Giuseppe Uncini (Fabriano, 1929 – Trevi, 2008) was an Italian painter and sculptor. After beginning his artistic career in his hometown, in 1953 he moved to Rome, where he spent most of his life.
Uncini was one of the most important representatives of the Gruppo Uno, a movement which rejected the tenets of Art Informel and revived the spirit of rationalism, proposing an idea of art rooted in the theories of perception. Throughout his practice, Uncini celebrates the architectural and structural elements of his works, in which, according to the art critic Giovanni Maria Accame: “material no longer exists as a metaphor for an existential condition, as in Art Informel, but is becoming receptive to external stimuli, and thus, comparing itself to historical reality, presents itself as actual matter”.
This approach begins with the juvenile series Terre (1956-1957), works on boards realised with tuff volcanic rock, sand, ashes and coloured pigments, where a great attention is paid to the properties of the different materials. However, the turning point of his artistic production is represented by the series Cementiarmati (1957 – 1958), sculptures which employ iron, cement and wire netting. In these works, there is a sharp contrast between the structural supports, which are left visible, and the compact and coarse cement surfaces which partially cover them. In his next series Ferrocementi, Uncini further explores the properties of cement, smoothed to the point that it loses its material qualities. In these compositions, a key role is played by the iron bar, which determines the thickness of the cement’s layer. Since the late 60s, Uncini had become increasingly concerned with the relationship between objects and their shadows. Starting from this enquiry, his series Ombre and Dimore, sees architectural elements – such as doors, windows, thresholds – reproduced on surfaces of different materials together with their shadows.
Uncini has had prominent exhibitions at: MART in Rovereto ; ZKM in Karlsruhe [2008-2009]; Landesmuseum Joanneum in Graz , Fondazione Marconi in Milan , Galleria Christian Stein in Milan ; Galleria Fumagalli in Bergamo ; Galleria Christian Stein in Milan ; Galleria Gio Marconi in Milan ; Galleria Fumagalli in Bergamo [2002-2003]; Stadtische Kunsthalle in Mannheim ; MoMA PS1, the Minimalia exhibition, in New York ; Spazicemento, collaboration with Galleria Fumagalli in Bergamo ; L’Altra Scultura in Madrid, Barcelona and Darmstadt , Venice Biennial ; Galleria Nazionale di Arte Moderna in Rome . In 1962, he won the Spoleto Award and in 1998 the Feltrinelli Prize for sculpture. His work is part of important private and public collections, such as Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Bologna - Galleria Comunale d’Arte, Cagliari Museo Civico Giovanni Fattori, Villa Mimbelli, Livorno - Museo del Novecento, Milano - Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Roma - Castello di Rivoli, Fondazione De Fornaris, Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Torino - Museo d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto - Museum Bochum - Museum Lehmbruck, Duisburg - Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz - Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe - Städtische Kunsthalle Mannheim - Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam - Galerie der Stadt, Stoccarda - Nijgata City Art Museum, Nijgata, Hakone Open-Air Museum, Kanagawa-Ken, Tokyo.