Mario Schifano

Laura Cherubini, 2018

M&L Fine Art is delighted to present an exhibition dedicated to the artist Mario Schifano, with a special focus on the artist’s ‘Monochromes’: a series of paintings realized by the Roman artist between 1960 and 1962.


Schifano’s Monochromes works were executed by using enamel on canvas paper sheets, which were subsequently laid on canvas on irregular stretchers, and are characterized by a uniform coat of one or more colors.


These are therefore not traditional Monochromes, but works in which the compositional spaces are reduced to the minimum and are simply laid next to one another, without the intention to create any sense of depth.


The spontaneous flow of colour in Schifano’s works is sometimes interrupted by numbers and letters, apparently with no particular meaning, that seem to emerge from the surface like casual signs.

Ar critics have often considered these works by Schifano as a reaction to diffusion the informal style, which in between the late '50s and early '60s had started to be criticised. 


Already in 1958, conceptual artist Piero Manzoni,  focused on the complete reset of the pictorial surface and worked towards a rigorous monochrome unit in his works.


In the same years in Rome, artists of the group of Piazza del Popolo, such as Schifano, Angeli, Festa, Uncini and Lo Savio, re-elaborated the attitude of the Milan group of Manzoni and Castellani, who exhibited in Rome in 1960. The Roman artists in fact aimed to reach the beauty and sensuality of color, by applying it on the canvas with large brush strokes and letting it drip freely on the surface.


The gallerist Ileana Sonnabend soon became aware of the originality of Schifano’s Monochromes and asked him to sign a contract to exhibit his works in her gallery in Paris. It is worth noticing that during those years a direct contact between Rome and New York was established that resulted in a mutual exchange of artists between the two cities.


The illustrated catalogue features a text by Laura Cherubini titled  "MARIO SCHIFANO. My CHILDHOOD IS NOW HERE TODAY”

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