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Paolo Icaro 'Tensions'    Dec 7, 2013 - Feb 8, 2014


Curated by Marco Meneguzzo

Paolo Icaro, Tensions

"Tensions" is a word common to all of Paolo Icaro's work, and he has specifically chosen it for his show at Studio la Città. These are all recent works, dating at the most from the second half of the 1990s, and in them the physical and mental sense of "tension" is highlighted and manipulated. Lengths of pre-stressed steel cable casually placed on the floor, or a strip of steel bent under the weight of plaster (series of works that form the nucleus of the show), are the image - and the reality - of a tension that at once shifts from visual reality towards a metaphoric meaning; an unstable, constrained reality that aims at returning to a calm state and that searches for the best "place" to stay: these are all states of Icaro's material and also of his - and our - existential condition. And it all comes about through tiny shifts, minimal variants, imperceptible movements, because tension is in the nature of things, even though it cannot always be seen: so the artist "makes visible the invisible" that surrounds us every day.
Marco Meneguzzo, Milan 2013

Paolo Icaro, from an essay by Lara Conte

A career in search of a new grammar for making sculpture. A need to question everything, always. Deconstruct in order to construct. In a word: Makeunmakesee. A vocation for making that goes beyond the finished and unchangeable aspect of the object in order to explore development, one that accomplishes a new sculptural situation in the very space of existence. In the decades fundamental to his art - the 1960s and 1970s - Icaro wandered from place to place: in the 1960s, from Turin to Rome, New York, Genoa; in the 1970s he spent a long, stable period in Woodbridge in Connecticut, though every summer he returned to Italy. He explored materials; he violated the confines of the language of sculpture until he reached a zero point, and from here he was able to build a new grammar of making [...].
Lara Conte, Paolo Icaro 1967-1977.

Biographical notes

Paolo Icaro Chissotti was born in Turin in 1936. He studied music and then, in 1955, he enrolled in the faculty of literature at Turin university. In 1958, having abandoned his studies, he began to make sculpture in the studio of Umberto Mastroianni. In 1960 he moved to Rome where, in 1962, he held his first solo show at the Galleria Schneider. In 1964 he was awarded the prize offered by the Ministry for Commerce Abroad at the third ceramics biennale in Gubbio. In 1965 he was invited to exhibit at the ninth Rome Quadriennale. In 1966 he moved to New York where he lived until 1968. It was here that he created his Forme di spazio (1967), almost immediately renamed Gabbie or Cages: strip-metal structures in which the sculpture, instead of occupying the space, becomes a place for space itself to inhabit. Icaro held many solo exhibitions in important European and American galleries during the 1970s and 1980s; among them mention should be made of Verna, Zurich (1972, 1974, 1978, 1985); Françoise Lambert, Milan (1976); Marilena Bonomo, Bari (1976); Massimo Minini, Brescia (1977, 1982, 1989); Paul Maenz, Cologne (1978), Hal Bromm, New York (1978, 1979); Jack Tilton, New York (1985, 1986, 1989). In 2006 he took part in the exhibition Museo Museo Museo. 1998-2006 Duecentocinquanta nuove opere per la GAM, curated by Pier Giovanni Castagnoli and held at Torino Esposizioni, in which he exhibited a body of works bought by the Galleria d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Turin, in 2005. In October 2007 he was invited by Luigi Ballerini to make a permanent installation for the Italian Department of UCLA – University of California, Los Angeles. Among the many group shows he was included in, we should note Time & Place: Milano-Torino 1958-1968, curated by Luca Massimo Barbero (2008) and Italics. Arte italiana fra tradizione e rivoluzione 1968-2008, curated by Francesco Bonami (2008-2009).
Today he lives and works in Tavullia, in the province of Pesaro.

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