. The Lack of the Other” shows paintings and objects, which, while appearing to fundamentally differ in their aesthetic effect, nevertheless reveals—in a passionate sense—astonishing parallels in their basic artistic conception. To date, Francesco Lo Savio’s (1935–1963) initial steps as an artist have been scarcely researched. His work during the last five years of his life, for example, displays immense compression and intensity. Clearly evident in his work is a striving for objectivity, for precision and transparency: his goal was the depersonalization of the author and the object of creation. Less attention had been paid to the younger of the two brothers, Tano Festa (1938–1988), although he was invited to the Venice Biennale and to the documenta in Kassel. Tano Festa has been wrongly considered a key figure in European Pop Art, which is a far too narrow definition, and one that he himself rejected when remarking “if, as in Italy, Michelangelo may be seen as Pop, just like Coca-Cola in America, then it is also all right to talk of European Pop Art.”

Until the death of Lo Savio in 1963, the brothers would exhibit their works together, among others at the Galerie Rottloff in Karlsruhe, in 1961. Tano Festa died 25 years later. Throughout his entire career as artist, he would thematize the absence of his brother—”The Lack of the Other” in what, for him, were typically irregular intervals.

In the present exhibition, curators Freddy Paul Grunert and Peter Weibel focus on the work the two brothers completed between the end of the 1950s and early 1960s—a period of acutely intense reflection, of upheaval and of new orientation both in art and technology as well as in society. Thus, the exhibition “Francesco Lo Savio – Tano Festa.The Lack of the Other” offers space for a reflection on the general artistic achievements of this period.

In addition, to complete the exhibition the ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art has dedicated a cabinet to the collector Giorgio Franchetti, the biggest Tano Festa collector, a loyal friend and preferred discussion partner. Franchetti’s three children—Marion, Carlo and Pietro Arco Franchetti—have preserved and promoted this collection, which is the result of an attentively and passionately undertaken research effort: a retrospective which recommends itself to a coherent reading of art history.

A comprehensive publication will be published, conceived as a presentation of research results: the numerous original documents, statements by key innovators and well-researched essays all contribute to filling what have previously otherwise remained striking lacunae in the field.

Curators: Freddy Paul Grunert and Peter Weibel

Press contact:
ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe
Press department
Dominika Szope
phone: +49 (0) 721/8100 1220
fax: +49 (0) 721/8100 1139

Francesco Lo Savio - Tano Festa: The Lack of the Other
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ZKM | Center for Art and Media
June 4, 2011

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