October 17, 2001 - Galleria Fonte d'Abisso - SALVATORE SCARPITTA
October 17, 2001


18 October – 22 December 2001

Galleria Fonte d’Abisso 
Milan (Italy), Galleria Fonte d’Abisso, Via del Carmine – 7
Closed on Mondays, Sundays and public holidays
Opening hours: 10.30 – 13.00 / 15.30 – 19.00


Opening: Thursday 18 October – 18.30

On the 18th of October 2001 the Galleria Fonte d’Abisso is inaugurating an anthological exhibition dedicated to Salvatore Scarpitta, supervised by Luigi Sansone.

Born in New York in 1919 Salvatore Scarpitta lived in Rome from 1936 until 1958 (where he also received his diploma from the Academy of Fine Arts). In 1958 he met Leo Castelli in Rome who invited the artist to exhibit in his New York gallery. Towards the end of 1958 Scarpitta consequently returned to the United States. In January of 1959 he exhibited a series of his famous “binded” (or “bandaged”) paintings, shown only a few months before at the Galleria La Tartaruga in Rome. His prolonged relationship of both work and friendship with Leo Castelli is documented by the numerous one-man shows – ten from 1959 to 1992 – and group exhibitions (the last of which inaugurated in January 1998 to commemorate the Gallery’s forty years of activity).

A singular artist, in the United States he was the friend of important names of art criticism such as Harold Rosenberg and of important artists such as Willem de Kooning, David Smith, Franz Kline, Mark Rothko and Conrad Marca-Relli.

Scarpitta – together with Fontana, Burri, Consagra, Dorazio and others – was one of the protagonists of the renewal of art in Italy during the post-war period.

Scarpitta’s work eschews all definitions. His art eludes expressive tendencies, often electing to take refuge within life or, to put it better, within that extraordinary metaphor of life which from his infancy was constituted by racing cars. His passion for races held on ‘dirt tracks’, a typically American competition, has accompanied him throughout his life. In the artist’s own words: “Art has to have roots in humanity, in the vicissitudes of humanity”. His works are made up of various materials that are taken from daily life: pieces of machines/automobiles, safety belts, elastic straps, hooks and sleds. Differing from the futurists, Scarpitta did not let himself be ‘seduced’ by speed, by the power or the dynamism of automobiles. For Scarpitta automobiles/racing cars, sleds and skis involve movement and, in consequence, travel: “travel as a metaphor of existence”.

Twenty works are on display in this exhibition: those presented at the Galleria La Tartaruga in 1958 (in which the artist lacerated the canvases in order to subsequently recompose them in ‘crossings’ and superimpositions, from amongst which we can mention Composizione [Composition], a large work with its bands and cuts that only now we are able to see once again after many years) and his most recent works including Mr. Hyde and Mrs. Hyde. The exhibition also includes: Flemington of 1964 (his first camouflage); Wizard of 1961, composed of bands and tar; Bunker Signal, his first large works of the ‘X’ series of 1961; Saturnia, a large work dating to 1962 made up of bands; and X Caged Poncho of 1974, recently exhibited at the extensive anthological exhibition dedicated to Scarpitta by the Art Car Museum of Houston (Texas). These works are exhibited in Italy for the first time.

This exibition offers the occasion to announce the impending publication of the general catalogue treating the works by Salvatore Scarpitta, edited by Luigi Sansone, which will be published by Editrice Mazzotta (Milan).
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Galleria Fonte d'Abisso
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