After the preview in its own stand at miart 2018 and waiting for the monumental exhibition at Terme di Caracalla in Rome, Il Ponte presents Mauro Staccioli. Marking Space. Planned in collaboration with the Archive, the exhibition offers a selection of important works in the articulate production of Mauro Staccioli, within a philological reconstruction. Of particular concern is the reconstruction of the space (the wall with the iron point) created by Mauro Staccioli in the year 1975 for Studio Sant’Andrea of Milan.
“Mauro Staccioli follows his own peculiar procedure designed to meet the grounding need underpinning his own line of thought: to interpret a place in light of history and leave an indicative sign in the wake of this interpretation. The artist conscientiously adopted this approach in the late 1960s: politically engaged, he believed that art was his dutiful way of getting involved in a debate. His awareness of the historical-social environment emerged in Volterra in 1972: the place, urban space, building and nature have their own history, their own life, they carry the imprints of ancient events or socio-environmental situations. A few years later Staccioli entitled his exhibition at Vigevano Castle (1977) Reading of a setting. The artist ‘reads’ the site before leaving his mark, which is gauged not only to space but also to human presence. Intensive but invisible work proceeds Staccioli’s sculpting, a perfect poetic synthesis of rhythm and measure in relation to location. The materials he has collected in his archive-studio for over 40 years’ work pay homage to all his intensive activity, providing keys to interpreting his creative process. Largely unseen, this material can now be chronologically studied in depth for the first time. Each project is furnished with a presentation text, excerpts from the work notes by Staccioli and short extracts from the critical essays. The criterion for selecting the projects presented is essentially based on the existence of notebook ‒ notes, photo surveys, drawings, photomontages, models, construction images ‒ which tell us about what ‘went on’ before Staccioli's actual sculpting. It is intended to emphasise how the simplicity of his forms derives from an elaborate intellectual process, very similar to that of an architect: right from when first coming into contact with a location, its history and traces are cleverly photographed and embellished by invaluable notes recording what first struck him and the first forms coming to mind on-site. At this point the artist’s imagination can run free through across well-defined design terrain, as faithful as possible to the history and environment of the location. Design expertise is matched by practical skills and experience working with materials, which emerges in the drawings and is firmly set in the incomparable images by Enrico Cattaneo, showing the artist diligently working away with a combination of cement, bricks, iron and other tools of the trade.”
Maria Laura Gelmini, Mauro Staccioli, All’origine del fare/At the roots of sculpting, Corraini Edizioni, Mantova 2008
Mauro Staccioli was born in 1937 in Volterra, In 1963 he moved first to Lodi and subsequently to Milan. He became director of the Brera Art School in 1974/75 and in 1978/79, and then of the State Art School of Lovere (Bergamo). His beginnings as an artist are strictly linked to his teaching experience and his intellectual and political activism. After an early stage in which he experimented with painting and engraving, at the end of the 60s he embraced sculpture, focusing on the relationship between art and society, and developing his original idea of a sculpture that is intrinsically related with the place – both in its physical and social connotations – in which and for which it was created. In Staccioli’s work, therefore, places acquire a central role, for without them sculpture would not even exist. Staccioli researched, and produced, a “sign-sculpture” that originates from the close observation of a space, and interacts with it, emphasizing its peculiarities and altering its usual perception. The artist had developed a language characterized by an essential geometry and by the use of simple materials such as concrete and iron, which implicitly alluded to the use that was made of them for urban architecture in those years. In the 80s he came up with new sculptural forms, which led to new works that challenged the static balance, generating estrangement effects in the spectators. In the 90s the artist carried on with his experiments on new forms – this time rings that underlined aspects of the landscape. In recent years, Staccioli’s fertile research has yielded several installations, both in Italy and abroad. He died in Milan on 1st January 2018.