Nineteenth episode of the program “Pralines. Deliciousness from the world of art” by Ly thi Thanh Thao and Sergio Mandelli dedicated to Lucio del Pezzo.
Lucio del Pezzo is born in Naples, in 1933.
As a teenager, he attends the USIS, a school aimed at spreading the American culture to the world. This experience has enriched his knowledge of contemporary art and of modern literature.
He therefore decides to undertake the artistic career.
At the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples, he comes to know Mario Napoli, an archaeologist who gains worldwide acclaim following the discovery, in Paestum, of the Tomb of the Diver, one of the rare testimonies of painting mankind inherits from the Greek civilization. This acquaintance proves fundamental to the artist.
What’s more, Del Pezzo always nurtures a great desire to know more about the world. In 1954, thanks to a scholarship, he moves to Greece to take part in a mission of archaeological excavations.
So great is also his desire to make further progress from academic techniques.
In 1958, along with other artists, he co-founds the “Gruppo ‘58”, that establishes contacts with the Italian and European avant-garde movements, especially with the Arte Nucleare Movement of Enrico Baj and Sergio Dangelo in Milan.
In fact, his artworks of that period feature a material use of colors.
Baj and Arturo Schwarz invite him to move to Milan, where he collaborates with Studio Marconi gallery, participating in its activities right from the beginning.
In the meantime he aligns himself with the Nouveaux Réalistes. He wants to adapt to his experience as an archaeologist who is used to cataloguing finds.
Furthermore, he deeply feels the fascination of De Chirico’s work, that has revealed a sense of uncertainty one experiences when visiting an archaeological site, where temporal strata of modernity and of history get intertwined and provoke in the observer a kind of disorientation and of enchantment as well.
Even though, as Sandro Parmiggiani pointed out, it’s probably the metaphysical aspect of Giorgio Morandi that has most influenced Del Pezzo.
In 1964, following Enrico Baj’s proposal, Del Pezzo rents Max Ernst’s old studio in Paris, where he remains for eighteen years.
Over that period he studies and travels around the world, searching for signs, for symbols that he finally gathers in his unique repertory.
The accumulation of new symbols in Del Pezzo’s works overwhelms the audience with uninterrupted wonder.
But beneath the wonder of Del Pezzo’s art, defined as “A measured Carnival” by Pierre Restany, lies hidden a typical phenomenon of the contemporary society, that is, the deprivation of symbols pertaining to different cultural traditions, a phenomenon determined by the speediness of communication, called “postmodern”, a significantly popular term of the 1980s.
Del Pezzo’s objects in their assemblage don’t communicate among themselves to give birth to new meanings; on the contrary, they become signs of a meaningless code, a hieroglyph of which the cipher key is unknown.
In a word, Del Pezzo’s art faces an ever relevant theme, that is, the loss of meanings of the symbolic code inherent in traditional societies.
This is a theme Del Pezzo treats with the delightful spirit of an artist that, owing to his rich cultural patrimony, can approach the mainstream of history with a playful attitude.