Lucio Del Pezzo's Biography

Lucio Del Pezzo was born in 1933 in Naples, where he trained at the Academy of Fine Arts and the Institute of Applied Arts. In 1958 he participated in the foundation of Gruppo 58, with a neo-surrealist and neo-Dada approach, together with artists such as Guido Biasi, Bruno Di Bello, Sergio Fergola, Luca (Luigi Castellano) and Mario Persico. The history of the group is closely linked to the 1952 Nuclearist Manifesto drawn up by Enrico Baj and Sergio Dangelo in Milan, of which they decide to follow in the footsteps, promoting an art that contains a revival of the local iconological tradition while breaking the traditional figurative schemes. Under Luca’s guidance, Gruppo 58 adopts the DocumentoSud magazine as a means of promoting its work and exhibits in Naples, Florence, Rome and Milan. Here Del Pezzo begins to elaborate his own artistic language, through object-paintings, assemblages in which a playful tone is contrasted with a mystical feeling, as well as chromatic and formal relationships. The collage between objet trouvé and popular prints gives his works the value of painting and sculpture at the same time: in his works the pop traits, inserted in the present time – mix with a metaphysical and personal temporality. In 1959 Del Pezzo signed the Manifeste de Naples, which brings together the members of the Neapolitan and Milanese neo-avant-garde and other exponents of the culture of the time such as Nanni Balestrini, Paolo Radaelli, Leo Paolazzi, Sandro Bajini, Edoardo Sanguineti, Luca, Bruno di Bello, Mario Persico, Guido Biasi, Giuseppe Alfano, Donato Grieco, Enrico Baj, Angelo Verga, Ettore Sordini, Recalcati and Sergio Fergola.

In 1960 he moved to Milan at the invitation of Enrico Baj and, in the same year, Arturo Schwarz hosted a solo exhibition of the artist in the homonymous Galleria Schwarz. In contact with the works of Sironi, Carrà, Morandi and above all of De Chirico, Del Pezzo tends to expand the metaphysical component in his language in an ever more evident way, flanking it with decontextualized geometric shapes. He also coins the definition of “Visual Box“, to indicate the different levels on which his works are arranged, halfway between image and three-dimensional object: his repertoire is distinguished by the monochrome geometric panels, on which shelves or hollowed out concavities are inserted, which support objects such as skittles, wooden eggs, bowls, mannequins, sometimes very colourful, with the usual playful and metaphysical character. Around 1965 the artist moved to Paris, where he occupies the old studio of Max Ernst at 58 rue Mathurin Régnier. His first solo show in the French capital dates back to 1968. The emergence of the neo-avant-garde Nouveau Réalisme and the widespread desire for “re-appropriation of reality” profoundly influenced him and led him to reflect on the element of “waste”, the entire rejection of the new mass society as a poetic datum.

In 1966 Del Pezzo joins the masters of Italian abstraction and concretism, primarily Eugenio Carmi, with the experience of the Boccadasse Deposit Cooperative, where he holds a personal exhibition. In the same year, a personal room was dedicated to him at the XXXIII Venice Biennale and Del Pezzo began to obtain numerous awards in the international artistic field. In the seventies he collaborated as a graphic designer with the Olivetti company and with the Renault Italia automotive group. In 1970 Arturo Carlo Quintavalle edited an important anthology dedicated to the artist at the Salone dei Contrafforti of the Pilotta in Parma, followed, in 1974, by a retrospective at the Rotonda di via Besana in Milan curated by Guido Ballo. In 1979 Del Pezzo definitively returned to Italy and settled in Milan, where he became a professor for the chair of “experimental research on painting” at the new Academy of Fine Arts in Milan in place of Emilio Tadini. He sets up his studio on the Navigli of Milan, his adopted city.

His artistic language throughout his career has oscillated between pop, neorealist, Dadaist and metaphysical languages. His works, difficult to label, are “Visual Boxes” in which the architectural and sculptural element encloses painting, collage and objects. A playful and dreamy language always used by Lucio Del Pezzo as a magnifying glass to analyse and criticise mass society and its consumerism. His works, among those of other artists, are currently part of a charity initiative launched by the Pomodoro Foundation together with Studio Marconi, and are donated to those who support the Mario Negri Institute of Pharmacological Research in the fight against Covid-19.