First episode of the program “Pralines. Deliciousness from the world of art” by Ly thi Thanh Thao and Sergio Mandelli.
Tino Stefanoni is born in Lecco, in 1937.
In 1964, his acquaintance with the then protagonists on the art scene induces him to involve his brother Dante in the opening of a gallery at the same space. The inauguration exhibition features outstanding works of Lucio Fontana.
In the meantime, Stefanoni’s artistic creation reaches the threshold of maturity, well grounded in the Italian tradition made of rigor and of poetry.
In 1968, at the Apollinaire gallery in Milan, he had his first solo show, the presentation of which is written by Pierre Restany. He creates an installation made up of circular reliefs arranged in a way so as to compose three big trees.
From that moment onwards stand out some characteristics that are inherent in a major part of Stefanoni’s works.
First of all, there is the replication of a base element with small variations; in this case, there pervades a kind of irony on the idea of landscape.
Secondly, there is the invitation to reflect on an artwork as a pure sign.
In order to make out this concept, let’s have a look at René Magritte’s painting “Ceci n’est pas une pipe”. It calls our attention to the fact that the represented sign is not a “true” pipe, but only a pictorial sign of a pipe. Hence, once isolated from the context, it would be considered as equivalent to an abstract work of Mondrian.
Tino Stefanoni’s work finds its base precisely on this premise.
For example, the “Signs” series elaborated from the standard street signs produced by a specialized company reveals to us some mysteries.
In the “Panels” series, the images, though referring to everyday objects, are laid out as if they belonged to some design of a mechanical engineer; the mere element that indicates them as artworks is the gridded linen canvas, which is to say, the painting, in other words, the context where they operate.
Other works are executed with a quintessential meticulousness that is reminiscent of the engravings of early technical books.
What distinguishes Tino Stefanoni is, in fact, his rational approach to art; adopting a composition method that hails back to that of Paul Valéry, he doesn’t give himself to the so-called “inspiration”; instead he calculates with precision the poetical effect he aspires to obtain.
In the 1980s, Tino Stefanoni begins to make paintings bearing the influence of Giorgio de Chirico and Carlo Carrà.
Carrà’s landscape still carried some imprints of realism, whereas Stefanoni’s has been completely void of them.
If painting aims to reach psychological expression or to display virtuosity, Tino Stefanoni’s work, according to Emilio Villa, can’t be called “painting” at all.
This affirmation is the core meaning of his “Sinopias”.
This series features the most refined works of an artist that, for fifty years, with intelligence, with rigor, and with irony, has maintained a relevant confrontation with the most advanced forms of artistic researches worldwide.

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Categories: Pralines - EN