Italian Avant Garde


The paintings of Italian Spatialism and works of Arte Programmata abandon figuration to investigate issues of visual perception.

Agostino Bonalumni | Turi Simeti | Bruno Munari | Getullio Alviani


Piero Atchugarry Gallery in Garzón, Uruguay is pleased to open its doors for the first time with a private show for exclusive collectors of Italian Post-War art on September 18, 2013. The group exhibition showcases paintings of Italian Spatialism by artists Agostino Bonalumni and Turi Simeti, along with works of Arte Programmata represented by Bruno Munari and Getullio Alviani. Abandoning figuration, the works investigate issues of visual perception.

Founded by Lucio Fontana in 1947, Italian Spatialism sought to fuse color, sound, space, movement, and time into a new type of art.

Born in 1929 in Sicily, Turi Simeti attended Alberto Burri’s studio in Rome, and he was a member of the Italian branch of Spatialism and the Zero Movement alongside artists such as Fontana. Since the 1960s, Simeti has made a commitment to exploring geometric patterns. Untitled, 2009, reveals a simple arrangement of ovals in a monochromatic canvas. The ovals push outward into the viewer’s space to play with light, form, and movement, eliminating the hand of the artist to highlight the physicality of the artwork.

Born in 1935 in Milan, Agostino Bonalumni was a self-taught painter who frequented Fontana’s studio in the late 1950s. There he investigated issues of space, eventually developing the idea of what would be called “pittura-oggetto” or “painting-object.” Works such as Untitled, 1972, reveal an art that pushes through the canvas, physically projecting color and form into space. This work and others were made from structures and frames placed on the backs of canvas, causing them to stretch and deform. The light and shading created by the protrusion on the right side of the work suggests a sense of movement that confuses our perception of painting, hence the term “painting-object.”

Arte Programmata refers to the work of various Italian artists active during the 1960s and 70s who were interested in Kinetic and Op art. Artists produced objects through procedures analogous to methods of mathematical and technological research, often creating a series of prototypes.

Born in 1907 in Milan and originally influenced by Italian futurist Filippo Marinetti, Bruno Munari became a pioneer of Arte Programmata. Munari’s Curva di Peano, 1977, explores optical and physical phenomena through repeating shapes and colors that reveal an almost scientific approach to art. The painting’s title references mathematician Giuseppe Peano’s invention of the first example of a space-filling curve in geometry.

Born in 1939 in Udine, Italy, Getulio Alviani immediately became an exponent of Optical-kinetic art, and is especially known for his aluminum works. Superfice Vibratile, 1972, produces a perceptual experience through simple geometric elements constructed with scientific rigor. As the viewer moves, patterns of light change and dance across the aluminum surface, often creating after-images of certain colors and a great awareness of color and light.


Sarah Blagden


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